College students should multi-date

Dating and relationships are an overconsumption of emotional notions and a frustration for most college students.There are ways to gain more positivity from dating and being in relationships when prioritizing values and goals. While in college, life appears to revolve around relationships, whether it be with family members, peers or professors, relationships always have a significant impact on college students.

Pretending to listen to the entire life story of a person you cannot see a future with is discouraging when trying to find "the one." However, that sense of frustration actually helps assess important values.

Darryl-Keith Ogata, a Santa Monica College communication studies professor, believes that many students do not have the time to commit to a relationship while they are committed to their education.

"If you ask the people who focus on their education and delay romantic involvements, they don't feel they missed out on anything," Ogata said.

However, among students, it is common to choose to date more than one person at a time in hopes of finding that special someone.

"I think you have to make sure your studies are your number one focus, [but] I think it's [also] fine to date," said Jenn Berman from VH1's show "Couple's Therapy." "Part of what you're supposed to do developmentally during the college years is to start to have experiences with intimate relationships."

As long as honesty is not forgotten and sexual intimacy is carefully considered, while casually dating multiple people, taking interest in more than one person is perfectly acceptable and a smart way to manage time.

Meghan Laslocky, author of "The Little Book of Heartbreak," suggested that students who are unsure if they want to commit, and do not have time, should not commit.

"I think I was often spending too long or too much energy on someone who just wasn't right for me," she said.

Naturally, while trying to connect and spend quality time with someone, compatibility is determined. Depending on how the party feels, one can then discuss with the other person whether to be exclusive or to move on in a respectful manner as long as no one is hurt.

"I think it's fine to date more than one person until you have that conversation where one agrees to be exclusive," Berman said. "I think it actually should be assumed that everyone is dating other people until that conversation happens."

With that said, practicing safe sex is important when dating multiple people. It is best to decide not to have sex with someone until that conversation to be mutually exclusive happens, since sex always makes relationships more complicated.

"Doing things where you don't keep yourself safe, putting yourself in dangerous situations, not practicing safe sex, not being honest with people about your level of monogamy with them and others qualifies as unhealthy casual dating," Berman said.

Students should keep in mind that a committed relationship is often more work than casually dating a number of people. Prioritizing education while at a transfer college like SMC is more important than feeling responsible for another person's happiness.

Statistically speaking, 60 percent of underexposed partners who choose marriage in their early 20s file for divorce, according to Berman.

"Most people don't know themselves that well in their 20s, or at least not well enough, to know what they're going to want in their 30s, 40s and 50s."

There are no long-term benefits in investing time and energy into an humdrum relationship while in college. Students should take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about themselves while investing energy into things that are productive.