The clock is ticking, and you still have not found a partner, you are still not on the road to getting engaged or a long-term relationship/marriage does not seem to be in your near future. But college is supposed to be the time you “find” the love of your life, right?
This is the time to gradually find yourself and learn more about the world as well as those around you. We come into adolescence and young adulthood with expectations of how and when romantic relationships should be formed, not to mention if we should even be in one! While there is a beauty in building different relationships and even losing old ones, as you gain new life experiences and lessons, this mentality that has been pushed onto society for generations can also be damaging. You may have too many and/or false expectations of what “love” is or is supposed to be like. You may have a difficult time leaving that emotionally abusive relationship because the media has taught you that solely loving someone outweighs your respect, self-esteem, self-worth and love for yourself. You may be struggling to come to terms that your partner’s values may not align with your own - But you love them right?
I am not by any means telling you to avoid relationships in college. They can be beautiful and definitely something worth experiencing at some point in your young adulthood. You get to learn more about yourself as a person, how you love someone else, what you want and need from a romantic partnership as well as about another person on a deeper level! However, there are a lot of factors and possible circumstances you need to consider when seeking and maintaining a college relationship – such as your goals for the future, whether you want to make a long-term commitment to another person, if your partner is meeting your emotional needs, if long distance is the move, etc.
Shifting gears, we cannot forget about college hookups. Hookup culture is considered a major part of the ‘college experience’. However, it is not meant for everyone and can come with risks. We tend to forget about the consequences of such a common (yet taboo) act because they are so rare, but nevertheless it only takes one negative experience or scare to make an impact. Be responsible. Ensure that you have a support system or a person you can come back to in case something goes awry. On the flip side, absolutely do not feel bad for not engaging in hookup culture as well if you choose not to. And do not feel guilty if you decide to do so. While you are still growing and figuring out who you are, certain values and opinions you may have once had or grown up with may change or remain the same – which is completely okay!
So, whether you are seeking a casual relationship or a romantic one in your college years, just know that you are not bound by the expectations and illusions society has placed on the concepts of relationships and love. Relationships are different for everyone, as we all vary in personality, values and certain expectations of what we want in a partnership. As you learn, grow and hone in on your ambitions within these four years, do not be afraid to let people in and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you.
If you are seeking guidance on how to manage a relationship as a college student or are dealing with relationship-related anxieties or trauma, do not hesitate to reach out to us here at Bodhi Counseling. We are here for you!