Breaking the Bubble: The Pros and Cons of Off-Campus Dating

Let's get it out of the way and say it, Notre Dame is a bubble. Nestled between the seemingly endless corn fields of Michigan and Indiana, lies South Bend, its neighboring towns and our own little academic safe haven between the lakes. Much like Princeton in New Jersey and Tuscaloosa in Alabama, many would argue that South Bend is synonymous in outsiders' minds with Notre Dame.

We're the first to admit, however, that relations between the Bend and Our Lady's University could be...friendlier. Natives say we're elitist and obnoxious. Domers fear the mythically dangerous and unknown streets of South Bend. Put it all together and you have a strange, mutual disdain coupled with an ironic, inescapable interdependence. 

This aversion towards all things foreign in the local even leaks into social life. (Let's be honest, who goes to Feve on any night besides Thursday? That's what I thought.) Not to mention, gender relations are often so strained, we can hardly fathom dating another Domer, let alone someone who doesn't reside in the bubble, but why? Is the name at the top of the degree really so polarizing that we absolutely can't understand each other? I doubt it. 

Whenever I'm unsure of a decision, I make a pros and cons list, then promtly ignore it and go with my gut. Nevertheless here's a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of dating outside the bubble. 


Sometimes, different is good.

We all know it. Notre Dame is a pretty homogenous campus; with a large portion of the campus coming from similar faith, economic, and geographic origins. And to put it bluntly, sometimes it's boring as hell. College, at least in all of the cheesy rom-coms and teen dramas I watched in early adolescence, is supposed to be about branching out of one's comfort zone and meeting new people. We all wrote about it in admissions essays. Now it's time to live it. 

New people, new you?

There's that old addage that dating someone is basically equivalent to dating their friends. Relationships teach us a lot about ourselves and that's not just because of our dynamic with our SO. Dating someone off-campus means getting to know an entire new group of people, which is terrifying and awesome. Maybe you'll find meaningful friendships outside of your relationship.

Me and my best friend's ex-boyfriend, who's still my good friend (even if it doesn't look like it).   

Having an SO is kinda nice.

Liking someone and having them like you back is one of the best and rarest phenomenons in the world, where you're taking econ doesn't really have anything to do with it. 


That bubble though.

The bubble is difficult to escape and once you do, it may be hard to relate to people who aren't part of it. At first, conversations may seem awkward and forced when you don't have classics like Domerfest and dorm stereotypes to fall back on. 


Because campus is so isolated, everything happens here. Venturing out means dealing with some serious cases of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)It sucks not being in on your friends' inside jokes or passing on events. Dating someone from another campus is pretty much akin to having a long-distance relationship. Both of you will have to make sacrifices, prioritize, and get creative. 


Many of us are hesitant to trust people who come from off-campus, maybe because the culture of our school is exclusive or maybe just because of the security in sameness. The truth is, we can never be sure of who we can trust until it's proven to us, Domer or non-domer.


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