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Dating 101: What To Expect When Dating A College Athlete

Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work”.

Relationships can be far from perfect, as we all know. However, one of the greatest components that allows a good relationship to thrive, is establishing a strong communication between both parties. Though, in some cases, it can be more difficult to find that common ground, especially when those involved in the relationship live different lifestyles. This is definitely the case in student-athlete relationships, where their passion to perfect their craft will ultimately become a top priority in their life’s schedule.

Being in a 2 year relationship with a student athlete myself, I can say firsthand, it can be a lot to get accustomed to. However, when you’re in love with your best friend, you learn to grow with them, and even learn a few things about yourself along the journey. 

Here are some expectations to look forward to when pursuing that relationship with a student athlete, as well as some things they may look for from you as a partner.

Their Craft Is The Ultimate Priority

As mentioned before, an athlete will seek any opportunity to perfect their craft, as it is one of their top priorities. This is not to give the impression that they will not care about you, or you will be forgotten about. Though, a lot does come with this notion. Their schedule will definitely be tight, and they may not always have such open availability compared to you (depending on your individual circumstances, of course). For instance, if you ask him to go out on a date, when he has an opportunity to advance in his career, he will try to prioritize the training first. This does not mean that he doesn’t want to do these things with you, rather, if they have any opportunity to prioritize their goal or career, they will go by legitimate means of doing so. They want to spend time with you and do these kinds of things, but given the restrictions in availability, it can be difficult to do quite often as we would like. Though, if they truly care about you, they will make time (i.e. if he wants to, he will). 

Adjusting to this takes much understanding and patience. In any relationship, we should want our significant other to be successful in what they are passionate about. A way to find common grounds with this is to sit down and have a conversation with your partner. Establish an understanding of what your partner’s schedule looks like, such as how often he practices, when he goes to the gym, games, and so forth. This way, both partners establish expectations of what is soon to come, and can work together to find that time to spend with each other. This was one of the most difficult challenges for me to adjust to in my relationship, for while I love to spend time with my man 24/7, I have to understand that he will be busy, and have a lot of tiring late nights. It’s a high priority for them, so the best move moving forward is to be as supportive and understanding as you can. 

You Will Be Travelling

One of the many fun parts of being in a relationship with an athlete is, of course, going to the games! Your man will have a lot of games at his college and other colleges in the state (or in some instances, out of state). I say all this to say, you will be TRAVELLING honey. Trust me, by the end of this year, I will practically have been to almost every city in Pennsylvania. Don’t get me started with the amount of times you may have to stop at the gas station. Though, it is definitely a great experience to watch your partner be so invested in what he loves, especially sitting in the bleachers. You’ll even find yourself standing up, cheering, and going crazy for your boo when he gets to play!

Another important point to remember, is that there will be times where you may not be able to make it to the game. THIS IS OKAY. Just like how you understand their priorities, your partner should be understanding enough that you have your own life priorities to tend to as well. Do not beat yourself up or think of yourself as any less supportive just because you can’t be there in person. Send him a paragraph wishing him luck on his game, telling him how much you love him (if you are at that stage in your relationship), and are proud of what they will accomplish. When the game is over, give him a call and talk about it with him! These are little things they will greatly appreciate, as it shows that whether you are present or not, you are still supportive of his goals no matter what. 

Whether the Team Wins or Loses, Be A Great Support System

Being partners with a student athlete, along with relationships in general, requires you to be a great support system, in any emotional aspect. When the team wins, celebrate! Congratulate him on his success. Maybe take him to get something to eat after working up an appetite, and you can even treat him to some dessert once you guys are home ;) . These are moments that are very special and important to your boo, and they’ll definitely be glad to share them with you. Be engaged and cherish the moment!

On the contrary, commonly amongst athletes, when they lose, they will definitely become a bit quieter than usual. Most times it’s because they are reflecting on what they can improve on as a teammate, and individually as a player. This, in most cases, can lead to a lot of overthinking, and insecurities will begin to overcome their emotions. The best thing that they need in that moment, is for you to just be there. Listen to them vent, remind them of their strong points throughout the game, and their talents as a player in general. Encourage them to keep working hard in their career, and remind them that you are proud of them, no matter what the outcome may be. Sometimes, they may not want to talk, so remind them that you are here to support them in any way that best suits them, and if they ever want to talk, you are all ears (and obviously mean it, too!). Giving an appropriate amount of space in scenarios like this is also something I’m learning to overcome, as I can be quite clingy. Doing so establishes boundaries in the relationship, and can let you learn to pull back in a healthy manner. When they are ready, they will bounce back. Just give it time. They always do!

So, what do you think?

As we can see, student-athlete relationships are not easy sometimes. They require great dedication and communication between the two involved. These expectations are based on personal experiences I’ve lived and learned through in my own current relationship. It has definitely helped us grow to where we are today, and I couldn’t be happier with my love. Remember, every relationship differs depending on who is in it, so always do what is best for you and your partner. As for those who have their eyes set on a basketball cutie, I hope these expectations provide some insight on what it is like to pursue a relationship with a student athlete. 

dancer | 21 instagram: thee.blkbrat twitter: blk.dynasty
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