College dating offers you a chance to have fun, learn about yourself, and meet some great people, but you'll want to weigh the advantages and potential problems before jumping into the dating scene.
Advantages of College Dating
You're free from the limited selection of your high school and hometown. Depending on the size of your college, there could be several hundred times as many students as at your high school, which translates into several hundred times the potential dates. You're finally going to be able to move beyond the pool of guys or girls you've known since fourth grade. The downside to this is starting from scratch with people you know nothing about, but this also opens up exciting new possibilities.
One of the biggest changes between dating in high school and dating in college is these new relationships take place far form the watchful eyes of parents. College students can date freely according to their own feelings without having to worry, "What will my parents think?" This can mean being more open to dating those of different races, religions and backgrounds. It can also mean never needing to go out with someone just because you want to rebel or prove something to your parents.
However, you don't want to go too far with this new freedom. Just because your parents aren't around to enforce a curfew doesn't mean it's a good idea to spend the night with your boyfriend or girlfriend when you have a midterm the next morning. And sometimes your parents really did know best when a date just wasn't right for you.
Some college students just want to have fun without any commitments while others see college as a chance to find their future spouse. Dating like-minded people can help reduce potential disappointment. Think about which camp you fall into before dating anyone, but don't be surprised to find yourself changing your mind.
One of the greatest dangers of college dating is its potential to distract you from academic matters. However, the same can be said of partying, joining a sorority, or getting a job. If you take everything in moderation and know your priorities, you should be able to enjoy the full college experience, both social and scholarly.
Dealing With Roommates
When you start to date someone in college, there are often other people involved in this potential relationship - your roommates. You'll want to discuss the issue openly before any problems occur. How do your suitemates feel about you boyfriend taking a shower in your shared bathroom? If your girlfriend shows up before you get back from class, is your roommate cool with her hanging around the apartment when he has to leave? Can you negotiate private time without anyone feeling like he or she got kicked out of the room? You'll have more fun and have a less stressful relationship with everyone involved if you can negotiate these potentially troublesome situations.
Facing The Summer
If your dating has turned serious, the arrival of summer can throw a damper on your plans as you and your significant other are thrown to opposite sides of the state or country. It is possible to maintain a long-distance relationship if you're committed to it. Modern technologies certainly make it easier to stay in touch, and with any luck you can plan a few dates throughout the summer. It can be a serious trial though, able to make your relationship stronger or to show you there wasn't much there to begin with.
Alcohol and Dating
Many social activities in college certainly involve alcohol, but if you drink, you need to consider the role of alcohol in your dating life. Drinking can lower your inhibitions and may make you pursue a physical relationship sooner than you otherwise would have or engage in unsafe sex. There is also a greater potential for date rape. If you're passed out drunk, you're not actually able to consent to sex, but unfortunately, some dates don't see it that way. On a non-sexual level, if all of your dates involve drinking, ask whether your dates are really getting to know you in this party atmosphere.
Protecting Your Body
Not every date and relationship has to lead to sex, but if it does, practice safe sex every time. There's nothing quite like an unplanned pregnancy to derail your college education plans, not to mention the pain and discomfort of sexually transmitted diseases.
If you're a female, and you know you're going to be sexually active on a regular basis, you may want to consider birth control pills for an extra level of protection. You'll still need to insist on condoms for protection against STDs. Don't be embarrassed about carrying some in your purse. Your college's health center or the local Planned Parenthood can help you with all your safe sex needs.
College Dating Ideas
Sure you can go for a standard dinner and a movie date, but why not take advantage of the unique opportunities your campus offers while also showing some creativity?
- Make a study date
- Attend a play or concert
- Visit the planetarium
- Attend a lecture from a visiting author or professor
- Go for a moonlit walk around campus
- Visit an art show or museum
- Go ice skating
- Attend a sporting event