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Sex + Relationships

Stick With It, or Call It Quits? What to Do about Relationships at the End of the Semester

It’s been a long semester, and you’re ready for warm weather, days by the pool, nights with friends, and a possible job or internship. Most importantly, the end of the year means no more books to read, professors to meet, or tests to take! What about that new guy you started hanging out with this past semester though? Just because finals are over doesn’t mean your relationship has to be. Not sure if you should break things off and see where the summer takes you, or hold onto your significant other? Her Campus has you covered with some simple signs geared towards making summer that much more relaxing.

Call it quits if distance could be an issue.

Look to the stars for this one. While some super-celeb couples like R-Patz and Kristen Stewart make their relationship work with jam-packed schedules, distance became a huge problem for other famous couples like Katy Perry and Russell Brand. Keep geographical separation in mind when deciding whether or not you want to remain in a relationship over the summer.

If the two of you live in the same area or close enough to make daytrips or the occasional weekend visit possible, you probably don’t have a lot to worry about. Making a weekend trip home from your internship site in NYC to a nearby state to visit your significant other is easy, but going from NYC to Minneapolis is a bit more of a stretch. Similarly, the drive from a campus located in a major city where you’re taking summer classes to a town a few hours away is an easy distance to swallow, but classes located a state or two away from your guy is a little harder to work with.

If one or the both of you is leaving for an internship or summer job, or you just live far apart from one another, you might want to think about the possible effect the miles between the two of you could have on your relationship, especially if it’s a newer one.

Realize that being too far away for frequent visits also means you could spend a significant amount of your free time talking on the phone, texting, or messaging one another, activities that could make you miss out on activities or other fun things your summer has to offer.

Stick with it if you’ll both be interested and uncommitted in the fall.

If you’re fairly certain both of you are happy with what you see in one another and feel as if you’d be able to pick up where you left things once school resumes in the fall, then go for it! Dr. Karen Ruskin, a relationship and mental health expert says a relationship might be worth sticking with through the summer “if you believe you want a future with him and you think he feels the same way about you by his words and actions.”

If your summer plans include you working all summer at Girl Scout camp, it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to be swimming in potential date time. If you’re in a similar scenario where you’ll be busy or spending the summer without much hope for a date, it might be a good idea to talk to your guy about continuing things over the summer.

Obviously no one expects you to whip out a crystal ball or consult tarot cards to predict what your feelings will be like in a few months, but if you don’t see yourself becoming interested in anyone else and are willing to remain dedicated and stick by whatever terms the two of you lay out for a summer relationship, it’s definitely worth a shot.

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Call it quits if there’s an ex in the picture.

Your guy plans to spend the summer as a lifeguard at the local pool? Awesome – except for the fact his ex shares lifeguard duties with him! Same goes for the cutie you’ve met that’s spending his summer in the lab with his former flame handing him test tubes and jotting down experiment notes.

Obviously there are other factors to take into consideration here, (How recent was their relationship? Do they keep in touch regularly? How will you stay in contact with your guy?) but in the end, it all boils down to trust. If you trust your partner to stay faithful and be honest with you about what he’s up to over the summer, proceed with caution. If you’re still feeling a little uncomfortable with the situation, figure out how to gracefully bring it up between the two of you before it becomes a source of tension in your relationship.

If yours is a newer relationship however, or your guy has a history of flirting, hooking up with, or cheating on past flings, definitely stop and think twice about the situation before you embark on a potential summer of heartbreak.

Stick with it if you’re looking for the same things in a relationship.

Dr. Ruskin suggests a relationship could be worth sticking with over the summer “if you grow as an individual while with this person and enjoy who you are as a relational being.” She says if a relationship is “made up of mutual respect, equality, trust, communication and freedom,” then you probably have something pretty good going for you.

This might also be a good idea if you’re picky about what you want in a relationship or look for a specific trait not every guy will have. Says Kristen Pye, a sophomore at McGill University, “If I can talk to someone about a research paper I’m writing on the duplicitous nature of vision in artistic production through a filter of Kantian and Lockean comparative philosophy… they’re probably worth at least five dates. Intellect is all!”

Dr. Ruskin also says the five qualities of a healthy relationship listed above can overcome common obstacles like distance. “Just because you are not able to see each other over the summer, have different schedules or are long distance, this is not necessarily an indicator that you should not make it work nor is it an indicator you should,” she explains. “Consider the above five factors to help guide your decision because if all five or some of the five are a reality, then whether you get to see each other over the summer in and of itself is not the deciding factor.”

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Call it quits if he seems at all hesitant or things seem forced.

Hopefully, you and your partner have talked about what your summers will look like and have started discussing where your relationship stands as summer looms closer and closer. If he’s being hesitant in these discussions, is unclear about what he’ll be doing over the summer or where he’ll be, seems uninterested in discussing it, or refuses to participate at all, alarm bells should be going off in your mind.

Think about where the two of you stand as a couple as well. If you started hanging out with a large group of friends or have mostly been going to “dates” at parties or as part of a group, are you sure this is someone you really want to be in a serious, steady relationship with over the summer?

Dr. Ruskin also cautions collegiettes to refrain from pushing too hard to make a relationship work. “Do not force the couple to be together out of fear of losing each other,” she advises. Make sure you’re not just looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons, either. Just like any other relationship you’re in, don’t cling to someone solely because you don’t want to be the only singleton, there’s pressure from friends or family to be with a certain person, or you display other signs of an unhealthy relationship.

This is one of those situations where you just need to go with your gut. All cheesiness aside, let your feelings guide your decision-making. If something doesn’t feel right or something seems off about your significant other’s behavior, don’t ignore it or write those feelings off out of fear of losing your partner or being alone over the summer.

Stick with it if summer means you’ll have more time for the relationship.

Your schedule is jam-packed with meetings, classes, tests, papers, quizzes, girls’ nights and about a million other commitments. Sound like your calendar? If you or your partner maintains a super busy schedule, summer could be a great time to re-connect and strengthen your relationship. Dr. Ruskin agrees, and says “the summer could be a time to grow the relationship if that is what you both want to do and your schedules allow.” Take some time this summer to connect with that special someone if you’re interested in staying together.

Be cautious though: schedules can swing both ways. Dr. Ruskin explains, “Do be aware that if your schedules and interests over the summer do not support the growth of a relationship, then keep it casual or open.”

If you’re going to be spending your days running around Capitol Hill for an internship and attending different networking functions and events in the evenings while your guy is busy picking up shifts at his own job, lack of time to talk and catch up could easily become a source of stress for the two of you, making a relationship a precarious thing.

Think twice if you’re weighing the pros and cons.

Mike Domitrz, a relationship expert and author of several books on dating and marriage offers some sage advice for those mulling over a potential summer relationship. “If you are asking ‘IF’ you should make a new relationship work over the summer, you may already know the answer. The fact you are asking early in the relationship whether you should stay in it may be a sign you are not committed to the effort necessary to make the relationship work,” he advises.

A decision like this isn’t one you’ll be able to make right away. It’s also probably not a decision with a clear-cut answer. But don’t let distance be the only thing standing in your way.

Make sure to talk things over with your significant other, and figure out what you both are looking for in a relationship and where yours is headed. With time, an answer the both of you can feel comfortable with will undoubtedly surface, making your summer even more relaxing.
 

Sydney is a junior double majoring in Media and Cultural Studies and Political Science at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., a short trip away from Minneapolis, her hometown. When Sydney is not producing content for a variety of platforms, she enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, reading, and indulging in a smoothie or tea from Caribou Coffee, the MN-based version of Starbucks.
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