Relationships in college are possible, but they are not easy. Even if your boyfriend attends the same college as you, temptations are everywhere. Entering my fourth year of college, I just ended a relationship with my second serious boyfriend. My first was around when I started school. I thought nothing could tear us apart, but everything about college quickly changed my mind. Like anything, a college relationship has its upsides and downsides. Here are 5 pros and Cons of being in a relationship in college.
1. Having someone always there to listen to you.
College is stressful, there is no doubt about it. Whether you’re fighting with your roommate, having trouble in your classes or missing your family back home, it is always nice to know there is someone who has your back. A little cuddle sesh always helps take your mind off whatever is going on on the outside. You can talk to someone you’re in a relationship with in ways you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else about. Sometimes they just listen, and sometimes they give great advice.
2. You learn so much about yourself.
Whether you’re in a committed relationship in college or in the beginning dating stages, being with someone teaches you a lot about what you want and don’t want for yourself. Relationships are a good test to see how aware you are of what you deserve and the standards you hold for how you should be treated. You might not even know that you have these expectations until someone doesn’t live up to them.
3. You don’t have to deal with the stress of dating.
“OMG he texted me!”
“Should I text him back?”
“No, I don’t want to seem too interested.”
“But, I also don’t want to seem like I am not interested. Because I am… right?”
“Ok. I’ll go get a coffee and then text him back, that way it’s just a few minutes.”
“But, what if I see him? Then, he’ll think I am ignoring him.”
Does this internal conversation sound familiar? That’s because you are NOT the only one who has experienced one. Sometimes, it’s nice being in just one relationship because you don’t have to deal with the awkwardness of dating and “talking” to someone. You are less likely to question whether or not you are doing something right or wrong.
4. Less pressure to dress to impress.
It’s always nice to look your best when you’re with your boyfriend/girlfriend. But, let’s be honest, after a long day of classes, organizations, or recovering from a night out with your friends (because you can still have those while in a relationship), sometimes you just want to wear your sweatpants, a t-shirt, a messy bun and no make-up. Chances are, if you’re already in a relationship, you’ve made all the impressions you’ve needed to get them hooked. Now, it’s the fun part of being comfortable with one another and knowing they think you’re beautiful no matter what you look like.
5. You can still have a life of your own.
Sometimes people criticize those who are in a relationship in their early 20’s. But, being in a relationship gives you the best of both worlds. You can go out with your girls, drink, dance and have a good time. You can take advantage of events and organizations on campus to meet new people and friends. You can study abroad, get a job, a first apartment and intern at your dream company. Relationships don’t hold you back unless you let them. There is a certain type of freedom in college that you don’t have at any other time in your life, do what you please with it.
1. Partying with single friends isn’t the same.
Your single friends don’t have responsibilities to someone else in the way that you do. It is fun to go to a fraternity party or a college bar and be able to talk and dance with whomever you want, just like your single friends do. But, a commitment comes with expectations, and with those expectations follows judgement from many people if you don’t meet them. You might even opt out of going out with certain friends who party in different ways than you do. And FOMO (fear of missing out) will be in full-gear.
2. Distance is hard.
If you are in a relationship with someone from your hometown, distance can be a really big block in a happy relationship, especially when you want to take advantage of all the new experiences college has to offer. I met so many new people on campus, and the thought of walking to a date’s dorm seemed better than driving to my boyfriend’s house 40 minutes away. You will probably have to miss out on a lot of weekend events to spend time with your boyfriend instead. That is of course if he lives in a distance in which you can actually visit.
3. You have to worry about someone else.
College is a time where you are truly learning all about the ins and outs of what makes you who you are. It is true that one of the most important things you can do is set goals you want to achieve during your college years. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, being in a relationship can make it easy to put those aspirations on the back burner because you are also focusing on the happiness of someone else. I chose to end my relationship because I felt that I had my own future to worry about, let alone someone else to worry about.
4. You miss out on the ‘dating’ experience.
It can be one the most anxiety-causing life experiences, but dating can teach you what you would want in someone you will eventually be in a monogamous relationship with. Dating different kinds of guys has taught me a lot about myself , what I like and what I don’t like about people and myself. If you are single, apps like Tinder make it so easy to meet people around you. My friends (and myself) are guilty of binge-swiping boys left and right. You can really meet nice guys to hang out with, or just have fun with your girlfriends all the time. That is something I really missed when I had a boyfriend.
5. You miss the butterfly feeling.
You might find someone who gives you that tight-knot feeling in your stomach when you see them or hear their voice. But, in a time when you’re constantly learning and growing, the things that excited you at the beginning, may no longer give you the same feeling as time goes on. You no longer gather in your dorm with your girlfriends picking out the cutest outfit for the first, second, even third dates. You will meet people who you connect with on levels you no longer connect with your significant other on. When this happens, it is easy to start to resent your boyfriend or girlfriend because before you know it, you may start to realize you are no longer happy with them.
It basically lies in your happiness, if you really want to stay with someone, then you should. Everyone is so different and they want different things. Some people have been dreaming of being married by the time they graduate college, and some people gag at the thought of it. Just stay true to who you are, and remember it is OK that your wants and needs change along the way.