Parkin: Pros and Cons of College Dating


Happy couple embracing at sunset in the nature

By Natalie Parkin

Young adults know the struggle of dating in college. With all of the other activities, jobs and stressors in our lives, not many of us have the time or the energy to think about relationships. Ironically, even though the U’s campus is filled with over 30,000 students, successful college relationships are rare and difficult to maintain.

Although some do find relationships, most of them don’t last for very long. Rarely does a relationship in college last longer than a few months. Paths change quickly and breakups happen frequently in college, and I believe most can agree that — frankly — breakups stink. This led me to wonder if relationships in college, beyond a one-night stand, are a good thing to do. Here are just some of the pros and cons of being in a serious relationship in college.


You have someone to go “home” to. Most college students live on campus and very far away from their families and their parents. This can create homesickness, not just during freshman year, but frequently throughout college. By having a significant other, you have someone who remains constant in your life (to a certain degree) and someone you can feel safe and comfortable with.

Long-term relationships improve mental health for women and physical health for men. According to an editorial published in the student British Medical Journal, these benefits increase over time in a relationship.

People in committed relationships have a lower production of stress hormones. According to a study from University of Chicago researchers, being in a committed relationship (married or not) decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


Friends get pushed to the side. While in a relationship, it’s easy to spend all of your free time with your partner and forget about your friends. As a result, if and when a breakup occurs, the friends that got pushed to the side may not come around. It is healthy to spend time away from your significant other and spend time with the friends who want to have a good time with you without the seriousness of a relationship.

The thrill of the chase is lost. Everyone loves the feeling of being chased or chasing someone of interest. Once you are in a serious relationship, that excitement of flirting and the “game” is gone. For most people you can say goodbye to teasing at the bars, texting multiple people and random dates meant to impress. 

Personal studies and education get set on the back burner. Once you’re in a relationship, free time and focus can get redirected toward your partner and away from other responsibilities you might have. Assignments and projects that you used to take more time on are given less attention due to nights out, dates and — let’s be honest — just hanging out. When you’re in a relationship your desire to avoid letting the one you love down grows stronger and sacrificing schoolwork to make them happy can seem like it’s worth the consequences.