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Keeping Relationships Through College

September 7, 2009

surviving-college-relationshipsKeeping relationships going through college is no easy feat and already several itmightbelove readers have emailed us wondering how they can know if they can trust their boyfriend while being away at school and whether they should try to keep the relationship or if they should call it quits.

Rather reply the same answer to the question of “Can High School Relationships Survive College?” several times individually, and since it is the beginning of the semester for many university students, I decided it would be better instead to dedicate a whole post to it, because obviously it is not a decision that I or anyone else for that matter can make for you.

It’s a big transition to make for couples when going to a new school and sadly it’s likely a lot of relationships will be in jeopardy, especially those living far apart from each other and going to different colleges. While it may seem it would only be difficult for those accepted at different schools, even those who attend the same school together may find themselves unexpectedly struggling to make the relationship work.

There are three main reasons why relationships tend to fail during college. Part of it has to do with learning your true identity, the other factor is trust, and the last one is jealousy. All of these are major things that can contribute to the success or the failure of a relationship.

Going to college for many people is a period of discovery for themselves. Maybe it is the first time you’ve ever lived on your own, or maybe you’re ready to put everything in high school that happened completely behind you. For whatever reason, most people change during college. It’s not intentional or something bad – for most of us, it is a part of growing up and becoming our true adult identity. When we change as people this has an effect on our relationships as well, since we do not always change the same way or at the same time as our partner does. This can cause a lot of stress and tension and you may even find yourself thinking or saying “I don’t even know you anymore.”

The two other big problems are trust and jealousy. While they are two different problems, they often come with one another. For example, if you will be living in a coed college dorm, you will likely have others of the opposite sex walking around half naked or in their pajamas some of the time. This can be terribly tempting for some, especially if you get to know each other pretty well. Your partner will always be jealous of these people – and they will also worry whether or not they can trust you to make new friends of the opposite sex.

When it comes to developing as a person and building trust and overcoming jealousy issues, there are no easy answers or solutions that will come automatically.

The first question you should ask yourself honestly and objectively is whether you want the relationship to continue – and why you want it to continue. You also need to ask yourself if it really is in the best interest for you both.

Many times I have met people who were so concerned about their boyfriend or girlfriend or old high school friends that they never took the time to really fully enjoy the college experience – barely even getting to know the others on the same floor of their residence hall. These couples struggled for years trying to make it through only to end up breaking up and then wondering if the relationship caused them missed opportunities in life.

While the above example has been the majority of everyone I’ve ever known that has gone to college, of course occasionally you’ll hear the love story of high school sweethearts who survived the college years and ended up married. If you are both deeply in love and in a healthy relationship and have what it takes to make it work then your chances of success increase exponentially. If you’re questionable about the status of your relationship, constantly worrying about trust or jealousy, or feel like you don’t really know what you want to do – then it may be better to consider cutting losses early before they get worse.

To help you decide whether to keep a relationship through college, here are some considerations to think about:

How do you feel about each other?

Have you discussed future plans with each other?

How committed to one another are you?

Are you only together because you’re afraid of being alone?

Is is possible for you to keep the relationship together through college? What things will you do to ensure this?

How do you currently handle trust and jealousy issues?

Has a breakup seemed inevitable or a possibility before?

Is stressing over the relationship going to affect your grades?

If you continue the relationship, what will your expectations for each other be?

Answering these questions won’t be easy, but doing so will help you decide in your heart if it really is the best thing to do to try and make it work – or if you might both be better off to go your separate ways now and maybe catch back up later.

Do you have any thoughts or experiences about making relationships last through college? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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