College is a time of exploration, in the world of academics, friendships, and, of course, relationships. Many dream of finding their soul mate in college, while others plan a new hook up every weekend. There are pros and cons to each of these lifestyles.
If you find “the one,” being in a relationship can be especially rewarding. Long-term relationships provide comfort and support when you need it most. You always have someone to go to when you need something, and you don’t ever have to wonder who you’re going home with. If you’re holding on to a high school sweetheart, they’ll also know all about you, and can help with your transition whether they’re on your campus or across the country.
There are some downfalls to going steady, though. There are a lot of unspoken boundaries that come with relationships, and it can be hard to escape these. You may also feel pressure to spend more time with this person than your schedule allows. The time constraints of the relationship can hold you back from doing things you want to do, including getting more involved on campus. It can also be a little tedious to be tied down to someone, when you’re constantly meeting new people at your university. Additionally, the door is open for constant worrying about who your significant other is hanging out with and what they’re doing — an added stressor that you don’t need during your college years.
If a relationship is too much pressure, you might opt to stay single and free. This can be great, because you aren’t exposed to all the pressure of a relationship. You’re free to flirt and mingle with new people all the time, and can enjoy parties and nights out with friends without feeling guilty. You have more independence, and more time for yourself, than you would if you were in a relationship, which can feel liberating for students.
In a single life, though, you won’t get the constant love and affection that you sometimes crave. You won’t necessarily have that person to go snuggle with when you need them, because they could be off with someone else. Without exclusivity, there is a huge potential for jealousy and complicated “friends with benefits” relationships that are mostly just confusing for both sides. Still, if you like your independence, staying single might be the way to go.
Either way, you shouldn’t feel pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle while you’re in school. This is a time to try things out, and see what you like best. Maybe the relationship life is for you, despite possibly taking up so much time. Perhaps you need some space, so you’re sticking to riding solo. Regardless, make sure you do what’s right for you — and don’t let anyone sway your opinion on what’s best for your situation: no one knows you better than yourself.