You’re finally with that person you’d been checking out semi-weekly in chemistry. They’ve become the only thing that matters. Your friends, interests, and responsibilities aren’t as present in your mind.

In college, we often place too much stock in romantic relationships. Of course, being in a successful relationship requires you to pour in a ton of energy and effort. But are you sourcing energy from the right places?

We can get sucked into the “feels really good” mindset, and if an unbalanced relationship fails, the pillars holding up the rest of your life will come tumbling down. Suddenly, you notice your friends won’t talk to you, your grades are in the tank, and you’ve skipped all those club meetings for the past month.

It’s easy to think you shouldn’t abandon your friends, interests, and responsibilities for your romantic partner, but the novelty of a new relationship has an attractive glimmer that blinds you to the full picture.

A lot of issues might stem from entering a relationship for the wrong reasons.

Your relationship shouldn’t be just to flex on social media. Nor should it be to fix separate problems you have with yourself. And it certainly shouldn’t be a response to pressure from peers.

A relationship should be its own end. And to survive, it needs to be maintained.

Communicate about balance with your partners. Hold them accountable when they sell themselves short of the other important pieces in their lives, too.

Make sure you take time to enjoy things for yourself. Watch movies for content and not background noise. Go for a walk by yourself. Take a bubble bath and sip some red wine.

And make time to spend with your friends. We often take for granted our platonic relationships. We expect them to be there after our relationship turns sour, but we don’t always put the hours in with our friends to make sure that happens.

It can feel needy to rationalize that there are people you want to be with. We should be honest with ourselves about what we need from our friends, so we don’t solely put the burden on our partners.

Friends can’t just be emotional springboards for your relationship issues. Your friends have problems too. Make sure you reciprocate the support they provide. And monitor the health of your friendships the way you would any relationship.

Romantic relationships can be wonderful. And, yeah, they feel great. But they need respect, and — as we often forget — so do the rest of our lives.

 



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