10 Tips for Dating in College

By Mackenzie •  Updated: 01/31/21 •  9 min read

College is such an exciting time in your life! This is a time that will only come once. It’s a very special time, when you also meet some very special people. In fact, you can end up with friends and significant others who will be with you for the rest of life’s journey!

In this article, we’re going to review some tips that can help you navigate dating in college. There are some fundamental rules to remember before becoming romantically involved. These tips are to help you have a healthy relationship with your special someone in college.


1). Manage Your Time

When you become involved with another person, it’s really challenging to stay on track with work and studies. Think of how crowded and crazy your days are rushing from class to class, going out with friends, working, and more.

So, be sure to schedule your time for study and work. These are important parts of your time at college. Then remember to balance your studies and work with time spent with friends, and your significant other. It’s not easy, and you’ll need to develop some great time management skills. But you can do it!

Another point is that you’ll need to respect one another’s schedules. If not, then you could start the blame game (see point number 6). And if the other person is so demanding and not understanding of your schedule, then this means it’s time to end that relationship. Don’t be hesitant to move on. Life is short and you need and deserve someone who will understand that you can’t spend all your time with them each and every day. That’s simply not healthy.


2). Give Each Other Some Space

Time apart is just as important as time spent together. Think of the whirlwind of activities you have each week. You have classes, clubs, meetings, homework, and more. Alone time is essential to a healthy relationship with yourself, as well as your significant other.

Don’t ever hesitate to let your special friend know you need a little alone time. If they don’t like that, then it may be time to say goodbye to that relationship.

3). Remember to Find Yourself First

When you’re in a relationship, it’s sometimes tempting to try to be everything the other person wants you to be. However, if that’s not the real you, then the two of you will eventually figure this out. Your relationship can’t be happy.

So, find yourself first. Know who you are and don’t be afraid to let the real you out in the relationship. Learn what makes you happy, then look for a relationship where you can be true to yourself.


4). Keep Dates Simple

Most college students aren’t rolling in money. For that reason, don’t expect your date to take you to the most expensive places in town! If he offers, then go. But don’t expect this on a regular basis.

Dates can be almost anything. Taking a walk in the park, enjoying the sun at the beach, and more. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to go out and spend time together. So, look for creative ways to spend time with your significant other. See if they’re open to these ideas and don’t force them to try ideas they may not be comfortable with.

5). Compromise

Our last statement was a great precursor to this point! Remember that in a relationship, it’s not just about having your own way all the time. Instead, be open to your special friend’s ideas and suggestions. This way, you both have healthy input into the relationship. Isn’t it more fun to have new experiences and learn what the other person enjoys?

And remember that compromise should also work in your direction. If the other person is always dictating what you should do, then it may be time to have a talk together. If they’re not open to compromising, then they may be a person who likes to be in control all the time. In that case, it’s best to end the relationship. The last thing you need is a controlling significant other.


6). Avoid the Blame Game

When you’re doing thing together as a couple, it’s easy to end up playing the blame game if something doesn’t go right. Either of you may uses phrases such as “You never do this,” “You never say this,” “You always do that.” These are huge red flags that the relationship is on rocky ground.

Instead of blaming, try to use “I” statements. This type of statement makes you take responsibility for what you’re thinking and feeling and keeps you from blaming others. You can still be assertive, without being hostile.

With “I” statements, you need to avoid words that may come across as emotions. Here are a couple of examples of what we mean:

“I felt lonely when you didn’t come have dinner with me.”

“When you don’t pay attention to me, I feel disconnected and lonely.”

These are statements that can help you find learn your true feelings, without ignoring them. You take responsibility for them, but also let the other person know how you feel. This is a much better way to communicate issues with your significant other.

7). Respect One Another’s Views

When you go to college, you suddenly find yourself adrift in a sea of differing views and perspectives. That’s OK! This is part of what college is all about! When you start dating, remember that you may find that this new person in your life may have differing viewpoints on some things. This is normal in a healthy relationship.

The goal here is to respect the other’s viewpoints without losing sight of your own viewpoints and personality. This is where you compromise but stay true to yourself.

That can be quite a balancing act, and sometimes there’s a tendency to want to fit with the other person so much that you repress your own viewpoints and take on theirs instead. This never works, because eventually your true self will come out.

So, always stay true to yourself but remember to respect your partner’s views, too. And they should respect your views, as well.

Learn to live with your differences and even appreciate them. That’s easier said than done, we understand. However, your significant other should be someone who is a bit of a challenge. What we mean is that they may have some interests and ideas that don’t completely match your own. In fact, for a healthy relationship, you do need to have some things in common, but not everything.

Your significant other can’t be an identical copy of yourself with the exact same likes, dislikes, viewpoints, and more. So, try to appreciate one another’s differences as much as you celebrate what you have in common. And remember to always respect one another’s views and differences.

8). Don’t Talk About Your Ex

One of the worst things you can do in a relationship is talk about your ex and/or compared your current partner to your ex. Never, ever do this. It’s a sure way to kill off any relationship!

Avoid talking about past relationships, ex-friends, and more. And remember to avoid comparing your current partner with any you’ve had in the past. It’s just not good for a healthy relationship.

If you do have things from the past you need to talk about, then it might be a good idea to see if there’s a counselor on campus who can help you deal with feelings, issues, and more from the past. You’ll be a better person for it and save your relationship at the same time.

9). Control Jealousy

Jealousy has a negative effect on a relationship, and it can appear in many different ways. For instance, maybe you’re jealous that your special friend has to do lab work with an attractive person. You may fear they will leave you for this new person, when in reality that may not be the case. But you still may develop feelings of jealousy of the time they work together, etc.

Be sure to talk with your significant other about your feelings. This isn’t easy, but it needs to be done in order to clear the air. Explain what’s causing the jealousy, without being accusatory. After you two talk, it may be necessary to come up with some ground rules or behaviors that make you both feel better in the relationship.

It’s important to avoid accusations when you’re dealing with jealous feelings. In fact, being accusatory can lead the other person to not want to talk at all. So, avoid using any words or language that are accusing your partner. Instead, stay calm and use the “I” statements we mentioned earlier in the article.


10). Keep Your Standards High

What does this mean? It means figure out what you want/need in a partner, and then stick to those standards. Don’t compromise. Stay true to yourself, who are you, and what you need. Otherwise, your relationship could turn out badly for you both.

It’s tempting to fall into a relationship in college. Why not? Everyone else is doing it. It’s also expected. However, you don’t have to go along and do what’s expected or be the same as everyone else on campus. No. That will not work in your life over the long-haul.

Don’t be tempted to have a relationship just because that’s what you think you need or want. Loneliness can be dealt with in other ways. For example, there are always a ton of clubs available, events, and more to meet people and make new friends. Don’t be in a rush to get into a relationship.

If the right person comes along, that’s OK! Go for it and enjoy! But never lower your standards when it comes to dating. Never force anything. Being single’s not so bad!

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Mackenzie is a freelance writer with over ten years of experience writing on all things weddings. She received her BA in English from the University of California in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing about weddings, Mackenzie enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 kids (twin boys) exploring the beautiful California countryside. While in nature, she captures picturesque images of mountain lakes, the beach, and more. Mackenzie is also a pet parent to two Siamese cats. She appreciates their individuality and the fact they pretty independent. But they love to snuggle at the end of day, which is one of the things Mackenzie enjoys in the evenings to relax after a busy day at work.