5 Things I Wish I Knew About Relationships in College

College is like a big party where you spend time with several different people, some longer, some shorter. Post-college is when we realize just how awkward we were throughout.

I graduated from college only last year, so I’m still in that phase of life where I don’t look at it through rose-tinted glasses.

See, college was fun and fantastic, for sure, but it was also depressing and cringe-worthy. For every successful relationship I had from friend to partner, I was met with awkward situations rivaling Three’s Company.

There are countless things I wish I knew about relationships back then, and hopefully, I can provide some clarity to those of you still trudging along higher education.

5. You don’t have to find your spouse. 

To be fair, I was aware of this for most of college, but not my freshman year. I thought it was crucial for you to find someone at a young age, lest you be stuck having to talk to strangers when you’re 30 (and no one wants that).

Unfortunately, having this mentality made me miss out on some of the best moments I could have had freshman year, like being hazed by seniors (that still happens in college right?) and/or pulling pranks on a lovable dean.

What I should have realized more quickly is that people are at a weird point in their lives during their early 20s. Someone you meet at age 19 is going to be drastically different by the time they’re 23, and making lifelong commitments before you’ve taken a basic class on economics is a recipe for domestic despair.

4. It’s okay to find your spouse in college.

“Whoa Jon. Way to contradict yourself you fool!” Listen, being completely closed off to marriage is actually just as bad as jumping into it too quickly. Though I didn’t find my ideal spouse when I was in college, plenty of my friends did, and I erroneously looked down on them.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been so high and mighty back then because my friends had fallen for someone and decided that they shouldn’t break up for no good reason. People have their aspirations, of course, and marrying young is not right for everybody, but you can’t deny that there are ample benefits to having someone at your side while you brave your 20s.

The biggest one being you don’t have to talk to strangers when you’re 30.

3. Be more considerate of your “bad dates.”

I was pretty callous during my later years in college. After being in a 2 year relationship, I was pretty aware of what I found appealing or less appealing about the girls I would date (I even made a list at one point, because I was that guy).

What I didn’t realize was that dating becomes a lot less “casual” for some people by the time you get to the end of college (at least where I went. Our motto was “Ring by Spring”). Going on dates meant that you were looking for that spouse, which is something I didn’t really pick up on, even when girls would ask me how many kids I want or if I prefer Coke to Pepsi.

I foolishly believed that, like freshman year, I could just not call a girl back and she would get the message. What I didn’t realize is that I was being a despicable person. Sure, I didn’t see eye to eye with how they viewed our “dates,” but ignoring them away was just hurting them, and they didn’t deserve that.

2. Don’t follow someone unless you intend to marry them.

I wanted to get a female’s perspective for this article, so I asked a friend what she wished she knew about college relationships.

Her exact words were, “Who are you?” After briefly introducing myself and re-evaluating what defines friendship, she told me she wished she hadn’t followed someone to another location unless he “put a ring on it.”

In college relationships, the question, “where will we go” is an inevitable decision that is rarely easy. Both of you have to consider how your careers will be affected by a potential move, which means marriage will likely be put on the table.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say marriage should be a condition for relocation, but my friend’s logic is sound. If your significant other doesn’t plan on putting your relationship in writing, the risk of it falling apart after you’ve uprooted your life is significantly higher. As always, there are exceptions to everything, but this is still something to consider before committing to a new life.

I mean, imagine having to talk to strangers in a city you’re not even from…Actually that sounds exciting.

1. Take women to places other than coffee shops. 

How I wish I knew this when I was in college. Fellas, I know college life means being strapped for cash, but we can do better. We will be better.

College is a rare time in our lives when staying up late and not having to do anything until 3pm is actually expected us without the stigma of illegal substances. But instead of fostering our creativity for activities that we won’t get away with in adult life, we take the easy way out and opt for coffee every time.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with going to a coffee shop once in a while with your best gal and strolling to the picture show a spell later, but we can at least put off the coffee shop date after the first date. Women everywhere will thank you.

Moral of this article? You’re going to mistakes in every relationship, especially college. Just be more aware of the mistakes you make that affect other people.

Oh, and if a girl plays video games, marry her. 

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13 thoughts on “5 Things I Wish I Knew About Relationships in College

  1. I ended up marrying the girl who was merely my best friend in college. We only got together two years after college when we found ourselves living in the same town. The relationships I did have in college were complete disasters and, like you, I wish I knew these things earlier.

    The wife doesn’t play video games, but she likes to watch when I play. That’s good enough, don’t you think?

  2. As someone who graduated two months ago from a university with a Ring by Spring policy, all I can say to this is “AMEN.” I graduated without my “MRS” degree, and I can’t tell you how many hallelujahs I sent up for the blessed fact that I did not end up staying any of the awkward, strange, and downright awful romantic relationships I had during my undergrad years.

  3. Omg, you are both hideous.

  4. This sounds like my school?
    Now I have to know. Where’d you go?!

  5. Wow, I actually wish that I’d have dated in high school. As an 18 year old freshman in college in her first relationship with a 24 year old who lives 2 hours away, the earlier experience, I believe, would’ve done me some good. Take some of the pain away from not understanding what a relationship ‘should’ look like. Still after approximately 4 months I have even hardly a vague idea. Wishes of not becoming a burden to him with my girly emotional issues, the stress of the demands from my first year in college, and the consistent confusion I have of not yet ‘finding myself’ only makes me feel like I’m doing him wrong. Eh, I can blag on and on, but I wont. And the search for clarity continues.

    Question: What about college relationships when long distance is a major factor?

  6. I am a college freshman and I knew these things before I went in, thanks to a talkative father. Yet when I got my first boyfriend I wanted it so bad to last. When I realized I was only with him because I enjoyed his company and not kissing him, we became best friends. We rely on each other a lot still and I’m thankful for that. And the being broke part is 100% true so that’s why a walk or sitting and feeding the ducks at the pond makes for a perfect date.

  7. How about: don’t get into a relationship with anyone who lives… not just same floor, but same HALL as you. As a college freshman, my lord, the drama that unfolds, though subtle, leaves a sort of sickly atmosphere that makes you feel antsy, jealous, and flat out annoyed. Like once they found each other, they were stuck like glue. Really? SPACE!! I say this because such is the situation with my roommate and two other people on the floor, and one of them is a same floor relationship. They may have done a good job of hiding it from others, but I am always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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