The Green Monster of College Relationships

Let’s face it; relationships at any age are not easy. Whether you’re just starting out as a couple, or have been married for years, being in a relationship is hard work, and the effort must be put in by both parties.

Now, I’m no Dr. Phil or anything, but from what I’ve seen thus far, I’m going to say having a relationship in college is even harder than having one out of college. Most college kids go out and party on a pretty normal basis, which can be a definite burden on relationships. Even if you are not the biggest partier, you still come to school and meet a ton of new people in classes and activities.

Between the amounts of people coming in and out of your life, the substances that may or may not be at parties, and the ultimate freedom you have for the first time in your life, being in a relationship may seem like a far-fetched idea.

I recently read an article about how it is actually harder to even start a relationship in college these days because we’ve become so comfortable with the “hook up culture.” Young adults are less interested in actually dating and are okay with just having someone to text and party with on the weekends. So now we all won’t get to know each other past basic social media conversations? That’s scary, but fear not college students, I’ve seen plenty of relationships work out as well. In fact, most of my friends are in a relationship, or are at least engaging in the same person on a regular basis.

So if you are one of the lucky people to break through the “hook up culture” and start a relationship in college, what do you do when your significant other wants to go out on a Tuesday while you’re stuck inside doing a paper? Do you flip out and not let them go? That’s not the best idea, unless you’re trying to get out of that relationship. But should your significant other have complete freedom when it comes to going out or should you two establish some ground rules?

Lauryn Huban, a junior health and physical education major, said, “I’ve learned that there’s a difference between being jealous and not trusting someone. So no, there are no rules really. My boyfriend and I are all about going out and being social and there’s no way we would have lasted this long if we told each other we couldn’t go out. Now that we’re both 21 and go to bars, there’s no real guidelines to talking to people there either. We both know what we should and shouldn’t be doing.”

Eric Szkodny, a junior history major, agrees. “If people in a relationship don’t have complete freedom with each other when it comes to going out then it shows that they don’t trust each other. If you can’t trust someone enough to give them that kind of freedom, you’re not in a relationship with the right person.”

Lisa Allocco, an adjunct professor of communication, said, “I don’t think anyone can dictate whether or not a couple should or should not have ground rules in a relationship. That’s for the couple to negotiate through clear, effective communication. However, if they do establish monogamy as a relationship boundary and one of the partners is unfaithful he or she is likely to create messages mired in interpersonal deception.”

Allocco added, “The unfaithful partner will engage in message elaboration and the manipulation of non-verbal cues to persuade the other partner that he or she isn’t cheating. This will negatively affect the relationship dynamics and likely lead to the termination of the relationship.”

When it comes to college relationships, everyone gets a little jealous. I don’t know a single person that truly doesn’t care if they see their boyfriend or girlfriend talking to another person of the opposite sex, whether they trust them or not.

Maybe a little jealously isn’t a bad thing, it shows you care about the person and are proving that they’re yours. But jealously can go south very fast, there’s a huge difference between showing that you care about your significant other and starting a fight whenever they speak to someone. If you freak out every time they hang out with or even talk to someone else, that relationship is not going to stand the test of time.

When it comes to ground rules, it’s up to the individual couple. No one has the same relationship as anyone else, everyone acts and thinks differently. What’s okay in one relationship may be a huge problem in another. I think everyone should have the freedom to go where they want, because that’s what experiencing college is all about. If you try to hold someone back, they will probably rebel against you, and it will hurt you in the end.

The best advice I can give you, and I think this is valid for anyone of any age in a relationship, is to not do something you know would hurt the other person. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. You will save yourself from a lot of trouble that way.

But hey, like I said, I’m no relationship expert. Do what you think works best for your relationship and it will have a better chance of succeeding. If not, there are plenty of fish in the sea, especially in college.