Love in Transition: Moving a Relationship from H.S. to College

In high school, I fell in love. My boyfriend and I seemed to be the “perfect” couple, the envy of all our single friends. We never fought, loved each other’s families, and supported each other through thick and thin. Then, just last year, he and I were faced with an extremely difficult decision. All of our college acceptance letters were in, and the time had come to choose our future school. Despite our parents’ words of warning, we decided to attend the same university and live in the same group of freshman dorms. We were positive that we would make it through the transition and continue our normal routine, despite the drastic change in environment. What we didn’t realize was how difficult it is to nourish a relationship during the first year of college. While we did stay together for the entirety of our freshman year, we broke up within days of returning home for the summer.

Attending the same university as our significant other was a challenge that my boyfriend and I were unprepared for. Had we done things a little differently during our first year away from home, we might still be together. My advice to anyone who decides to be with a high school sweetheart at the same college is to be aware of a few common mistakes young lovers tend to make, and how to best prevent them.

1.    “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends”

I cannot stress how important it is to make your own group of friends, apart from those of your significant other. Sure, introduce your boyfriend or girlfriend to your new group of college friends, but try not to hang out with only one group of people when you are together. If you hang out with all the same people, your relationship becomes intermingled with the dynamics of the group. Instead, it’s better to keep your relationship separate from the group, so you don’t have to worry about whose side friends will take in an argument. And, in case something does happen and you and your partner are unable to stay together, you have a loyal, unwavering support system to turn to.

2.    Mi Casa es su Casa?

Never underestimate the importance of having your own space. In high school, you probably saw your significant other at school or hung out on the weekends, but didn’t spend every waking minute with him or her. This shouldn’t change once you get to college. No matter how much you love someone, you will need some privacy and alone time. Also, while it’s okay to invite your boyfriend or girlfriend over to your room  (and vice versa), you must remember that it is just as much the roommates’ room, and they probably aren’t too fond of having a frequent guest in their closet-sized living space. So, limit the amount of time you spend together in the dorms. And, if possible, live in separate dorms far away from each other. That way, you won’t see each other too much and it will be more special when you do.

3.    Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

 I’ve learned that, in college, it became increasingly easy to argue with my boyfriend. About everything. About what he said or didn’t say at the party last night, about how much time he has or hasn’t spent with me lately, about what we were going to do on a date, etc. It was difficult to go even a day without some sort of disagreement. You will both be under a lot of stress in this new environment, and the more you argue, the more distant you will become from each other. Therefore, try not to argue about everything under the sun. Most likely, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter anyway.

Lastly, remember that sometimes relationships just don’t work, period. If you are both genuinely working to keep the relationship afloat and are finding it difficult, it may be time for a break-up. If done properly, there’s no reason you cannot still be friends. Don’t hang on to something that makes you miserable or stressed. College is a time to be carefree, have fun, and explore who you are.  The last thing that should be adding stress to your life is a relationship with someone you love.

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Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

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