Tips for Creating and Sustaining Relationships in College

The expectations of hookup culture can lead to problematic behaviors in relationships, like expectations of sex and non-exclusivity, which can be hard to break.

The expectation of hookup culture in college can also make people who are in relationships feel judged. Katie is in a long-distance relationship with her partner of almost a year, and she says people often look down on her or say she is doing something wrong for staying in the relationship, thinking she should be single in college instead.

However, Katie has realized “it’s important to stay true to you and be honest with yourself. And if you’re happy in a relationship, you can still be very fulfilled with your college experience.”

The prevalence of hookup culture can also make it difficult for some students to find meaningful, serious relationships in the first place. “There is this tendency for people to not want to put a label on things because that might make it seem so serious or put too much pressure on a relationship. There’s not really any in between,” Danielle says.

Psychotherapist Tess Brigham agrees. She says hookups can feel like the only form of intimacy available for college students, especially when hooking up has become a common way to begin serious relationships.

Overall, it’s best to participate in hookup culture in whatever way makes you most comfortable. Brigham says hookup culture can provide people an outlet to explore their developing sexuality in a lower pressure environment, but if it makes you uncomfortable that is okay too.

“Do what you want and participate as you would like because people are going to be judgmental no matter what,” Claire says. “You should do what makes you happiest, and it works for some people and it doesn’t work for others.”

With the whirlwind of being a college student, it can be hard to find time to focus on building healthy relationships. Here are some tips to make it work

Put Yourself Out There

While college may provide you with constant opportunities to meet new people, connections don’t form overnight. “In order to make things happen or to seek out relationships you need to be willing to put yourself out there a little bit more to either stand out or take initiative with people,” Danielle says.

This can be hard, so try to be open to meeting new people and say yes to new opportunities, even as you get more comfortable on campus. Simply doing things you enjoy will make it easier to search for like minded people. For example, you can join a new club, or partner with someone new in your favorite class-you never know when you will hit it off with someone.

Establish Priorities

Prioritizing time with the people you care about is an important part of maintaining relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic.

For Gail, this looks like blocking out time for both her partner and her friends. Nick agrees, saying “just making it a priority to hang out is a really big deal because it’s really easy to just get lost in the different work you have to do.”

“There are some days where you have to prioritize your relationship and there’s some days where it has to come second. You just have to understand that’s okay, and that there are other people in our lives and other things in our lives that are also important. I think maintaining that balance is really hard, but at the same time, it’s so important,” Katie says.


Communication is the bedrock of a healthy relationship, especially in college where things are changing turkisk kvinnor gifter sig each day. “Be honest and open from the beginning,” Dr. Marsh says. “Regular communication is key.”