College relationships in a make-or-break society

Being in a relationship during college — a time when students burn the midnight oil with schoolwork while trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives — can be difficult. It can be especially strenuous for those who are not willing to put in the patience and time it takes to nurture a healthy relationship. After eight years spent in the dating pool, I was able to settle down and commit to a relationship. Although it was not difficult for me to transition from being single to taken, I can attest to the difficulty college life brings to a relationship.

Sometimes the pressures and deadlines of a school curriculum are simply too much for a relationship to handle, and students who become involved with each other may be signing up for an inevitable road of frustration and late-night arguments through the phone.

After a spending nearly everyday of summer with my girlfriend, returning to school was more of a shell-shock to me as I did not consider the time apart we would be forced to take. Hours spent studying, doing homework, and balancing out our time with family and friends, took a lot of time out of our relationship and it was difficult not to get frustrated by it.

Other times, getting intimately involved with someone during such a time can be a much-needed-stress reliever as each person involved serves as a beacon of light in all of the darkness.

Santa Monica College students Sandi Garcia and Gustavo Bautista have been in a committed relationship for almost a year, and feel that it has helped them deal with the tribulations of school and other stress factors.

"You have someone you can trust and rely on, and who you know is always going to be there for you," said Garcia, of her relationship with Bautista.

Bautista's favorite part of his relationship is having "someone who you can just be yourself with."

"You don't have to hide anything and you can show them who you really are," said Bautista. "They accept you like that."

Relationships in college definitely have their pros and cons, but it is essential for a person to understand what he or she is getting themselves into, and that they make sure the relationship is handled with care and respect.

Too many times these days, males regard their girlfriends as pieces of trash or nothing but servants, in what some would call a male-dominated system. Within my own family, I have witnessed mental and physical abuse from a husband towards his wife and I loathe any male who feels inclined to a cowardly standard of machismo stupidity.

It baffles me as to why males and females choose to stay in an abusive relationship when they spend most of the time crying to their friends about how unhappy they are.

Catherine Matheson, a psychology professor at SMC, attributes the choices that females and males make to discovering a sense of identity within themselves.

"You're trying to figure out who you are as an individual and where you belong in terms of groups," said Matheson.

She emphasized that forming intimate relationships helps determine different aspects of a person's personality such as sexual orientation and recognizing the kind of personalities a person enjoys being around.

The biggest fear that any person has when choosing to settle down, is rejection.

"We are building our self-concept and self image and rejection is going to hurt that," Matheson said. "You take a hit when someone is not interested in you and you think you might be interested in them."

Although, If students allow their self-esteem to be continuously bruised, then it has no real purpose but to serve as a punching bag to an individual ready to to abuse them.

Men and women have to understand that a commitment means your partner is your priority. Remaining in a relationship for a long period of time is not a ticket to become complacent with someone, as if they will be there forever.

Partners need to treat each other like no one else in the world matters more. You should open doors, go on dates and strive to treat each other during your relationship the same way you did on the first date.

Cheating, lies, secrets, and mistreatment, have no place in a commitment. There will be ups and there will be downs, but there should always be a sense of respect and care applied to a relationship.

With the world we live in now, it has gotten increasingly harder to maintain dignity in a relationship. If two people are willing to take the risk for the reward, then they should be ready to respect their relationship, whether it is for two weeks, or the rest of their lives.