Going Steady: How to Decide If You Want to Date Someone Exclusively

Dating someone exclusively in this day and age is a huge commitment. At my university, almost everyone I know is insanely busy — most of my friends are involved in different organizations, sports, Greek life, part-time jobs, partying every weekend, balancing a social life with friends, all on top of having a 12-20+ unit course load. How could you have any time to give to one particular person, much less the effort it takes to be a dedicated girlfriend/boyfriend? So when you decide that you want to date one person exclusively, you make a huge time, emotional, and loyalty commitment. If you’re seriously considering going steady with someone, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you get Facebook official.

  1. Do you have the time? More importantly, are you willing to make time? A relationship isn’t an organism or a living thing like people make it out to be. All it really is is how you feel about a person, how you treat them, and the quantity and quality of time you spend together. Are you willing to set aside a reasonable amount of hours weekly (or however much time you agree to be together) to connect with this person? If you know you’re too busy and can’t or don’t want to allot time for this person, then don’t make the commitment. If you do want to spend your time with her/him, then go for it!
  2. Is your heart in it? Don’t even start it if you’re not willing to put in 100% of your effort. Don’t waste her time if you know you won’t feel like talking to her, going out of your way to show her you care, or being considerate of her feelings.
  3. Do you see this relationship lasting for longer than 3 months? What’s the point in agreeing to put in the time and effort it takes to be in a relationship, if you don’t see this relationship going anywhere? Some people see relationships as a trial run for marriage, so why waste your time and commitment on someone you don’t see yourself with in the long run? Your youth will pass you by more quickly than you think, and you might as well not waste any of it pursuing a person you don’t take seriously.
  4. Are you willing to be with her, and her alone (or him)? If there’s a part of you that still longs for hookups or feels like you’re making a huge sacrifice by giving up the single life, do not get into a relationship. It isn’t fair for your prospective partner if you still want to play the field. Be a decent person and be honest about your feelings — it’s better to admit that you aren’t ready for a relationship than get her hopes up and let her down later when you finally admit you want to be with other people.

I have a love/hate relationship with relationships. I love having a partner and getting the cute jittery butterflies feeling that comes with relationships; it’s one of the most magical feelings in the world. But I also hate the hurt, jealousy, suspicion, and heartbreak that can come with relationships; they’re the most painful feelings I’ve ever experienced. If you decide that the answer to all those questions is yes, then don’t think about the negatives that come with relationships. You owe it to yourself to take a chance on love, so do it. It’s better to live life taking risks on what you think will make you happy, than living a life full of regret and missed opportunities.

“‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all” –Alfred Lord Tennyson


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