College is a time for learning, maturing and discovering who you truly are. It’s also a great time to date and learn about the opposite sex. Juggling 15 hours, a part-time job and a girlfriend or boyfriend can be hard, but it’s still manageable and fun to have someone to share the ‘best four years of your life’ with. So get out there, be brave, but most of all have fun! Here are the ABC’s of college dating:
- Ask them out
When it comes to college dating, you’ve got to be brave and that sometimes means being the first one to ask out your crush. College is a time to take risks and build confidence, which makes it the perfect setting for dating.
Having boundaries is important to college relationships, when almost anything flies. Depending on your personal boundaries, you may draw the line at having sex before marriage, dishonesty or doing anything against your will. When boundaries are upheld, you’ll have a more satisfying and healthy relationship.
If you’re going to do the deed, you’d better use protection for your health and to prevent pregnancy. Different forms of contraception are available to students through university health clinics and local health care providers.
Dating is a relative term used in college, because not many relationships start with a first date. Money is tight in college, and unless you want to eat off of a McDonald’s dollar menu, first dates are usually over beer and a movie.
If you’ve been dating someone for a while and you’re approaching graduation, expect people to ask when you are getting engaged. Getting engaged straight out of college isn’t as popular as it used to be, but people will still insist that they hear wedding bells in your near future.
College dating involves plenty of flings, or short-term relationships. Let’s face it – some flings are strictly sexual and no strings attached, whereas others are cut short because the couple isn’t compatible or they don’t get along.
- Go to class
You have to go to class for obvious reasons, but why not go to find a potential boyfriend or girlfriend while you’re there. Dating someone (not your professor) from class is not as difficult or unheard of as it seems. Because you happen to be in the same class, you already have something in common. You can use homework or an upcoming test as an icebreaker, and see where it goes from there.
Heartache is inevitable for some college relationships that are torn by distance, lying, trust issues and a slew of other problems. Even though college is a laid-back, enjoyable time in most students’ lives, relationships are still tough and heartbreaking when they don’t work out.
Your college years are some of your most impressionable times, when the people around you can influence your actions and way of thinking in both good and bad ways. The person closest to you, specifically a boyfriend or girlfriend, can influence you to do things you never thought you would, but it’s important to be true to yourself and not get mixed up in something that puts you at risk.
Some people are quick to pass judgment before starting a relationship and during one. You may have heard some not-so-positive things about someone who you would consider dating, but instead of giving them a chance, you may judge them based on these rumors. Even in relationships, boyfriends and girlfriends can be judgmental towards their mate’s past relationships, lifestyle choices or beliefs.
College couples can be seen kissing all over campus. Whether it’s because they are away from their parents’ watchful eyes or they’re head over heels in love with each other, college couples don’t hold back from kissing in public.
College relationships experience a different kind of love than others. Call it lust or a honeymoon period, but college relationships are intensified by close bonds, similar interests and the amount of time spent with each other.
- Making memories
College isn’t called the ‘best four years of your life’ for nothing, and what better way to spend those years than with someone you love. Whether it lasts forever or ends after college, you will have long-lasting memories with the people you date in college.
- Not a care in the world
Dating in college is a lot of fun. For most students, college is a pretty carefree time that is enjoyable to spend with another person. This laid-back environment is perfect for dating because you are generally less stressed and have fewer factors working against you.
- Open communication
Having open communication is vital to any relationship, even ones in college. For some students, this is the first real relationship they’ve ever had and they don’t know what to say half the time. As your relationship progresses, it’s important to open up and share your feelings with your significant other, so you can work through problems and be honest with one another.
College parties can be a good way to meet potential mates. Unlike most college bars, you can carry on a conversation with someone at a house party and may feel more comfortable in a group setting with friends around.
College relationships and heated arguments often go hand-in-hand. From close-quartered living, jealousy to excessive drinking in college, quarrels are bound to happen when couples have unresolved issues that they don’t talk out.
Your responsibilities change in college and they increase when you are in a relationship. You can’t just ignore your significant other’s calls all night or stand them up when you had plans, if you are trying to stay with this person. Making time for another person, while trying to prepare for your final exams, can be a difficult endeavor that not every person is capable of.
College couples spend a great deal of time together, especially spending the night at each other’s places. The freedom of not being under Mom and Dad’s roof, allows couples to have sleepovers and more adult-like relationships. With this one-on-one time together, couples often grow closer and become more serious.
Just like any serious relationship, there needs to be trust in a college relationship to make it work. Couples who either live in the same dorm or have a long-distance relationships both have to trust their mates. Honesty is the best policy if you want your boyfriend or girlfriend to trust you completely.
A major component of college relationships is understanding one another. To truly understand each other comes with time and acceptance of different views, beliefs, goals and interests that you may not agree with. You also have to be understanding of their needs in the relationship, such as time alone, time with friends and respecting their priorities.
There is a wide variety of people to date in college, and the rules or stigmas of dating in high school don’t translate in college. You can date someone older or younger than you, someone with different political or religious beliefs and no one will care. The options are endless when it comes to dating in college.
When it comes time for graduation, couples have to make some serious decisions about their work and relationship. College couples sometimes have to choose between their career and theirrelationship when the two factors no longer mix.
- X-boyfriend or girlfriend
Ex-boyfriends and girlfriends can be hard to avoid in college. If you happen to have mutual friends, have classes in the same building or go to the same coffeehouse, chances are you’ll run into him or her at some point. Even if the relationship ended smoothly, being civil is the best way to get past the awkward run-ins with exes, and keep your current girlfriend or boyfriend happy.
As old as you may think you are in college, you’re still just a kid. For many serious couples, getting engaged is the next big step, but they are not financially or mentally ready to get married. It’s important to take things slow in college, not get too serious too quickly and just enjoy one another’s company.
In college, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll date some zeros here and there. You may not immediately “ditch the zero and get with the hero,” but you’ll learn something new with each failed relationship, and it will help you figure out what you really need in a significant other.