You’re waiting to take the elevator to your dorm room when suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you notice a guy standing outside the building, fumbling around for his keys. Recognizing him right away, you grab the door and smile shyly — he’s that cute guy you’ve bumped into in the laundry room/dining hall/lobby, the one you’ve been dying to talk to but haven’t had the proper chance to do so. And now, here’s that moment you’ve been waiting for.
After riding the elevator together for six floors (which goes by so much quicker with him than it does when you’re alone or with awkward strangers), you realize you have more than just your location in common, and you decide to exchange numbers. Several chance encounters and a few planned ones later, he finally asks you out on a real date, and you couldn’t be happier. Not only does he seem to have every trait you could possibly want in a boyfriend, but he also lives in your building. How lucky, right?!
Unfortunately, the extreme proximity that dorm rooms provide can be a detriment to some college relationships. My friend Jen has blogged about the dangers of U-hauling before — that is, the phenomenon of the relationship moving too quickly. Although her blog entry focuses specifically on GLBT couples, I’ve found U-hauling to be very real among heterosexual couples as well, especially those in college.
College relationships are extremely accelerated compared to relationships in high school or post-college. — Tweet this!
Now more than ever, I find that many of my friends in relationships tend to spend half of their nights in their significant others’ apartments, and they spend the other nights with their significant others at their own apartments. They study together, they do laundry together, they shop for groceries together. Certain milestones one might expect from a relationship, such as Meeting the Parents, don’t occur at their own pace anymore; instead, you end up meeting your boyfriend’s parents whenever they come up to visit, even if you’ve only been dating for a few weeks.
Suddenly, people fall into predictable patterns and start to act like they have been dating for years. Twenty-year-olds begin to resemble middle-aged couples who are bored but comfortable with the same daily mundane tasks. Even though you don’t live together, it certainly feels like you do — and any illusion of romance or mystery is gone.
I know this might seem like a bleak outlook on relationships, but things can certainly turn out this way if you aren’t careful. Don’t disregard dating someone just because they live close by, but make sure you maintain some distance in the beginning so you don’t get sick of each other too quickly.