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Five College Relationship Mistakes you Might be Making

December 20th, 2007 admin


You probably don’t know that I got married when I was 21, just before starting my senior year of college (unless you’ve made it to my About page). That said, I have to admit that I had a lot of “ups and downs” dating during college—I made a lot of mistakes, went on some bad (and a few VERY bad) dates, and I spent my first two years of college single.

Now, I’m pretty sure most of you aren’t ready to get married, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to have a successful dating life. So here is my bare-all list of the biggest relationship mistakes I made, and why you should avoid them:

1. Don’t Date your Friends’ Ex. Seems like common sense, right? But it can be tempting! About six months after breaking up with my first boyfriend, I started dating my friend’s ex-boyfriend on the rebound. I asked her permission first, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt her and make her uncomfortable. Four years later I’m not on speaking terms with the guy, and I’ve had to rebuild bonds with my friend. Trust me, it really is a bad idea, just like everybody says it is.

2. Don’t Hope Someone in a Relationship Will Break it Off for You. When I was a freshman, a junior guy in my history class started flirting with me. He told me his girlfriend was studying abroad, and that they were “having problems.” The big clue here (which I missed)—he still had a girlfriend. If he was really unhappy, he would have broken up with her already—before he started asking me on study dates. We never went out, but I ended up just feeling stupid for even spending time studying with him.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Do the Asking. I probably would have dated a lot more if I had been brave enough to ask a guy out. Unfortunately, after a bad date in high school, I promised myself that I would never ask a guy out again—I would just wait until someone asked me. (Ironically, the only guy I asked out after that high school date ended up becoming my husband. Haha).

4. Don’t Judge Yourself Against other People. This is really, really hard to do, but having strong self confidence is important if you want to date fun, interesting people–like attracts like. So if your roommate goes out on tons of dates and you don’t, remember that it doesn’t mean anything about you. And if (ahem) one of your dates brings you home after only an hour and a half, make the most of it—go out with your friends and enjoy the rest of the evening!

5. Don’t Give In on Your “Value Rules.” Everyone has a different set of “value rules” for the people they date. For example, I don’t drink, so I decided not to date anyone who did. Of course just before I met my now-husband, this very charming guy who drank almost every night asked me out—and I almost went. I actually said yes and then canceled at the last minute. It wasn’t so much because he drank that I didn’t want to date him, but because he didn’t understand and respect why I didn’t drink—his inability to understand my values would have made it difficult to have a good relationship with him.

Well, now you know all the things I try not to talk about when I mention dating in college. I’ve had a lot of good dating experiences, too, but I really learned the most from the bad ones. The real question is which big mistakes I’ve missed in this post—care to share your thoughts? I’ll add the best ones to a later post.

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Photo: brunopp

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aubrey Keen  |  May 4th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I like your website, but I am a little confused by what perspective you can reasonably offer on relationships. You said you were single your first two years of college, but then got married after your third year in college? Assuming you started your relationship with your now-husband right at the beginning of your junior year, that still gave you less than a year together before getting married. Call me oldfashioned, but that is jumping into things. Besides that, my older cousin, who is now 32, has given me a lot of great relationship advice, and one of the key things she stressed was not to get married right out of college, even if you are in a great relationship in college. She said you change so much in your first 5 years out of college, it is really a shame to miss out on that time for personal growth and dating outside the “bubble” of college, when you are balancing a career and more real life. And because you change so much during that time, people can grow apart. She said now she is really seeing all the “perfect” couples she knew in college who got married right out of college separating and getting divorced. Maybe for this topic you could have a guest writer with a different perspective, having dated after college, write a piece to accompany yours.

  • 2. Jamie  |  May 11th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    @ Aubrey: That is a great question. Though I didn’t have a serious boyfriend in college until I met my now-husband, I did date around before him, and had two long-term relationships in high school (one year and two years). I definitely don’t think that makes me an expert, but the things in this article shares what I learned throughout my entire dating career.

    I’m glad you have someone to turn to for advice, and it sounds like your cousin wants to help you have strong healthy relationships. I agree with you (and her) that marriage is not something you should enter into lightly, at all, and my husband and I certainly did not. I can tell you from experience that it is very fulfilling but it also takes work–especially to grow together as a couple as you change instead of growing apart. Like most big decisions in life, it is very personal, and what might work well for one person would be horrible for another.

    I hope this answers your questions! And thank you for the suggestion about a guest writer!

  • 3. “Experience is the &hellip  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 10:09 am

    […] going to be easy, but there is help out there to make it a little easier. Who said you can’t survive college; It just takes listening, hard work, love, care, and responsibility. Dont forget about the useful […]

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