The Guide to Strong & Healthy Relationships in College

The Guide to Strong & Healthy Relationships in College // ew & pt

Strong relationships in college are often hit or miss. I’ve seen relationships that have been strong since freshman year and relationships that totally blew up and left people friendless and bummed out. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ensure your relationship is a strong one and, if it ends up not working out, you won’t be left friendless and utterly heartbroken.

1. Create Balance

Life really is about balance and when you’re in a relationship it gets added to the pie chart of your life. Your schoolwork, friendships, clubs, family and other priorities must be adjusted to fit a relationship. It’s important to monitor what you’re moving around to make space for a new priority in your life.

And, if you realize your relationship isn’t fitting into your life and other parts of your life are suffering, it might be time to consider if your relationship is healthy or worth it. Remember, your S.O. should support you and lift you up, not hold you back from fulfilling other needs in your life. And, remember, it’s okay if you’re not ready or willing to make space for a relationship in your life during college. It really is a huge time commitment.

2. Live Your Lives Separately but Together

No one should ever be your entire life. Make sure you have some things that are yours that you do without your S.O., whether it be an important club or hobby. There should always be a life outside of your relationship. Ensure that you grow into your individual self and don’t get stuck in one of those relationships in college that stunt your growth or force you to grow into the mold someone else created for you. Namely, stay true to yourself. Live your own life, but share it with your S.O.

3. Keep Your Other Relationships Strong

If you take one thing from this entire article, let it be this: Don’t ditch your friends for your boyfriend and then come crawling back to your friends when you get lonely or heartbroken. I have had friends and friends of friends make the critical mistake of pushing their friends aside to date someone. Let me tell you, it’s very difficult to repair friendships in which you neglected a friend for someone you deemed more important.

Sometimes you’ll cancel on friends or your S.O. to hang out with the other, but as long as you don’t get lost up your S.O.’s ass and dedicate all of your free time to them, you should be fine. Remember, it’s all about balance.

4. Make an Effort to go on Dates

There’s nothing wrong with just hanging out in the dorms and on campus, but now and again make a point to do something special and different. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, it can be as simple as just leaving campus to grab a coffee.

Make plenty of on-campus memories together but also take the time to explore outside of campus. In “the real world,” there’s more to life than just cozying up in dorms. Ensure you still have a fun time on dates and not just when you’re in the dorms.

5. Don’t Always Assume You (or They) are Invited

If you intend on coming to something or bringing your S.O. together make sure it’s okay. Not like the, “Hey, can I bring Joe?” sort of way that backs someone into a corner and makes them feel like they have to yes. Ask in a way that’s more, “Is it going to just be a girls night?” or “Who’s coming?” to get a vibe. No one wants to be the person to tell their friend their S.O. can’t come, but no one wants to only see their friend when he or she is with bae.

Even if your friends or your S.O.’s friends swear you’re welcome, sometimes it’s best to sit some things out. It’s nice to hang out with just friends. You deserve that, your friends deserve that and your S.O. deserves it, too.

6. Don’t Give up What’s Important to You

While it’s important for your S.O. to be important to you, you should be most important to yourself. I’m not saying to be selfish, but I am saying to be selfish when it comes to things you don’t want to compromise on and things that are incredibly important to you. Prioritize!

This includes choosing not to go abroad because you’ll miss your S.O. or skipping club meetings to watch movies with bae. It also includes failing classes because your S.O. is your newest, but not greatest, study buddy. If you’re dating someone who truly loves you, they’ll support you and your interests.

7. Take Some Pictures Alone

Along with doing things alone is taking photos alone. This sounds very superficial, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll thank yourself for, just in case. Should you break up, you’ll be glad to have some photos of you in college that aren’t marred with an ex…although I am a firm believer that memories should be looked back on fondly whenever possible, even if the person you made them with ended up being a dud. (This goes for friendships, too!)

8. Think About Distance

If you and your S.O. don’t live in the same town (which is common if you’ve met in college), talk about what’s going to happen when it’s summer or when there are long breaks. Will you visit each other? Can you handle long distance? And, if you’re a senior, it’s tough but crucial to discuss what’s next in terms of turning the relationship long distance or not.

Even if you happen to live in the same area, it’s important to discuss boundaries when you’re both home. Will you prioritize your friends and family during breaks? Will you continue to see each other each day? Is that practical? Be honest!

9. Don’t Be Afraid of Breakups

A lot of relationships in college end. Not all, but a lot. It’s life, we’re young and life goes on. We’re all figuring things out and it’s okay. Don’t waste time in college with someone you know doesn’t make you happy. Your happiness should be a priority and don’t avoid a breakup that you think is necessary just because it seems like it’ll be tough. If it turns out someone you thought was right for you isn’t, make a move.

On a similar note, if someone breaks up with you, they just weren’t meant for you. Breakups are hard and they suck, but listen to a few breakup playlists, cry it out and, in time, you’ll be fine. Remember that breaking up is always an option for relationships going nowhere or going south. Sometimes that leap is worth it and it can open you up to finding someone who’s a better fit.


The main point of this? Relationships in college are tough but they’re often worth it. You either find something amazing or learn some lessons along the way. Remember to make the most of your experience in college whether it be with or without an S.O.

I hope I don’t sound pessimistic, just please, if you get into a relationship in college…don’t get stuck up your S.O.’s ass and abandon your social life and school work. Seriously. And don’t let your S.O. do that to you!

What are some of your tips for relationships in college?

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