Campus Relationships: A Guide to College Dating

As New Year’s resolutions and celebrations begin to fizzle out, many students here at the University may start to notice a theme circling about in numerous stores in the area. This would be the next big event on many calendars: Valentine’s Day.

Cherished by some, dreaded by many, this “Hallmark Holiday” is encroaching upon us and whether you love it or hate it, there is no avoiding it.

Shipments of flowers, cards and candy have begun to flood the Hawks Nest and University Store. Romantics all around will soon begin to search for the perfect ways to show that they care.

However, in college this can be a particularly hard task to complete. Many questions can arise when considering this topic, such as what exactly is ‘dating’?

 Is it different than a relationship? How do you know if feelings are mutual or if you are just a friend? What makes a pair exclusive?

After asking several students here at the University, I was able to get some opinions on these questions that may help lighten the load of this task.

Amy Rodriguez, senior, says, “Dating is casual. You could be dating several people at once. For me, I think of dating as spending time together whether it be going to dinner or seeing a movie.” She continues to say, ”Relationships on the other hand are different. If you are in a relationship with someone, it is exclusive. Neither person should be going out on ‘dates’ with someone else.”

Another senior Jessie Sinai agrees saying, “A pair is exclusive if it is understood that neither person is going on dates with other people. It’s especially difficult to determine in college because it seems like people actually going out on formal dates is an extremely rare occurrence in college.”

When it comes down to dating, the question to ask is this: Is chivalry dead? Do dates consist now only of trips to the Dining Hall or a night out at a house party? What could some possible explanations to the lack of relationships on college campuses be?

“The relationship game among college-age adults today is a muddle of seemingly contradictory trends. Recent studies indicate that traditional dating on campuses has taken a back seat to no-strings relationships in which bonds between young men and women are increasingly brief and sexual,” says Sharon Jayson in a USA Today article titled, “More College ‘Hookups,’ But More Virgins, Too.”

Relationships can also take a lot of work, and this may not be something many students want to put effort into at this particular point in their lives. Kate Memoli, a counselor at the University Counseling and Psychological Services says, “I think that the difficulty in maintaining intimate relationships in college is connected to college life. The most common issue I have found is that people want to have lots of different experiences while in college and being with one person may feel limiting.”

Memoli suggests, “The way to work through this is to make sure that both individuals are ‘on the same page’ in terms of ‘rules’ for the relationship. The most significant issue for any couple is a lack of communication so it is important to talk to your partner and come to an agreement about what is ok and what is not ok in the relationship.”

So whether you are single, in a relationship, or it’s just ‘complicated’ right now, dating can be a difficult task at all colleges.

Students wishing to discuss any personal issues regarding relationships of any kind can seek support and guidance through seminars and workshops offered by the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, located in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.