The dos and don’ts of dating beyond high school

High school is quite terrible, I admit: the homework, early mornings, crowded cafeterias… what good comes out of it? You get to walk around with sexually frustrated teens all day, some of which pair up and form semi-mature relationships. Then, at the end of the fourth year, it is time to leave high school and move off to college. You leave everything behind, yet (sometimes regretfully) take a few things with you… is one of those things a significant other?

Going to the same college as your boyfriend or girlfriend brings excitement, happiness and, needless to say, a little anxiety. Ohio University psychology professor Kimberly Rios agrees. “If the student perceives his or her relationship to be stable, the relationship can potentially act as a buffer against feelings of anxiety. However, if the student doesn’t feel confident about his or her relationship to begin with, the relationship is likely an additional source of anxiety,” she said.

My high school relationship was perfect; my boyfriend (we’ll call him Mario, for the sake of anonymity) and I thought college was going to be the best thing to ever happen to our relationship. Fast forward a month into college and here I am, single. Dumped. While I promise to control myself and not make this article a rant about what went wrong in my particular relationship, I do have a few tips for what not to do when carrying a relationship over from high school into college.

And don’t fret, my friends. It is possible.

Don’t always go out together.

Meet new friends (some that the other person doesn’t know so you aren’t left alone if you break up) and do not rely on each other on weekends. Of course, go out with your significant other and have fun or plan on meeting up with them later on in the night—but girls, make sure to plan a girls night, too. And guys: go out to Buffalo Wild Wings and watch the game with your bros. College is all about meeting new friends, despite who you originally arrive with… because you never know who you will be leaving with, or even more so, who will leave you.

On the other hand, it is crucial to schedule alone time together. And no, walking home from the bars at 2 a.m. does not count. Make special study dates together, go get Big Mamma’s every Tuesday night or pick them up at their last class every Friday afternoon.

Success is possible!

Freshman Adam Musgrave just celebrated his two-year anniversary with his fellow Bobcat girlfriend. That isn’t to say that these past few months haven’t taken a lot of work.

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Musgrave and his girlfriend on their two year anniversary. Photo from Instagram.

“It’s showed me that if you want something to work, you can’t be as clingy as in high school… college definitely pushes the boundaries of your trust,” Musgrave said.

He admits that it isn’t always kisses and roses. “It’s hard in the way that you are worried about losing the one you care about, but if you’re able to overcome that fear and instill more trust, it creates a stronger bond in your relationship that will help you overcome future confrontation,” Musgrave said.

I wish the best of luck for Musgrave and his girl—looks like they’ve balanced college, friends and love quite nicely so far. His top advice for keeping a girl is quite wise (and romantic, I must add).  “[I try to] put her first and think of her interests over mine, even if it isn’t in my favor,” he said.

Get support.

“Being in a relationship may have subtle influences on students that they themselves are not even aware of,” Rios said. “Although being in the relationship is a very important role or identity, it shouldn’t be your only role or identity, so make sure you have multiple sources of support– for example, from friends, family, roommates, etc. This will help ensure that your confidence in yourself and your future remain high even when the going gets tough.”

Amen, sister. From my own experience, I can attest that this is extremely relevant and meaningful advice. College is difficult enough — don’t stress yourself out even more by ending up without a cuddle buddy or any friends. Go get yourself a pedicure or a new football jersey and relish the single life. I can practically hear the Beyoncé tune now…

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