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Sex + Relationships

How to Decide Whether to Continue Your High School Relationship as You Enter College

Second semester senior year and the following summer is arguably one of the best and most stress-free periods in the lives of young adults. For the first time in twelve years, you have little to no academic responsibility, your parents are starting to loosen up and treat you like an adult, and the air is constantly filled with feelings of excitement and anticipation. Summer is a flurry of parties and beach trips and sunburns and suntans, and you have the time of your life (at least for a while). Despite the fun and freedom, however, the impending start to your first year of college still looms. You’re beyond excited, but one concern plagues your mind: Do I stay with my partner? Here are three questions to ask yourself before making a decision: 

#1: Do I truly like (or love, if you’re there!) my partner?

Although this one seems obvious, it’s often overlooked. If you’ve been with someone for long enough, having this person in your life may feel like a routine. It’s also possible that you’ve been staying with your partner to maintain an image, to feel better about yourself, or to feel less lonely. While those are all completely reasonable insecurities everyone has, if you believe that you are staying with this person for the wrong reasons, now would be the best time to take action. This is an opportunity to gently part ways by using the transition to college as an excuse.

Photo by Derick Santos from Pexels
 #2: How do I plan to conduct myself around others?

While it is no mystery that hook-up culture is most pervasive on college campuses, whether you choose to or would like to participate is completely up to you. This is a judgment-free zone, so if getting the “full” college experience in this way is important to you, then go for it! It would be healthier for both sides to end things on a good note before your first year starts, rather than making a mistake that would lead to a permanent lack of trust. 

#3: Do I trust my partner?

Trust and effective communication go hand in hand and are the pillars of a strong relationship. Whether you and your partner attend the same college or different ones, both of you are going to be around new people in new situations. The new people the two of you hang around can very possibly make the other person either uncomfortable or insecure. If you can trust your partner and talk about difficult topics, you will be able to resolve most issues. It may be best to opt out of the relationship before your first year if it lacks a solid foundation of trust and communication.

sad girl in blue sweater near window
Anthony Tran

Answer these three questions truthfully to yourself when you are making your decision. Regardless of what you end up choosing, make sure to prioritize your own health, both mental and physical, above all else. In the moment, it may be difficult to follow through on whatever you decide, but in the long-run, you will come out stronger, healthier, and happier.

Manya Zhao

UC Berkeley '24

Manya Zhao is a freshman at U.C. Berkeley studying psych on the premed track. This is her first time exploring journalism, but she's devoted large portions of time to writing creative nonfiction and short stories in the past. Besides writing, you can find Manya reading, cooking, or binge-watching Friends for the thousandth time.
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