The feedback that I’ve had on my column has been mostly positive, which is heartwarming, but I’ve realized that I have spent the bulk of the last few weeks writing for the singleton looking for love, sex and everything in between. I in no way regret this decision, and as a singleton myself I think that we do need a little attention every now and then. But I also think I’ve done a disservice by neglecting a huge segment of the student population: The couples.
This isn’t because I hate being in relationships — it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s just difficult to give advice to people who are already considered lottery winners.
Being in a relationship is quite simply the best feeling in the world, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either kidding themselves or has never been in one. Yes, I believe that you need to be happy on your own before you’re happy with someone else, and no, I don’t think that you need to actively pursue being with someone — anyone — just for the sake of being in a relationship. But when it finally happens with the right person, love can make a believer out of anyone.
So how does one even maintain a successful relationship in college? Well, there’s no one answer. But these four tips will certainly set you well on your way.
Time, After Time
Though ’SC can sometimes feel like the best vacation ever, the bulk of us have more work and extra-curriculars than the average American adult. Greek life, crew team, engineering club — it often seems we’re everywhere at once, which is great for our resumes but horrible for our relationships.
When you’ve decided to take the plunge and date that special someone, it’s important to block out time for them. Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. Most of us barely have enough time to sleep and stay sane, let alone take someone out on a date or give them a backrub at the end of the night.
Ambition is sexy, and the fact that you have your own thing going on is probably a turn-on for your counterpart, but spending even a little bit of time with them is imperative. Try scheduling a date night at least once a week. During this time, turn off the phone — an almost impossible feat for myself — and spend time being just you two. Whether it’s going out to dinner or even staying in and watching TV, it’s of utmost importance that you make time for each other.
Now don’t mistake “spend time with each other,” for “spend every moment together.” There’s nothing more annoying and vomit-inducing than that couple who can’t spend a second apart. Come on, codependence is so not sexy.
The biggest mistake that most college students make in relationships is thinking that because you don’t have mommy and daddy breathing down your neck, sleepovers every night are awesome. Trust me, nothing is worse for your sanity or theirs. You need to know how to sleep in a bed alone. You need to be able to apply your acne cream every now and then. You need to be able to hang out with your actual roommate.
Instead, decide what nights you are going to go to their place and what nights he or she is going to come to yours. My favorite method is the two-two-three rule. You spend two nights a week at their place, they spend two nights a week at yours, and you each spend three nights by yourself. That way, you still get to spend time with them without feeling like you’re going to go crazy.
Just Shut Up and Take It
This might be a hard pill for some to swallow: While in a fight, if you feel like the argument is getting nowhere whatsoever, just lie down and wag your tail. Seriously, I know it might be difficult to back down from your opinion, but if this fight is a stalemate, it’s honestly easier just to give it to the other person.
What do I mean by this? Well, let’s say your significant other wants to go to the ballet. You hate ballet. What are you going to do? Go to the ballet. And you don’t just go, you smile, and you act like it’s the greatest thing since Halo was released. You love this person, so do what makes them happy.
Your significant other could be clearly in the wrong, but if you’re hurting their feelings, stop doing it no matter what. Just grin and take it — it’s a lot easier than trying to painfully hash it out in an argument that’s going absolutely nowhere.
Forever and Always
I often get asked by those in relationships what my quintessential piece of advice is, and I always quote Will Smith, which hopefully doesn’t make me lose any credibility: “What I found is divorce just can’t be an option.”
Think about it: If you take breaking up out of the equation, you will always be willing to work through whatever problems might arise. Of course, the larger issues like cheating and dangerous drug addictions might cause you to reevaluate, but if you both believe you’re in it for the long haul, you will want to solve the little problems without the fear of the other walking away.
So buckle up and realize that usually nothing is too big to fix. Look at the other person and remember why you wanted to be in a relationship with them to begin with. Sure, it was mostly because you didn’t want them boinking other people. But it was also because you admire, respect and can’t get enough of them. They’re your best friend and lover, and you’re in it for keeps.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in critical studies. Her column “Lovegame” runs Thursdays.