Despite the inevitable prepubescent sexual tension and awkward social climate, dating in high school is simple. When you’re 15 and begging your mom to drop you off at the movies to meet the dreamy boy from first period Spanish class, the dating world fits easily into your after-school schedule. The college climate presents a new kind of dating–one of study dates, late night hangs and passing out at midnight on the couch during an episode of Orange is the New Black. After scheduling configurations worthy of an excel spreadsheet, my boyfriend and I achieved a balance that’s kept us from throwing our hands up in the air, screaming and running away. Read these tips to maintain a healthy relationship amidst a college schedule.
Pick a Date Night
Nothing says “mature committed relationship” like picking a day a week to go out on the town. Whether your date night starts at 5 p.m. or 10 p.m., pick a day and time once a week to destroy a $10 box from Pizza Hut in your PJs. That way, when work, school and extracurriculars bog you down and get in the way of weekly plans, your date night remains a beacon of hope during your hectic week.
Control Your Crazy
As the semester continues, life gets complicated. If date night moves from Monday to Thursday one week, don’t take a match to the love letter he wrote you for your birthday last year. Take a deep breath, drink a cup of chamomile tea and chill out. Telling your boyfriend not to go home to visit his sick aunt the weekend you planned to buy him double-meat in his Chipotle burrito bowl will give you a one way ticket back to the single world with only two burrito bowls to your name.
Don’t Equate Quantity with Quality
You both spend 60 percent of your time on campus anyway, so why not meet for a picnic on the lawn between classes? Exchange class schedules so you can meet up and take a stroll through your campus’ scenic routes while updating each other on your day. Settling for these short 20 minute hang sessions doesn’t mean you’re copping out–it means you’re taking what you can get. Trust me, some of the highlights of my day are sitting outside of the library on a study break at midnight, sipping coffee with my man and enjoying his company.
Detach From the Hip
Seriously, a day or two away from each other won’t kill you. You’re not married nor were you born with a conjoined body part, so don’t turn into the girl that ditches her friends as soon as your latest fling turns into your Man Crush Monday. Whether your idea of fun is going to happy hour with the gang or a game night at someone’s apartment, it’s important to stay well rounded so you can have others to vent to when things in your relationship get rocky.
Take Care of Number One
Binge-watch some HGTV, read a new book or chill on social media until your eyes fall out of your head. If your life consists of running between your significant other and class, the lack of me-time will affect not only your mental and social health, but also your relationship. Instead of sleeping at your boyfriend’s every night, stay in one night so the hour before you pass out will be a productive date with yourself. No one wants to be sucked socially dry, so allow yourself time to recharge so you’re ready to make the most of your cherished hang out time.
Read Together to Stay Together
While we know it would be insanely adorable if you convinced your boyfriend to read Harry Potter to you every night before bed, that’s not the point here. No one wants to sit alone in a room and read pretentious college textbooks, so spice it up and read while cuddled in the arms of your stud. You both have reading or studying to get done, so make a date out of it. Every hour, look up from your studies and update your partner on the Instagram you just stalked instead of doing your key terms list. Remember, kids: Procrastination forms the strongest of bonds.
Take Out Your Planner
Spontaneity is great, we get it, but let’s be real: closing your eyes, pointing to place on a map and taking the next flight to an obscure town like Paducah, Kentucky isn’t exactly practical. You’re both too busy and too poor to execute that kind of move. Plan trips and hangouts ahead of time so you can manage your homework and job schedule without having weekly meltdowns about bad time management.
Look Up From Your Phone
It’s a hard concept to grasp, so stay with me here: No one needs a constant texting stream of conversation with his significant other. You barely have time to take in enough oxygen to survive your busy schedule, so put down your iPhone 6+ and be a more productive member of society. When you put down the phone to engage in your life, suddenly you and your partner will have things to say to each other on date night because you didn’t already spill the beans Monday night over a casual text message.
Talk, Talk, Talk About It
Here it is–the all too cliché piece of advice that’s drilled into our heads the second someone opens their mouth about relationships. But at the end of the day, communication will always be the key to a successful relationship at any stage of the game. Even if you don’t know what to say or how to say it, opening up to your partner is always a good thing. Not sure if your plans to knit mittens and drink hot chocolate are still on for your wild Saturday night in? Shoot him a text asking for clarification. Craving a poker night with the guys? Let her know ahead of time. Stay honest, assertive and open, and you and your lover will conquer the insanity of the college lifestyle.