Building Healthy Relationships in College

Many students enter their first serious relationships in college. Yes, relationships can be wonder and bring out the best in the two people, but even the best relationships will sometimes get complicated, confusing, and challenging. These things may be because the students are expecting different things out of the relationship. Maybe they’re distracted by their schoolwork, or maybe there isn’t effective communication. The first months of a relationship are usually exciting and effortless, but a lasting relationship will mean more effort and compromises. There isn’t a class we can take on relationship skills, so it’s understandable that many students aren’t too sure about how to establish and maintain healthy relationships.

Pressures on the Relationship

Differences in Background. On a college campus, it is  likely you will meet people from different cultural backgrounds. If you become involved with someone from a different background, it may take more time and effort to build a healthy relationship. Learn about their culture or religion and how that may affect you. Even students from similar backgrounds can benefit from this discussion!

Friends. Some people think that being in a relationship means giving up all their friends. That’s not healthy for you or your relationship.  You only have so much free time as a student and it can be hard to distribute that time between your partner and your friends. It’s important to keep friends, but it’s also important to understand that your partner may not like your friends as much as you do. Negotiate which friends you two will hang out with together.  Don’t neglect your pals. If you completely ignore them during your relationship, when that relationship ends, they may not be so willing to be there for you.

Time Together and Time Apart. You only have but so many years in college, it’s important that you take advantage of them. This goes for your academics as well as student orgs, sports, and social events.  Sometimes, it may seem like you are too busy for your partner. Set aside some time for just the two of you! Yeah, you and your partner can experience some of these things together, but not necessarily all of these things together. It’s also very important that there is trust in the relationship. Time spent together is a very common concern in relationships. If your partner does not spend as much as with you as you’d like, talk to them about it. Communication is very important in all healthy relationships and your partner may not know that you’re missing their company. However, demanding what you want, regardless of your partner’s need, will usually end up driving your partner away, so work on reaching a compromise. Most importantly though – Don’t neglect your schoolwork and don’t forget to enjoy your college experience.