Not only does college present an opportunity to make lots of new friends, it is also a place where romantic relationships flourish. Although some beginning college students are married or are already in long-term committed relationships, others might have their first serious romance with someone they meet on campus. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, you might find it much easier to meet romantic partners in college than you ever have before. Whatever your sexual orientation, you’ll have many opportunities; some students will sample lots of different choices, and others will settle in with just one person. Either way, you’ll grow and learn a great deal about yourself and those with whom you become involved. If you are seriously thinking about marriage or a long-term commitment, consider this fact: Studies show that the younger you are, the lower are your odds of a successful marriage. Also, a “trial marriage” or living together does not necessarily decrease your risk of later divorce. It is important not to marry before both you and your partner are certain about who you are and what you want in life. Many eighteen- to twenty-year-olds change their outlook and life goals drastically as they get older, which can negatively affect a romantic relationship.
Breaking up is hard, but if it’s time to end a relationship, do it cleanly and calmly. Explain your feelings and talk them out. If you don’t get a mature reaction, take the high road; don’t join someone else in the mud. If you decide to reunite after a trial separation, be sure that enough time has passed for you to evaluate the situation effectively. If things fail a second time, you might need to move on.
If your partner breaks up with you, you might find yourself sad, angry, or even depressed. If your partner breaks up with you online or you learn about an imminent breakup through instant messaging, social networking Web sites, or blog postings, ask to discuss the matter over the phone or in person. Almost everyone has been rejected or “dumped” at one time or another. Let some time pass, be open to emotional support from your friends and your family, and, if necessary, pay a visit to your college counselor or a chaplain. These skilled professionals have assisted many students through similar experiences, and they can be there for you as well. Bookstores and your library will also have good information on the topic of surviving a breakup.
It is never wise to become romantically involved with your professor or someone who works above or for you. Many of these relationships end in a breakup. Imagine how you would feel if your ex, who might be hurt or bitter or even want you back, still had control over your grades or your job! If you date a subordinate and the relationship ends, you might find yourself being accused of sexual harassment, fired, or sued. Even dating coworkers is risky; it will be much harder to heal from a breakup if you must continue to work together.