College Dating: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

He just kept standing there, prepared to say something, but he couldn’t find the words.

Finally he said, “I have to tell you something.”

I knew that either meant something really good or really bad was about to happen, so I braced myself for what came next.

“I don’t think this is going to work out,” he said.

I froze, completely letting the shock hit me like a punch to the stomach. Then I replied with, “OK.”

We talked a little more about it and the more we talked he teared up, and I just sat there absorbing the moment.

I mean, it made sense, after all I’m a Chippewa and he’s a Bronco, so we were probably doomed from the start (I’m joking, well sort-of, after all, the rivalry is real).

Also, the long-distance was a factor. The “I wish you were here’s” and the plans for the next weekend visit that always fell through.

We were not an exception to the usual relationship issues: the trust issues, the willingness to make compromises and talk things out or just finding the time for each other.

On top of that, it’s all too clear to the millennial generation that relationships are not what they once were. Not only that, but college relationships are hard.

For those who are happily making a relationship last while in college, I give you major props.

Seriously, good for you. As for the rest of us, I feel for you.

In college, we’re all finally in the early stages of “adulting.” We’re finding our way while switching from one major to the next every semester, we finally learned how to grease the bottom of the pan while cooking and we’ve already exhausted all of our efforts pretending to be something we’re not during the high school days.

So, in short, we’re finally being our authentic, true selves and have gained real friends who love us for it. Even more so, we have big life goals we plan to see through.

And where do relationships fall into this time in our lives of self-discovery and goal-seeking? I mean, if you are going to date someone, you not only want someone you connect with, but you want to have someone who works well with your long-term plans.

But, what if you don’t know your long-term plans? What if the person you like graduates in May and is applying for graduate school out-of-state and you still have two more years of college? What happens when you and your significant other have to start applying for internships, which are nowhere near each other or one of you decides to study abroad, and you have to go long stretches of time without seeing each other? How do you make relationships withstand that and resist the convenience of others around you who are much closer?

I’m not saying everyone falls for convenience and I’m not saying it is impossible to get through relationship obstacles. However, with today’s social media, texting and Tinder at everyone’s fingertips, it’s easy to see why so many relationships fail or why so many are discouraged to want a relationship at all.

Going back to what I said, relationships in college are hard. Breakups are hard. So for any of you currently going through a breakup, or who understand the difficulty of trying and wanting to make something work but knowing it can’t, I really do feel for you.

You aren’t alone in the difficulties of the college dating world, or just the difficulties of the college world in general.

College life is good, weird, crazy, fun and sometimes it’s downright exhausting.

So, to all the fellow college students reading this, I hope you find that person willing to withstand the relationship obstacles with you. And, I hope you shy away from convenience and stay strong for the person who loves you.

I hope you find your way.