November 12, 2019

Absence Really Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

posted on: Thursday February 18, 2010

Viviana Garcia ’12 / Commentary Staff

Upon visiting the sites of various online college newspapers, one theme stands out: The toll the college environment has taken on dating.

From observing the dating culture both here and elsewhere, and after a few dating experiences of my own, I can say that one of our greatest challenges is dealing with the unnatural college bubble in which we live. Recently, I’ve taken notice to the positive aspects of long-distance relationships because I think there are a few elements that we can incorporate in our own on-campus dating scene, especially the aspect of space.

It’s easy to get carried away when you’ve found that one person who makes your heart skip a beat every time you see them, that consumes your mind in the midst of your assigned Descartes reading, and makes you jump a little and blush at the sight of an incoming text or inbox message on Facebook. Those are all wonderfully natural feelings that everyone should experience when embarking on the possibility of a new relationship. College, however, creates an environment that facilitates feelings to run wild (and not in a healthy way).

You might have heard the term, “mini-marriage” when your friends describe the relationship of another mutual friend or perhaps your own. Primarily, this applies to those who spend every free moment with their special someone and compromise time with their friends, extra-curricular activities, and some might even argue, their very personality. Without having parents to hold you to certain standards, a curfew to abide by, and many other societal norms that you might find when you’re back home, there is an endless realm of possibilities where everyday might be a misadventure in figuring out how to make this work. Some might ask, where is the harm in signing up for that extra class together, studying for six hours at the library, then heading over to the dining hall to meet your mutual friends for dinner, followed perhaps by a viewing of your favorite show?

It’s not hard to get bogged down by the immediate: the boy/girl in your Civ class, the one who is somewhat stalking you, and the endless texts from a certain someone. What we should implement into our dating scene that long-distance relationships already incorporate is to take things slow in order for the both of you to keep perspective on what is important at the present time, while still maintaining your goals without compromising valuable time.

The phrase, “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” is one that has stood the test of time. No matter what generation you resonate with, this is one of those little slivers of wisdom that you don’t want to discard. Granted, it’s tough to practice on a campus where even though you don’t literally live together, that’s what it feels like. You can’t really escape each other, especially given the size of most liberal arts schools, but if it’s something you want to test out, you definitely can find ways to make it work. The important thing to keep in mind is that, if you don’t see each other one day, it’s not the end of the world. On the contrary, it might just be exactly what you need. Trust after all is the foundation to every relationship. Therefore, if you feel like that might be one of the things lacking, it might not be the right time nor the right person to be investing your time in.

A relationship out of convenience and utility is never the answer, usually because it ends in much suffering when the other person doesn’t live up to your expectations. Wasted time is the worst feeling, which is why, if you know something isn’t working out, drop it fast and move on. Don’t engage in a relationship if from the get go you can’t see a future, but your justifying it by telling yourself that at least you have someone to talk to your friends about, or someone to accompany you to class and go out on dates with.

The person who is right for you will always have your best interest at heart and will take into account that you’re here to receive the best education possible and to graduate. Therefore, the both of you can support each other through this time. There is no reason to rush things — if it’s right, it will be right now and in the next few years.

The person who is right for you will always have your best interest at heart and will take into account that you’re here to receive the best education possible and graduate. Therefore, the both of you can support each other through this time. There is no reason to rush things, if it’s right, it will be right now and in the next few years.College is about playing it smart, both academically and in relationships. Space also allows for fewer regrets in the future. We have to keep in mind that college flies by, four years is not an eternity, it’s eight semesters that disappear in the blink of an eye and a few years from now it won’t matter who you asked out, the rejections you might have faced, and the relationships that didn’t work out. What is going to matter are the people you decided to associate with, your closest friends, the classes you chose, the grades you got, and the activities you decided to partake in. If a long-lasting relationship emerged from amidst all of the above, that’s icing on the cake.

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