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Is College the Death of Relationships?

Man with girlfriend checking out another girl

By Karlie Mickanuik

Relationships ending at the start of new semesters is a common theme for students. It is normal to hear endless stories about how couples that had plans to get married ended things over the semester break.

According to a study done by Campus Explorer, the most common times for students to end their relationship are spring break, summer vacation and right before winter break. Many college students simply correlate the start of a school semester with the end of relationships.

The stress of going to a new school, homework assignments and eventually finals can take a toll on a relationship. Schedules become more difficult to align if the person you are dating becomes very busy with their course load.

Many couples attend different schools and some may even be in completely different cities. These are all possible reasons why couples will break up.

Caren Anderson is a registered social worker at NAIT. She explains the reasons for breakups in school can be more complicated than it may seem at first.

“There are times that relationships will end [because of going back to school] and sometimes they can be a little more complex than meets the eye,” said Anderson.

She went on to say that school is not the reason couples break up. It may simply be a catalyst to pre-existing problems in a relationship and cause the breakup to happen sooner.

Having less time, more work and no communication with your partner can create conflict in the relationship and these factors all increase with school starting again. Any problems that could be creeping up in a relationship are often brought to light in times of stress.

Anderson said staying connected with your partner can become more difficult during the school year because of distance. Long distance relationships take more work and are very different compared to a couple who can be around each other more often. Anderson explains that long distance relationships use technology to their advantage to stay in touch. However, technology can become a problem of itself in a relationship.

“As much as, yes, it can be helpful to FaceTime all the time, it can also be challenging to feel like you are always having to respond to a text or an email and if someone is not then there is maybe some insecurity there,” said Anderson.

Couples studying at the same school are not clear either as school work often becomes a priority in many students lives and couples can naturally drift apart.

“People are juggling different demands and there may be stressors for school that couples may be taking out on one another that can create even more difficulties if people are close together,” said Anderson.

Anderson says putting in extra effort, setting up date nights and planning a special time with your partner is a way to combat getting caught up in school. She also stated that reaching out to friends and finding something that makes you happy is a good way to feel better after a break up.

She also added not to jump into another relationship as there is a natural grieving process to leaving a relationship.

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