I entered into a relationship with my lovely woman during the summer after our sophomore year. It is funny to think back on it now, but I did not want to be in a relationship during college due to my “need” for independence, future military plans and a bunch of other dumb reasons that I made clear to her while on our gym and smoothie dates. She played the game and I completely fell for her anyway, despite my efforts to be a single bachelor (cue the Aw’s if you so desire).
It does not have to be difficult, and can actually be very rewarding over the course of your college career to have a strong relationship with someone who supports and understands you. Maintaining a successful relationship together through new life challenges can make a huge difference in your grades, health, and social experience!
Whether you came to college in a relationship or recently entered into one, here are some important keys to maintaining a healthy relationship in college!
Get On Even Ground and Level With One Another
Take the time to discuss your goals, feelings and plans with your special person. You both should know each other’s passions and enjoy the thought of helping each other towards them.
For example, I planned on going through military training after college which would take around two years and I did not know if my lady was up for dealing with the challenges in that. Through further discussion she let me know that she planned to go to school to be a physician’s assistant which happens to be a two-year commitment as well and I realized that we had more in common through completely separate passions than I at first thought.
While on dates or during calls (long distance), talk about what you want out of the relationship, out of life, and out of your daily interests. Find common ground and help one another to develop into better individuals. The more you both can plan for each other, the more you will both understand and be able to help each other throughout life’s challenges.
Discussing these topics, such as what you both want out of the relationship, will definitely let you know if the other person is right for you and if there are further topics to discuss for an understanding.
It is always great to feel attraction to someone, but if later on you both are going to be constantly arguing over major life topics, the attraction can quickly fade. This can be mitigated or avoided by the age-old relationship advisory term: Communication.
Communication is the Key to Every Relationship
Your relationships with friends, family members, and your significant other rely completely on your respective communication with them. This is especially critical in an intimate relationship where a huge level of trust is required and the other person wants to feel needed and loved. Let’s face it, we all want to feel that. You have to give it to get it!
Tell each other your schedules, class times, fears, successes and anything that is on your minds! Keep an open highway of thoughts and feelings so that you can easily work through any disagreements that may come. Most “bumps” in a relationship come from a lack of communication and something being hidden from one of the individuals. Conversations should occur often, be very enjoyable or uplifting, and informative about one another.
Let the other person know about your day, your worries, and what you are looking forward to. In a relationship, you both are each other’s rock. You stand fast and help each other through life’s storms! By knowing the other’s thoughts and feelings, you create a synergy that will keep you strong! This also creates a force of familiarity, as you and your significant other start to share more experiences!
I will let you in on a secret about me… I absolutely detest phone calls. My preference is in-person contact, emails and texts. Typically, the only person I would answer the phone for is my beautiful mother. This changed after a year into my relationship, as I realized that I was neglecting to give the time and attention necessary to my girlfriend when I went out of town or was extremely busy.
Make time for your special person, even if it has to be on the phone. Language brings cultures together and it brings relationships together too! Hearing someone’s voice is always the best way to keep healthy communication and bring a higher feeling of being loved.
Sharing life experiences and ultimately creating a shared identity will build an unshakable trust and foundation for future relationship success!
Show Love, Give Space, and Trust!
If you want love, you must give love! I know that must sound like a proverb but it is so crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship. I have had friends tell me “He just isn’t showing me enough affection” or “She never listens and always disagrees with me.” Most problems that occur in a relationship can be solved by loving the other person. What do I mean?
The more you show someone love, the more success and happiness your relationship will bring. For example, do one different thing each day that shows your care and affection. It can be the simplest thing in the world, but one thing a day! Over the course of a few months, you will probably begin to do some of the things more often and that is a lot of caring acts toward another person.
Let’s say that you start by leaving a positive note. Then the next day, you wash the dishes while your significant other is stressed about all the things going on in their “hectic” lifestyle. The next day you could make dinner and so on until these things become normal. The more you show love to your special person through small acts of caring, the better the communication will be, and the more you two will build a stronger and more positive bond!
Everyone is different and people tolerate different levels of space. Now and then, it is good to give some space and allow the other person to work through the urgent needs of their life. Then, you can enter back in the scene as a calm stress-reliever and not someone else adding to the noise of life.
Try to understand that in college, you are both grown adults now and have largely separate lives even though you are in a relationship. Allow the other person to pursue interests or activities that do not involve you (within reason of course) as you should expect the same from them. This will create more trust over time as you both can be comfortable with each other hanging out with other people or having experiences separately.
Your experiences together will mean much more and your bond will grow exponentially!
Don’t Take Things Personally
At the end of the day, you are both different people with different backgrounds, interests and opinions. However, this is not a bad thing! In fact, it brings opportunity for more creativity and growth as you both learn through life’s experiences.
The key is to allow the other person to have their own beliefs while fostering a communicative environment where both of you feel comfortable challenging the other without causing any defensive reactions. Discussing topics in which you disagree can be very healthy and strengthening for a relationship as long as you come to a conclusion and move on back to the fact that you both are growing together.
As someone’s special person, you are going to be closer to them than most other people. This means that you may be the first person that they unload emotions such as anger or sadness onto. For example, if one person explodes at you for dropping a fork, chances are they are frustrated with something else going on and that was just a catalyst because dropping a fork is no big deal.
Allow the other person to vent and don’t let the little things get you worked up. At the end of the day, you both are a team and can work through anything that life throws at you!
I Wish You The Best in ALL Your Relationships!
These tips will work for most of your relationships in life, but especially for your intimate relationship(s) in college! Find even ground, keep open communication, show love, give space, and support one another as best you can!
Please let me know in the comments below if this helped you or if you have other ideas for keys to maintaining a healthy relationship! Feel free to leave any questions below or let me know in an email and I would be ecstatic to help!
Conquer College and Dominate Life