College time should be dedicated to fun, experimentation and networking. For some, however, simple romantic flings get pretty serious pretty fast. Is it possible to have a serious relationship in college and is it possible to make that relationship last in the long run?
The simple answer to these questions is yes.
The more complex answer should take a look at individual behaviors and situations that will contribute to the longevity or the eventual demise of the relationship.
So, what does it take to have a satisfying, lasting relationship in college? Here are some of the biggest dos and don’ts.
Do Set Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are incredibly important for the success of every single relationship and they play an even bigger role when people are young and relatively inexperienced.
As soon as you learn that things are starting to get serious, you’ll need to sit down and have The Talk with your partner.
While setting boundaries can feel somewhat uncomfortable, it’s one of the biggest essentials for establishing a healthy relationship foundation.
So what do you feel comfortable with and where do you draw the line in terms of trust, intimacy, spending time together? How much commitment do you need to feel happy? What compromises are you willing to make? If both of you are on the same page about these essentials right from the start, the chances of the relationship working increase significantly.
Don’t Punish Your Partner
Punishing your partner and using ultimatums as a means of control in a relationship is a big no-no.
Most of us have used some kind of punishment on a partner – the silent treatment, withholding intimacy, denying them a chance to engage in a favorite activity together.
The problem with punishments is that they don’t work. Unless you communicate what’s wrong, why you’re upset and what would be a better course of action the next time around, your partner will have no idea whatsoever what they’re being punished for.
Punishments damage relationships in more than one way. They break trust, they can be hurtful and they don’t address the root cause of the problem. You may want to take some time off while you’re mad. When you calm down, however, sit down and discuss the situation like two adults. Chances are that you’ll get a much better resolution than by pouting or threatening.
Do Make Time for Each Other
College time is hectic time.
You’ll have classes, exams, extracurricular activities and workshops to go to. If you want to make your relationship last, you’ll have to consciously make effort to spend time with each other.
While scheduling isn’t sexy and it may seem like something old people do, it can really help you strengthen the bond.
So, do have a date night. Plan a weekend together. Enjoy the company of mutual friends or go to a study session together. All of these provide excellent opportunities to learn more about each other and have fun.
Don’t Bring Up the Past
Digging up the skeletons in your partner’s closet isn’t going to benefit your relationship.
The same applies to going back to issues that you supposedly have addressed already.
So, discuss a situation when it arises, find a compromise and move on. If you tell your significant other that you’re no longer mad about something, refrain from bringing it up when the situation triggers you. Instead, find a healthier way to cope with your inner insecurities.
Do Have Fun in the Bedroom
A healthy sex life is the glue that holds many relationships together.
College relationships should be characterized by lots of good sex and lots of experimentation.
You’re in the prime of your sexuality. Now’s the time to experiment, to be naughty and discover what you truly love.
The rules about good communication apply to the bedroom.
Tell your girlfriend or boyfriend what you like, even if you feel that your preferences may be somewhat unusual. The truth of the matter is that you’re probably not as kinky as you think.
According to a survey conducted by online sex toy store Hotcherry, 45% of participants either had a fetish or believed that they had one. Chances are that what you enjoy is a lot more common than you believe. Chances are that your partner enjoys the same thing. You’ll never find out until you ask, however.
Don’t Be Unfaithful!
While this one may seem like an obvious, it’s so important that it bears repeating.
Cheating isn’t as common as some statistics may have us believe. When you’re young, however, and you’re surrounded by lots of hot and intriguing people, the temptation is obviously there.
Don’t assume that you’re in an open relationship just because you don’t feel you’re ready for monogamy at the time being. Again – boundaries! If you’d like to test out a threesome or a more casual type of a relationship, talk to your partner before moving on to do something stupid.
Do Spend Some Time Away from Each Other
In the beginning of a college relationship, you’ll probably act as if you’re stuck to each other with commercial adhesive.
Love and lust will make you eager to spend every single minute of every single day with the object of your affection.
In time, however, this will get to be too much. You could be seen as clingy and way too needy.
Successful long-term relationships involve individual activities, preferences and social circles.
So, don’t be afraid to dedicate some time to your hobbies, your family and your friends. Your partner should be free to do the same, if you want the dynamic to remain healthy and exciting in the long run.
The final thing to understand is that you should be aware of the warning signs. Some relationships aren’t meant to last, even if you put everything you have and you are in the process. Be honest with yourself and reevaluate the relationship every once in a while. There are issues that can be addressed and repaired. If you notice irreconcilable differences early on, however, you should cut your losses (even if that hurts). In time, you’ll know this was the right thing to do.