I feel like I don’t spend enough time with my boyfriend. He is always busy, constantly giving me excuses why he can’t do things with me. He is extremely involved with school activities and work, and I know how important these activities are for him. That’s why I feel guilty asking him to neglect these activities to spend time with me. Our relationship is suffering, though, and I miss him. What should I do? ? Forgotten in Fairchild

Independence and commitment are challenging values to integrate for most people, and this is a salient battle during the college years. It is a time in our lives where we are expected to forge our identities through career goals, which will one day lead us to self-sufficiency. It is also a time when we are supposed to connect with people in intimate ways. To know deep down what our authentic values in life are is truly a substantial endeavor, and to find someone with the same authentic values is even more complex.

Don’t get me wrong. Pursuing academic goals and having a successful relationship can work, and it works a lot of the time. It just takes some dedication and efforts toward relationship maintenance.

Maintenance is a necessary component of successful relationships. Spending time with each other is a large part of this. Studies have shown that shared activity ? which includes leisure time, hobbies and interests ? is positively associated with relationship satisfaction and positive relations for both men and women (Acitelli, 1997).

This is often difficult for college students for many reasons. First of all, hardly anyone has the same class schedule, which will often drastically stray from the typical 9 to 5 day. Secondly, once people are done with classes, they need to do about 100 hours of homework. Factor in time to go to the gym and time for special interest activities, and typical college students have little time for themselves, not even just their partners.

Oh yeah, and I am convinced that the designers of dorm room beds were jealous of how much more sex college students were having that they purposely designed the beds to be two inches wide. It is nearly impossible to comfortably spend the night with your partner, taking away even more time together.

But there is a solution to this lack of time. Do things together that you would normally do by yourself. Go to the gym together. Eat together. Study together. Participate in some special interest activities that you both enjoy together.

That may not be enough, though. And while quantity helps, quality of time is even more crucial.

Try to set up exciting activities to do with each other every once in a while. Experiencing fun adventures with each other can only enhance your relationship.

All this being said, it also comes down to how important this relationship is to both you and your partner. If you are a valued part of this guy’s life, he will make time for you. No excuse is good enough for your happiness. ? Joan

Got a love or relationship question that’s literally ? um ? burning? Send it to the love goddess herself, Joan Knihnicki, at love@campustimes.org.

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