​Finally! You’ve moved on from petty high school dating into the more mature, more free world of college relationships. Many people even find their spouses in college!

But whoa, step on the brakes. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Relationships are more than what you see in childhood fairytales, especially at this point in your life. Now that you’re out on your own (for the most part) and can make your own decisions, making the right choices in your romantic relationships can spell success and happiness for the both of you.

1. Make Time for You
Ah, the honeymoon phase—the time when you and your significant other want to spend every waking moment with one another, from the moment you wake to the moment you pass out from the amount of love you have for one another. And now that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, you have plenty of freedom to see your loved one as you please.

While time together can build upon a relationship and help you to get to know your partner, time apart can be just as important. Now that you have an established relationship, you don’t have to worry about spending every second with one another. While you may want to see your “number one” all day every day, the hard truth is, you may get sick of one another! Everyone needs their own time, and making room for quality time with you, yourself, and your favorite hobbies will help to make each moment you and your partner share more meaningful.

2. Make Time for Your Friends
Just as you need time for yourself, you also need time for your friends! Guys/Girls’ nights are more valuable than you may think. If you and your significant other are having a bit of trouble, your friends can give you new perspectives and advice that is free of emotional interference. Having bonds outside of your romantic relationships is important, as these are the people that can support you if your relationship ends up not working out. Remember, these are the people who have stuck with you through thick and thin, and people like that are hard to find. Make time to bond with other people and expand your social horizons!

3. Choose Your Battles Wisely
It’s inevitable—at some point in your relationship, you and your partner will get into an argument of some sort. Whether these problems are major or minor, there are bound to be things that you both disagree on. Arguments—while stressful and sometimes the cause of breakups—are a good indicator that you are both comfortable enough with one another that you can express your own opinions. However, this doesn’t provide any support for petty arguments.

Here’s an example: You and your significant other are going out for dinner. Your significant other suggests Chinese food. You have told them over and over again that you don’t like Chinese food, and you are insulted that they forgot. You suggest something you know they hate, and the issue bubbles over into a larger argument about how your partner “doesn’t even know you at all.”

Seems a bit on the ridiculous side, right? Arguments like this occur all the time in couple situations, but they can be avoided if you keep a level head and make a simple decision: is this issue worth the fight? Some things are worth bringing up and arguing for or against, but petty issues should be left behind. Why cause extra tension?

These are only a few basic tips, but in the grand scheme of things, they can make a relationship run smoothly. College is an experience that shouldn’t be wasted, so having rational priorities is key. In order to make a relationship work, you have to put in some work. The effort is definitely worth it in the end!

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