Dear College Magazine,
My boyfriend and I have been having issues for a while. How do I know if it's time to pull the plug or not?
--Not Sure About This Relationship
Dear Not Sure About This Relationship,
Living in close quarters, balancing a busy schedule and dealing with the stress of classes and extracurriculars make college relationships a confusing roller coaster of ups and downs. It’s normal for your relationship not to be perfect – no relationship is. But where do we draw the line between healthy, everyday issues, and dysfunction? How do you know when your relationship has lost the spark that will keep you together?
1. FIGHTING. “Part of what pushed us to finally end it was the fact that we were fighting constantly,” said Julie Rollins, a sophomore at the University of Michigan. “Throughout our relationship, we fought occasionally and would make up soon after, but it got to the point where we were fighting almost every day.”
Arguments can be healthy but when they’re happening too often, it can have a negative effect on a relationship. This is especially true in college, where late-night, booze-fueled brawls are commonplace.
“We used to get in arguments at parties over small misunderstandings,” said Rollins. “Things that never would have bothered us if we were sober, but that made us ridiculously emotional after a few drinks.” Plus, it’s hard to make up the next day when neither of you remember why the fight started to begin with. “It created a lot of tension that we soon realized was unfixable,” Rollins admitted.
2. LACK OF SPACE. When you live on the same campus at someone, it’s easy to want to spend time together every day, but too much couple time can also cause a relationship to suffer. Amanda Nelson, a Junior at Northeastern, said, “My ex and I spent almost every waking moment together, mostly because it was easy and we could, but after a while we just started getting bored with each other.”
3. GETTING BORED. A lack of mystery can suck the excitement out of a relationship, and when you’ve got hours of homework and commitments on your plate, you need excitement to stay interested. “Things just became too routine,” said Nelson. “We just fell out of love with each other after a while.” If you’ve been feeling bored with your guy or girl for some time, it might be time to rethink things.
4. DESIRE TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE. Boredom in a relationship can also lead to a wandering eye. Maybe you’ve been eyeing that cutie who sits next to you in your evening lecture. Maybe you’ve caught yourself accidentally flirting with strangers at bars. Shopping around while in a relationship is normal – to an extent. But if you’ve noticed that your heart races at the thought of another person, it might be time to rethink the situation you’re in and free yourself up for the other person who’s been on your mind.
But just because your relationship has been on the rocks doesn’t mean things have to end for good. “For my boyfriend and I, the breakup was the right choice at the time,” said Rollins. “We needed the space to remember why we were together to begin with. Four months later, we’re back together and as happy as we’ve ever been.” Sometimes, breaking it off with your beau doesn’t mean cutting ties altogether – it’s a way to regain perspective, discover what needs fixing and give each other space. The time spent apart could be the best choice the two of you have ever made.
Photos taken from magforwomen.com and michellesgotsomethingtosay.wordpress.com