Relationship or single-life in college. Which is better?

November 9, 2017

I've been dating someone for the first time and it's serious enough that I can envision staying with them for a long time. On the other hand, though, I worry that in the future I may regret not dating more people in college and experimenting to see what I truly want from a relationship. How do I reconcile my happiness with my current relationship with my doubt?


 

Hi there!
First off let my start by saying that your happiness with your current relationship should not be understated. While I agree that many people experiment in their college years to gain a better understanding of what they want from a relationship, I think that your current relationship is only as serious as you make it and therefore you still have some flexibility to experiment without completely giving up what you already have. Also, I think that a large proportion of people find what they want in a relationship without actively “experimenting,” but instead learn more about relationships from the highs and lows that come with each one.
Good luck!
Simran
 

Hello hello! I'm glad you're able to see yourself with this person in the long run. To start off, both the single and taken lives are amazing and each have its pros and cons. Before you read my answer, I would like to kindly ask yourself these questions, "Why am I asking that question? Am I fully happy with the situation that I am in? Do you understand yourself well enough to be confident in saying that you know what you want in a relationship? Is your current relationship just a piece of that journey of yours in finding "the one"?
 
First and foremost, I don't think it would be healthy in the future to have to reconcile your happiness with your current relationship. This statement already sounds like you are not completely happy. I might be completely wrong, but I would want to think that people want happiness in their current relationships.
 
However, here are some things I can reassure you of: 
  1. Your feeling of doubt in your relationship and wonder about the single life/dating around is normal, but only to the extent that you understand how much your current relationship means to you. 
  2. Dating can be fun and exciting especially when you're in your peak years! By all means, take advantage of this. You're only in your 20s for a decade, so make the most of it, the way you want to of course.
  3. Your feelings and thoughts are normal. You might just need to take some time to really think hard about your next actions. 
If you broke up with your current partner, they will survive and and certainly will you. It may be difficult and painful, but if your own happiness is at risk, then you need to do something about this. I am typically not an advocator for selfishness, but when it comes to personal growth, improvement, and understanding, I think it is okay to put yourself first. I mean, are you really "happy" if your source of happiness if the relationship or your partner? Are you really happy if the relationship doesn't allow for enough of happiness to come through? Yes, you might feel happy in your relationship, but if you're having doubts and you think staying in a relationship may hinder that, I think you should ponder on your situation. I also want to add, (this may or may not be relevant to your predicament) don't allow the feeling of guilt to force you to stay in a relationship. Think carefully and address your doubts in a timely manner. 
 
Ultimately, you are the decision maker. What you want in life, from a relationship, and from others is important. Pay attention to your feelings and wants. Do you need to meet others because you feel like you are missing out? Or is this a want of yours?
 
Goodluck! 
Angela
 
 
I think it is good that you are starting to think about the direction of your relationship. It is perfectly normal to question the value of your relationship and whether you might be “missing out” on other relationships. 
 
I agree that dating multiple people can give you a feel for what sorts of people you resonate with, and what sorts of values are most important for you. But I also think that this realization isn’t only achieved by dating multiple people! I think you can still see what you truly want from a relationship through the person you are dating now. A relationship with someone is not just one way or the other. It constantly molds and adjusts, and with that you will start to develop an idea about what you value in a relationship: what works, what doesn’t. You can learn so much about yourself and what you want with just one relationship. 
 
Also, keep in mind that relationships are very strongly influenced by two things: place and time. What you want from a relationship can/ will change over time. So I would not worry and look too much into the future at this stage. Although this matter can definitely rise again when you have indeed spent a long time with your partner, I think you should instead just enjoy the present time with your partner. And know that it is okay for relationships to come and fade. You cannot plan a relationship to develop and end on a set date, and when to form a new one. Personally, I would recommend just go with what makes you happy at this present moment, and do not think too much about not dating more people in college. In theory, one great relationship is enough! 
 
That is just my two cents: ultimately, though, you are the one who knows best. If you begin to realize with time that your doubts exceed your current happiness, it is totally okay to back away from your current relationship, and take the time to experiment with other relationships, like you said. College is meant to explore yourself in many aspects, and taking this time off might help you become more grounded and ready for the next relationship.
 
Best, 
​David