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Is Romance Dead in College?
It may often seem that romance and the dating rituals are suspended in college. There is the infamous break up between couples over Thanksgiving due to the long distance relationship becoming too difficult. There is also the insidious idea floating around that no one really dates in college, there is just hooking up. The latter statement is a generality, and like most generalities it is false. College students are not tired of romance, or finding their soul-mate, and by no means bored of developing lasting relationships. Any hints of the existence of a throng of heartless, emotionless collegiate men and women is either based on “loud stories,” or spoken by love-scarred pessimists. I heard a decent amount of stories about relationships forming in tutoring groups and student organizations, but I have heard too many of the same hook-up stories where the names change, but the facts stay the same.
In many aspects, dating and looking for romance in college is a challenge. I remember enjoying a very blissful summer full of romantic getaways with my boyfriend before we started college in the fall after high school graduation. Although we both worked, we had enough time to go on creative excursions and learn new things about one another at our own pace. A little farther down the line, I learned the difference between dating in high school and dating in college.
Romance in college takes on different appearances due to the structure of the college experience. Two months of dating in high school may not sound like much—after all, the couple does not spend that much time together. College on the other hand makes each relationship more intense. For one thing, couples can spend more time together: days, nights, plan their classes together, spring breaks, etc. It becomes apparent very quickly if the person you are dating is not for you. Likewise, if other priorities precede dating someone, it is more often than not a message that things are not working out.
Secondary adjustments are made as well. Many nights are often spent with a large group of friends, since there is no time in the day to spend time with each person individually. My experience has taught me that it is important to spend time together as a couple and in a group of people. For most, college dating does not give enough opportunity to bring a date home to mom, but our friends are often an interesting substitute. Although these hurdles exist, dating in college gives rise to many opportunities such as creative dates, study dates, formals, semi-formals, and attending college sponsored events. In many ways dating in college can be just as enjoyable and romantic as spending the summer before college together.
For some, being around many attractive people of the desired age group may foster feelings that relationships complicate things. Why would anyone have a relationship when hooking up and satisfactions of carnal desires can be easily attained? I cannot judge these choices, but I can say that trivial pursuits often leave more to be desired. Physical relationships that may last one night or four years are as far from romance as the North Pole is from Antarctica.
Those college students who wish to form relationships and harness romance must overcome many obstacles against relationships on college campuses. First, it is important that there is room in a busy schedule to be open to meeting new people. Not every single person you meet will be desired dating material. It is also important to be yourself. Life is too short to give a wrong impression to a worthwhile person. It must also be taken into consideration that fear of commitment and the desire of others to indulge in hook ups may be simply a result of fear of rejection culminated by a lack of experience and a bad self-esteem. Not everyone was lucky enough to have romance prior to the start of college. Most importantly, culminating a comfortable atmosphere of open communication is vital to forge meaningful relationships and lead fellow conversationalists to become more confident. Lastly, many first encounters have taught me that strangers will make their own impressions based on their ideas and past experiences with people. Sometimes it is important to remind others that you are one of a kind.
Sun, 2011-08-14 18:06#2
Romance is a personal thing
I think romance is personal to two people who share the same idea. I lived in the dorms at my college and everyday I would constantly see couples bickering and screeching at each other about all sorts of things because they don't trust each other. Romance, before everything else, requires trust. Unfortunately, in colleges, many are too consumed by the whole idea of weekend parties and hooking up. Secretly, most of them crave for romance over hooking up, but I guess as the author of the post mentioned, they might be insecure about finding the right person. Also, because of the insecurities, couples also play what I call "The Jealous Game". Especially in college, I saw many couples trying to make each other jealous by giving the idea that they are hooking up with other people at parties even though there are sitting alone in a corner, sipping soda. I guess once the insecurities subside, a romance will be born.
Sun, 2011-08-14 18:11#3
@socialscholar, I think you
@socialscholar, I think you are a little harsh here on hookups. First of all, a one-night stand or friends with benefits relationship does not necessarily mean you are not a believer in romance or a pessimist. It might just mean that you are not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with that particular person. They might satisfy your sexual needs alone, and if both parties are ok with that then what is the problem? Also, I don't think 'hooking up' and romance are necessarily mutually exclusive. I know people in relationships that started as hooking up with a friend and grew from there. I think people should basically do what they want, whether that's hooking up or dating, without guilt as long as they are honest.
Sun, 2011-08-14 19:00#4
Although we are no longer
Although we are no longer dating (we're still good friends), the best boyfriend I've ever had come up rather accidentally and very slowly in college. We sat next to each other in a creative writing seminar and hit it off right away; we had a similar sense of humor and enjoyed many of the same hobbies, so it was a natural fit. And though I thought, he was very sweet and cute, I never really thought much of it. I'm too busy to date, why should I risk my grades for a guy? A year later, we ended up in a history class together and once again sat together, and then usually went to lunch with each other afterward. It never occurred to me that we were, in effect, going on dates, until he finally just came right out and asked me to dinner once. So, there I was, turkey sandwich halfway to my mouth, and I froze. Had he really just said that? He took my sudden panic and inability to answer as a no and quickly excused himself to spare us both the embarrassment, but I caught up with him and told him that, sure, I'd love to. I was just surprised that he asked. That was when he laughed and pointed out that we'd practically been dating for a while anyway, and he just thought he'd make it official. Sadly, it was his graduation that did us in. He was a year younger (I'm a cradle-robber, I know) and graduated while I was in my first year as a grad student, and he left to go back to his home in another state. We tried to make it work, but eventually we just decided to let it go, and who knows maybe try again later, if we settle down in the same spot. The maturity with which we treated each other, and the eventual (mutual) breakup was a big eye-opener for me and showed me that not every relationship had to be as dramatic and heartbreaking as those in high school.
Mon, 2011-08-15 11:42#5
Thanks for this post. You definitely bring up some good points, and I think that more people need to realize the revival of romance in college. Now is the best time to quit goofing around and get serious, and this includes in the romance department, too. It's also true that high school dating is different from college dating, so thanks for bringing this up! I also found that college dating moved much faster than in high school. Without parents to set a curfew or say no, I could spend as much or as little time with my boyfriend as I wanted, and that changed things. We became much closer much more quickly since we spent so much time together. (And now we're married :) Romance is not dead! Thanks for this great post :)
Mon, 2011-08-15 23:25#6
Watching high school romances in college breakdown is rather fun. I lived next to a stair well and got to hear all the break downs and crying over the year. “I can’t believe you would do this.” College guys are looking for possibilities. And these possibilities are ever-changing and re-opening. That means they like to be available for chances to find new people and keep their schedule open. Don’t chain a person down as you see them sprinting away. Trying to cage a animal is just going to result in getting bitten. Wave goodbye and try to pick up your broken heart as soon as possible.
Thu, 2011-09-01 21:19#7
Relationships can be difficult to manage in any situation high school, college, and life. As time progresses throughout our life many challenges confront us and usually take some form of impact on a relationship. As we grow more mature we become wiser in the relationship department of our mate.
A continuous relationship does not end at marriage it is still a relationship that takes everyday work. If more people put more work into their relationship divorces may not be so high. Having a relationship takes work of compromise by two individuals having their own thoughts and ideas for their relationship.
Fri, 2011-09-16 04:24#8
Romance is no more dead than
Romance is no more dead than chivalry; they just require non-jaded people to enact them. I've been in several relationships where I was good with just holding her hand, and several where we went and hooked up. My longest girlfriend (2 years) started as a hookup, actually. The point is, it really depends on the people involved, their chemistry, what they're looking for in a relationship, etc. There is way too many factors to say that hooking up is exclusive from romance. I do understand, however, that I am (according to stereotypes and generalities, at least) the exception, not the rule. I'm fine with that, but I think there are more of us than is thought to be. Especially in college, as everyone's still at least optimistic about it all, I'd hope, when they first start.
Wed, 2011-09-28 20:15#9
Never experienced Romance or being in a relationship before
Well, for me, I have never been in a romantic relationship before; however, I usually have a very good relationship with girls in my class and girls around me.I do not know the reason why at eighteen-year old, I have still not had a first date. It is not as if I am shy or very boring guy, but the problem that I have is that any girl who I am interested in always has a boyfriend; and I feel scared to tell her my feelings, because they would turn me down, besides if am sure that she won't, I do not want to be responsible for the breaking up of a relationship. Now back to the point I think that college romantic relationship is a trend that would continue generation after generation and at least 99% of students who go through college would have a date.
Fri, 2011-09-30 08:28#10
Relationships in College
I have to say that I was going to agree that long-term relationships in college is the exception to the rule. The longest relationships last about a year top, right? Well, except for my boyfriend and I, who've been dating for 5 years. And our friends who've been together for 6. And my neighbor who's been with her boyfriend for 4 years. And I could keep going. Truth is, we notice the break ups, crying girls running from a dorm room, and all those other great crash and burn relationships instead of noticing the people that are together and have been for some time. Human beings are tuned to find the drama in a situation and in a couple that's steady, trusts and loves each other, there isn't anything interesting to watch. Instead, people watch the heartbreaks of their friends and take away what NOT to do instead of what TO do.
Wed, 2012-02-01 13:04#11
I could say that I am being
I could say that I was being a bit too immature, when I say that hooks ups are just about the grossest thing I have come across in campus life. I don't know how you are able to look in the face the person you hooked up with a night before and pretend as though nothing ever happened between the two of you. Honestly, I feel I would rather be in a relationship and have sex in that context rather than doing it with a completely random person...that is just really gross. Well, it does satisfy your sexual need but at the same time, when you actually think of it, it does take away just a little bit of dignity from you. I am of the opinion that long term romance is possible and can be achieved in college if at all both parties are committed to making it work. Any relationship does take commitment to work, and that is the basis on which I think any relationship should be built. If you are committed to each other, you will find that you trust each other and that even if you may not spend all day together, you are still confident in the love of your partner because you are in the relationship. Of course, you should find time to spend with your significant other, but sometimes in the college context it may be hard. If you trust in the love of your partner, then it shouldn't be a big deal that your partner splits his time between making it in college, commitment to you and to friends and to many other things. Just accept this part of him/ her, and you will find that even in the busy college life, love can blossom.