‘What do you want out of college relationships’?

Inside the female perspective

When the topic of college relationships comes up, people tend to make assumptions about what students expect  from relationships. The traditional view of dating is slowly fading away as students enter college.

Dating in college is an experience that many will encounter during their four years in school. People tend to be more sexually active while in college because of the freedom they gain.

Some dating expectations are mutual on both ends. However, women tend to have a different perception of the overall experience.

The first move: The common consensus from women is that men should make the first move. Even though many aspects of dating have changed, the traditional gender roles are commonly represented.

There is a broad range of what college women want out of relationships. Some want hook-ups, while some say they want commitment.

According to data collected by sociologist Paula England from Stanford University, 72 percent of both men and women have hooked up at least once during their time in college.

The ideal places that women on campus go to find people are fraternities and sometimes in class. Either way, there are difficulties based on comfort level. Linfield’s women to men ratio of 3 to 1 makes finding a good match a challenge.

The traditional way of dating still exists within campus, but it becomes rare to find it. Dating is not like it was in high school. Hooking up is more of a common trend among female students. Instead of looking for intimacy, many women look for the next eye-catcher to bring home for the night.

The definition of these two terms changes from person to person. To one female college student, “hooking up” may mean that they make out with a person, while to another, it means that they have sex. Females tend to lean toward the minimum side of these two definitions, while many males believe the opposite.

Respect is one of the main things that female students seem to be looking for in a relationship. The term connects with a variety of other characteristics that many females feel are ideal when trying to start a relationship.

“I think that a girl just wants a guy who will treat her like the world and care for her,” freshman Corcoran Brown said. “Whether that is for a month or the rest of her life.”

Once in a relationship, the hardest part starts, staying in it. In college, it becomes more difficult to maintain relationships, especially those that are long distance or started prior to college.

According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, women are happier in relationships when their significant other expresses empathy.

As dating has evolved, communicating has become a greater issue because it has become less common for students to actually go on dates.

To avoid the pressures of dating, it is becoming more common for girls to just “talk” to a guy instead of putting a label on their relationship. This new way of dating has allowed female students to explore and recognize what exactly they want from a relationship.

There is also the idea that women will meet their future spouse while in college.

“I know it doesn’t happen for everyone, but that belief puts a lot of pressure on people to find their future husband in these four years,” said junior Lori McEwen. “At the same time, many people actually do find someone in college.”

Research by the Institute for American Values, a survey showed that 63 percent of the college women who answered the survey agreed, “I would like to meet my future husband while in college.”

“Everyone is different,” said sophomore Miranda Horne. “Generalizing when you will find your husband is silly.”

Dates do not happen as often while in school. Instead, most people just want to hang out. Girls feel less pressure, but they do wish it would become clearer what guys want out of the relationship.

“I think being focused on finding dates is a distraction from school, freshman Dana Brumley said, “but if you are involved in an exclusive, lasting and healthy relationship, then it can help you grow in school and in yourself because they are a dedicated support-source during stressful times.”

Commitment is the ideal goal for most female students. After realizing that this will be hard to find, women can start to gain a new outlook on dating.

Ivanna Tucker
/Features editor
Ivanna Tucker can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

1 Comment on ‘What do you want out of college relationships’?

  1. College Relationships Counselor // April 23, 2012 at 8:42 am //

    I’m a couples-counselor and relationship expert. Not only do so many college woman want to find their life partner in college, but an increasing number are.

    I was recently shocked to learn that many college couples are taking their relationships very seriously.

    For example, an increasing number of college students are actually getting married while attending college. 7% of all college undergraduate students are married.

    Almost 40% of all female college students are married or have children. The numbers are much greater for students over 25 and these stats will only continue to grow as the sheer number of mature students continues to swell in our troubled economy.

    The question here becomes: is it possible to build and maintain an emotionally healthy long term relationship while attending college or university together?

    Are there proven tips and advice for enhancing and preserving romantic college relationships or are they always destined to fall apart due to things like peer pressure and competing interests and responsibilities ?

    What I’ve learned is that couples in college relationships have to do exactly the same things that couples in non-college relationships have to do, in order to maintain a long term and emotionally healthy relationship.

    For example, effective couple-communication is essential for college couples. But what’s even more critical is the ability to prevent dangerous emotional affairs and sexual cheating through setting up effective relationship boundaries.

    This was a great post, – Thank you!

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