What do dating experts say about relationships during college? Can they work or are they doomed to fail?
Should you engage yourself in something serious during your studies or is it better to keep everything casual?
If you’re a college freshman, you already asked yourself these and many other questions regarding a love life at college. Well, you came to the right place because you’re about to get all the answers you need.
1. Don’t be afraid to be single
So, obviously, this will be a text about how to handle romance the best way if you are a college student.
However, before we start with the actual tips regarding this topic, I want to give you the most important piece of advice: don’t be afraid to be single.
Of course, this applies to every possible period of your life, but it is crucial in college.
If you feel like you’re better off on your own, if you don’t find anyone you like well enough to date or have a relationship with or if you simply want to focus on other things besides your love life, that is perfectly okay.
Please, don’t fall under the pressure of your surroundings and think of yourself as a weirdo or an outcast just because you don’t have a college relationship and are not a part of any love story.
Don’t compare yourself to others and date just about anyone because you see couples all around you.
No, you won’t miss much if you remain single during your college years.
Yes, romances in college can become one of your most cherished memories in your adult life, but if it’s not meant to be, please don’t beat yourself up about it.
Instead, focus on yourself, on your best friends and family, and enjoy your on and off campus life the best way you can.
2. You don’t have to find “the one”
If you’ve ever read college romance novels (such as “Game On” by Kristen Callihan or college romance books by other Amazon or Goodreads authors such as Colleen Hoover or Abbi Glines), in which the good girl falls in love with a rock star bad boy she met during her studies and eventually, the two of them end up together, despite all the obstacles, you probably romanticized the idea of finding everlasting love on campus.
The same goes with all other books about romance in college: they give you hope that this is the place where you’ll find your forever person.
Well, let me tell you that romance books that take place in college and real life scenarios are not the same. In fact, during college, you don’t have to find “the one”.
You don’t have to be with the same person from your first until your last year in college.
On the other hand, you can have one college relationship throughout your entire studies, but this person doesn’t have to be someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
Yes, it is important for you to find a compatible partner, but don’t beat yourself up with thinking too far ahead in the future.
Get rid of the pressure that every relationship you get yourself involved in has to work out and end up with marriage.
On the contrary, the bitter truth is that most romances in college don’t last long after you both finish your studies.
I’m not saying that yours will fail as well, but this fact is definitely something you should have in mind before even starting anything.
Besides, be aware of the differences between men’s and women’s ideas of a college romance.
While most guys are looking forward to one night stands, women’s desires are usually centered around finding a long-term partner.
3. Use this time to learn
Obviously, you came to college to study and learn new things. You’re here to educate yourself academically and to make something out of yourself in the future.
However, there is another type of learning you should engage in here as well.
Instead of focusing on trying to find your soulmate, you should see this time as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your potential partners.
What are the types of girls or guys you enjoy dating the most? Are you one hundred percent certain about your s**uality or are you open to experiments?
Can you see yourself in a long-term relationship or marriage in the future? Are you capable of being involved in random hookups and casual flings or is this not your cup of tea?
This is the period in which you’ll find out more about your dealbreakers, standards, s**ual preferences, and the period in which you’ll get to know yourself in a completely new light—a period in which you’ll learn some tough lessons which will prove to be the most valuable ones in the future.
4. Know the difference between love and lust
Another important tip for college romances is to understand that there is a huge difference between the real deal and one night stands—a difference between sleeping with someone, dating them, being in a relationship and finally, being fully committed to them.
When you’re young and your hormones are going wild, it is incredibly easy to mistake the two things.
You hook up with a friend of a friend at a party or you meet with someone from your dating app, and the next thing you know, you’re convinced that you’re desperately in love with them, that you will love them for the rest of your life, and that you would die if they left.
The truth is that this is nothing but your body deceiving you. You’re actually falling into a common trap many young people find themselves in: you’re confusing lust and love.
Well, this is the time when you will learn that these two things are nowhere near the same, even though they have much in common.
You’ll learn that sharing strong chemistry and passion with someone doesn’t automatically mean that they’re your other half or someone you should waste all your college years on.
5. Be careful about s**
Let’s be honest: this is the period of your life in which you’ll probably have the most interesting s** life; the period of trying out new things and learning about your own se**ality.
Even though I’m not judging any of these, I’m here to ask you to be careful.
Always remember to use protection because the last thing you need now is an unwanted pr*gnancy or a STD you got from someone you slept with for the first time, which could change the course of your life forever.
Also, I’m begging you not do anything you’re not ready for. Respect your body, and demand the same treatment from your partner(s).
You’re not old-fashioned or a prude if you see that you’re not emotionally capable for having one night stands, for not wanting to sleep with someone you texted on the dating app or if you need more time to sleep with someone for the first time than the rest of the people of your generation.
Also, if you’re a guy, you don’t have to try so hard to maintain a bad boy reputation if that is not something you want.
Besides, even if you choose to remain a virgin, that is also your choice. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it, and nobody is allowed to judge you for it.
Remember, this is your own body we’re talking about here.
Therefore, you’re the only one who is allowed to set boundaries, and nobody has the right to invade your personal space more than you let them.
Another important thing is not to allow anyone to use you just to get into your pants.
Don’t get me wrong— there is nothing wrong with sleeping with someone without any strings attached if that is what you both want.
However, avoid being a b**ty call to someone you care for just to blend in with this entire hook-up culture.
Instead, be brave enough to tell the object of your affection that you want more and that they can either get the entire package, which includes your heart, body, and mind, or nothing at all.
Have in mind that in most cases, s** is more than s**, so be careful to whom you’re giving your body.
Even though you shouldn’t give a damn about what other people are saying, be careful about your reputation, and pay special attention to emotional consequences casual intercourse might leave on you.
6. Don’t fall under the pressure of the hook up culture
The same goes with all other concepts of modern dating: whatever you do, don’t fall under the pressures of your surroundings.
I know that everywhere you look, people are sleeping around, having ‘no strings attached’ relationships and not wanting to commit, but if that is not something you feel comfortable doing, don’t even think of forcing yourself into anything just so you don’t stand out.
Remember that love and honesty will never go out of style, no matter what someone might tell you.
You’re not weak or pathetic if you refuse to be a part of these practices and if you choose to be single until the right person comes along.
However, if you do enter a relationship, please don’t make it an on and off thing, based on mind games and mixed signals.
You don’t have to play hard to get or pretend that you don’t want to label things with your partner just because of these imaginary rules imposed by the hook up culture we’re all surrounded by.
7. It won’t be easy
I won’t lie to you—maintaining a healthy relationship is difficult when you’re a fully grown adult, let alone when you’re in college.
You have to balance between your lectures, time for studying, time for your family and best friends back home, and most importantly, time for yourself.
Consequently, all of this might feel overwhelming at first, and there is a possibility that your relationship won’t be going as smoothly as you expected it would.
However, accept this as something completely normal, and don’t beat yourself up for every little failure.
Just think things through and decide whether this is something worth fighting for. Are you really in love, and are both you and your partner ready to make things work?
If the answer is positive, go for it. On the other hand, if you don’t see this romance going anywhere, maybe it’s better to call it quits in time.
Don’t worry, you’re not a chicken for giving up. Instead, see this as a sign of your maturity and your ability to list your priorities the right way.
8. Don’t rush things
Most dating advice experts will agree on one thing when it comes to a romantic relationship in college: take things slowly.
Don’t jump into a new relationship the moment you arrive on campus, and give yourself time to adapt.
Many people actually make the same mistake: during their freshman year, they find themselves in unknown surroundings and are looking for someone to comfort them, to become their person and their safe zone.
So, they start dating the first person they run into, in hopes of regaining the sense of familiarity they’ve lost since they left home.
Well, let me tell you that this is a mistake. Before even taking romance into consideration, first and foremost, you have to find your own path and figure out how to get by without anyone’s help.
Get used to new subjects, materials, and teachers. Look around, find your interests. Meet new best friends, recover from being homesick, and only then, check out whether there are some dateable people around you.
9. Put your education first
I don’t care if you think you’ve found the love of your life and how crazy you are about your boyfriend/ girlfriend.
There is absolutely no justification which will allow you to forget why you came to college in the first place.
And that is to learn new things, to make new opportunities, and to become the person you’re destined to be.
Yes, you heard it right. As much as going to college is a valuable social experience, your education always comes first.
Therefore, if you have exams or a paper due, your romantic relationship will have to suffer. You can under no circumstances allow for these butterflies in your stomach to interfere with your final goal.
Yes, sleeping-in next to your loved one and not going to a few lectures are amazing, but that moment of joy is temporary, and it will pass.
However, this kind of irresponsible behavior might have serious consequences on your studies, and you should stop it the moment you see it happening.
10. Don’t expect too much from your high school romance
Many college freshmen expect to continue their relationship with their high school sweetheart even when they go to college.
While I’m not claiming that each one of these romances is doomed to fail, it is better not to get your hopes up when it comes to long-distance college romances.
First of all, most people reinvent themselves when they leave high school.
You become a completely different person in no time, and before you know it, you have nothing more in common with someone who meant the world to you.
I won’t lie to you—accepting this is quite difficult and painful.
However, sometimes it’s better to face the harsh truth and end things when they stop working instead of wasting more years on something that clearly has no future.
11. Avoid dating someone you can’t go no contact with after the breakup
Another one of the golden rules for a college romance is not to date someone you have multiple lectures with or someone you live in the same campus building with.
Yes, spending this much time together sounds like a dream come true in the beginning when it’s all roses and rainbows.
However, later on, this kind of arrangement is likely to cause problems in your relationship.
First of all, it is fruitful soil for either one of you becoming possessive control freaks because you’re in a position to literally follow your partner’s every move.
Besides, you two are accidentally dragged into a situation you didn’t sign up for. You have practically lived together since day one, and you are definitely not ready for such a serious relationship.
Another disadvantage of dating someone who is too close to you is the bigger possibility of the two of you getting tired of each other.
You spend too much time together, disregard other people, and before you know it, you get sick of one another.
Also, this makes things a lot more awkward if you two break up.
You’ll have a hard time getting over this person if you’re sentenced to keep on seeing them every day, and you can’t go full no contact, even if you want to.
Therefore, it would be best if you could find someone off-campus.
A person who is near enough so you could see each other when you want but with whom you don’t share a dorm.
12. Don’t forget about other people
College is not just about finding romance. It is also about forming lifelong, loyal friendships.
It is about meeting new people from different cultures, worldviews, backgrounds who can teach you a lot and build you as a person.
So, please, don’t miss out on these valuable experiences just because you’re in love.
Don’t put all of your time and energy on this one person and forget about the others.
This goes for your family and friends back home, as well. Don’t disregard your previous life completely because of your special someone.
Besides, what will you do if you two break up? I’ll tell you what will happen: you’ll end up all alone, without anyone to talk to, and you’ll regret spending your entire college time only with them.
13. Find someone who won’t hold you back
The worst thing you can do to yourself is having a partner who doesn’t support your dreams, goals, and ambitions.
It is spending years next to someone who holds you back and convinces you that you won’t succeed at anything you set your mind to.
Instead, find someone who will inspire you to become the best possible version of yourself and who will be the wind to your wings in all situations.
Someone who will push you forward, who won’t be intimidated by your successes, and who will be there to help you get back up whenever you fall.
Find yourself an ambitious boyfriend or girlfriend who has strict future goals and who knows what they want from life.
Someone who will be both your study and romantic partner, and someone who won’t take your energy off your dreams.
14. Don’t waste time on a relationship which doesn’t make you happy
A romantic relationship shouldn’t be the only source of your happiness—there is no doubt about that. However, it shouldn’t make you miserable either.
You see, life is difficult enough on its own. Therefore, you shouldn’t spend the best years of your life sad, crying over someone who doesn’t deserve you.
Yes, true love needs fighting for, and healthy relationships aren’t built overnight.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you should strain every nerve just to preserve a romance which obviously isn’t meant to be.
Life will throw bricks and stones at you in the future, and this is probably the last period when you can be carefree.
This is the period when you should enjoy every moment, without all the adult problems that every day brings.
So, do you really need someone who will ruin this entire experience for you? I think not.
15. Determine your own level of commitment
When you’re involved in any type of college relationship, you’re allowed to set your own rules and agree with your partner regarding your levels of commitment.
You two are the ones who need to determine whether it’s okay to see other people or you’re exclusive, whether you’ll try and plan a future together, and so on.
Whatever you do, make sure nobody limits your freedom.
This might be challenging to achieve because it is natural that you can’t behave the same when you’re taken and single, but on the other hand, you don’t want to spend all your Saturday nights in front of the TV with your partner during your entire college experience.
Also, please be careful about the promises you’re making.
Even though now you might be certain that the person next to you is your soulmate and that you two will end up together, the truth is that much will change during and especially after college.
Actually, the person you are as a college freshman and the person you become by your last year as a senior will probably be two completely different people.
So, don’t give any false hopes, and don’t promise them marriage or a long-term relationship if that is something you can’t give.
Don’t commit above your possibilities, and be honest about your intentions.
16. Be prepared for failure
Basically, none of us would ever enter a relationship if we had the ability of knowing when and how it will end.
Instead, when you fall in love, you expect your romance to last forever, and the end is the last thing on your mind.
Even though I don’t want you to sentence your relationship to failure, you also have to be fully aware that something like that is highly likely.
You’re in a sensitive life period, your emotions change at the speed of light, and you’re in the process of becoming the person you should be.
So maybe both you and your partner are still not ready for a mature relationship. And you have to be aware of that fact.
Therefore, even if your relationship fails, don’t see it as the end of the world. Instead, observe it as a chance for a fresh start.
17. Spend time enjoying college life
Most importantly—please, have fun. Your college experience should be one of the most interesting periods of your life, and whatever you do, please enjoy every day of your college life to the fullest.
Okay, I’m not saying you should engage in risky s**ual behavior or drink too much, but don’t be scared of trying new things.
Step out of your comfort zone, and don’t miss out on this precious experience just because you were too focused on one person only because if you do, I assure you that you’ll regret that decision forever.