College Relationships Roadmap


A guide to navigating college relationships

Georgia Davis / Culture Editor

Relationships Illustration


Relationships change in college. Some people are more committed when it comes to looking for a serious relationship, and others just want to have fun.

Whether you’re starting your first year of college single and ready to mingle or in a long-term relationship, here are some of the relationships you might encounter in your four years — and some tips on how to navigate them.

The long-distance relationship: You and your high school partner will no longer be in the same place. If you’re used to spending a lot of time with your significant other, that is about to change. Find a way to spice up the relationship with your partner.

If you’re missing your boyfriend or girlfriend, try not to wallow and shut yourself in your dorm room — that will just make you more lonely. Find a few close friends and hang out with them. It’s important to integrate yourself into college and to find out who you are.

The high school couple that came to college together: You all know one — they chose the same college so they could sustain their relationship. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be near your high school partner. College is a time when people change, which can present some challenges for couples who go to the same university. You have to be willing to accept the changes that are to come. If you can grow with your partner, the better off your relationship will be.

If you’re coming to Ohio University with your high school sweetheart, make sure you can spend time away from each other. Form different friend groups and make time for them. That will make spending time with them so much sweeter.

The one-night stand: Some people might encounter it for their first time in college. You’re out on Court Street, you meet a really nice person and you hook up. Maybe you had a great time with the person, but you decide that it’s better as a one-time thing. That’s OK, but it can be a little awkward if you see them walking around on campus or if they happen to be in your class the next semester.

Don’t fret. It will only be awkward if you make it awkward. You don’t have to go out of your way to talk to them, but don’t drop a class just because that person is in your 200-person lecture. You can acknowledge the person’s presence without giving off an impression of wanting to hook up with them again.  

Friends with benefits: College is a time to try new things and to grow. Most people don’t want to get in a committed relationship because they don’t know where they will be after college. That is where friends with benefits can be an alternative to dating — you have all of the perks of a friendship, and you can also have your desires met.

Friends with benefits only works if you and your partner talk about what you want and make sure all boundaries are clear. They are first and foremost your friend, and you should treat each other as such. The relationship can get messy if one person decides they want more than “no strings attached.” The key to a successful friends with benefits situation is making sure you’re on the same page at all times.

The key to navigating any relationship is open communication. If both people talk about what they want and how to work problems out, the relationship can be successful and healthy.

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Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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