Dating in College: The Beautiful Ugly Truth
There is no doubt that many people are in relationships that have lasted a lifetime with those that they have met in college. One of the most lasting and loving of these being the relationship between husband and wife.
We could list countless first-hand testimony of how Bob met Lucy and went on to have kids, grandkids, and have been together forever and a day. But there is also an ugly side of dating in college that is oftentimes overlooked by those with love in their eyes, especially during a time when they are missing their families while being away from them for the first time in their lives.
Is It Love? Or is it Loneliness?
Leaving home for the first time for many college students is a time of mixed emotions. Some are eager to get away on their own but soon realize it can become a lonely existence.
Not everyone makes friends as easily as they did in high school. There are not as many familiar faces as there were when you were back home. Suddenly, someone catches your eye and gravitates towards you. With the flutter of your heart, and a smile on your face, you think you have found the person of your dreams.
This is the time to slow down and breathe. You just met this person and you don’t know a thing about them.
College students report that if they had just taken the time to get to know the person that approached them, they would have saved themselves unnecessary heartache.
When meeting someone for the first time in college, use this checklist before becoming overly involved with them:
- Do they seem like they are always alone? Do they have friends to introduce you to?
If someone that you meet in college is just as lonely as you are, chances are you are headed into a relationship of isolation. Make it a point to ask them how long they have been there and if there are any groups they belong too or are interested in joining.
- Do they work on campus? Live near campus?
Ask to see their roster. Are they really students? You would be surprised how many people hang around college campuses looking for company. Questioning someone that you just met may seem a bit intrusive, but in the long run it will save you pain.
If the student lives near campus, do not visit their home without a friend with you. Get to know some same sex friends before starting a relationship. The more people you know the better chance that you will not be a target for someone trolling around campus for a new person to take advantage of.
- What are their interests and time schedule?
Get inside their heads to see what they are up too when they are not in class. Are you compatible when it comes to your time. Can you get to know this person without it infringing on your studies?
Do not allow anyone into your life while in college that will eventually accuse you of not having time for them. You are there to gain knowledge to get your career started. Relationships can get as ugly as they are beautiful. They are always great in the beginning.
- Remember that “No” is a word.
When the phone calls start coming in after meeting someone new, and with them invitations to go out to eat or grab a movie, it is okay to say “not tonight”. No is a word that is to be respected in any relationship. You may have to study, and your new-found friend should understand when you cannot make it out.
No can also be used if there is alcohol during the outings you do attend. Drugs and alcohol are readily available on college campuses and 90% of date rapes happen when someone is under the influence of drugs.
Petting and necking can get hot and heavy when you are falling for someone, but if you say “no” when its going farther than you want it to go, your partner should respect that. If you find that you are in a pushy relationship, listen to those early warnings in your head and get out of it quick.
We all hear those little warnings when a person is not right for us, but when we are lonely, we often dismiss our own intuitions. That is why it is important to make friends before starting intimate relationships. Friends can be objective for use when we are too love drunk and are totally subjective.
When It is Right, you will Know
We know that the statements above may seem a bit lame, but they are to help you to keep safe and sane when dealing with matters of the heart.
The one thing that is sure, is that you will fall in love someday. You are going to know it when it happens, and if it is healthy you will see the following happening:
- The other person will want to take their time as much as you do to get to know each other.
- You will spend time laughing and finding out their strengths and weaknesses along the way, as they find out yours.
- Family will be an important factor on both sides. Your parents and their parents will be talked about.
- You will introduce each other to other people, and engage in groups together.
- You will not feel isolated from you own life. Your life will be complete with or without the person involved in it.
- You will not be made to feel guilty about your choices, but will be given patient consideration for your feelings about everything.
Finally, the word “Love” is an action word. It is not thrown around just to make someone feel safe. It is used when it is real, so use it when you know you have found it, don’t be forced to use it unwisely.