Relationships Unraveled

This past weekend, my three best friends from high school decided to road trip up to Hanover to pay me a visit. Within no time, one of them posed a much-debated question: What are Dartmouth relationships really like?

Halfway through my time here, my perspective has certainly evolved. Freshman Fall I arrived wide-eyed and eager to find my “Prince Charming.” With so many eligible bachelors full of raging hormones, how hard could it be?

It soon became apparent, though, that an overwhelmingly large percentage of Dartmouth’s male population was interested in just three things playing pong, bro-ing out and getting laid. Between those three extracurriculars, there didn’t seem to be much time left for taking girls out on real dates or even getting to know them outside of frat basements.

Many of my guy friends seemed to run into similar problems I heard countless complaints about girls who seemed interested them on Friday night, only to ignore them at FoCo the next day.

And so, last summer, I decided I was done looking for love. After all, relationships at Dartmouth are impossible, right?

Little did I know, I would fall head over heels with my current boyfriend during my first weekend back in September. My experience over the past two years has given me a new perspective on college hook-ups, dating and everything in between.

So back to my friend’s question what are Dartmouth relationships like? After two years in Hanover, here’s what I’ve come up with: Many Dartmouth students simply have no interest in relationships. Whether they’d rather bro out, focus on athletics or just hook up with different people each weekend, trying to force a relationship with someone who isn’t ready to commit is a losing battle. Relationships are two-way streets and if they’re going to be successful, both people need to be willing to put in the time and effort. There are decent people out there sometimes it just takes a little while to find them. Even if your first couple crushes have turned out like mine did my first now has a steady boyfriend, another spent Valentine’s Day with his ex-girlfriend even though we were supposedly dating that doesn’t mean you should give up. If nothing else, the next two years navigating the Dartmouth dating world are sure to produce some good stories. It’s possible to live an independent life while in a serious relationship. Everyone knows those couples who seem to be attached at the hip. They sit together at Collis every day, walk arm-in-arm to class and huddle over a single computer on FFB. If that’s what you’re looking for, go for it. But just because you find someone who makes you happy doesn’t mean you have to give up your sense of self. Strong relationships can survive the D-plan. Maybe you’re freaking out because you’ll be saving children in Africa during the Fall and your other half is interning in DC all Winter. While long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone, it is possible to make them work. As long as both people are honest with each other, truly want to make the relationship work, trust one another and accept thay it won’t be a piece of cake, a strong relationship can withstand mismatched D-plans. But what about all the talk regarding “the X-factor?” Do girls really become less desirable as they progress through their Dartmouth careers while guys climb up the social ladder? There’s no doubt that there’s some truth behind this I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cringe every time I see one of my guy friends stalking the ’14 Facebook group. Yet I truly believe that it’s possible to defy this stereotype with confidence and a positive attitude. I know plenty of freshmen guys self-assured enough to hold table in any basement. And as long as upperclassmen girls make sure to counter all that beer with a couple trips to the gym, they might end up just as sought-after as the wide-eyed first-years (not to mention wiser and much less annoying).

What are Dartmouth relationships like? I guess it depends on who you ask. What I can say for sure is that you shouldn’t let a couple of bad experiences get you down. After all, you have two more years to find that special someone or at least a companion to snuggle with and share a breakfast burrito with at the Hop the next morning.

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