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The real dangers of college dating

College relationships come and go, lasting anywhere from a few nights to a few years. Some people find their soulmates, while some merely find a person to spend time with. But, no matter the future potential, most college relationships are fleeting. Few people consider all of the possibilities when entering a relationship, especially the possibility of being abused.

We all know someone who has been in a ‘bad relationship,’ or someone who ‘just isn’t treated right.’ We have all witnessed arguments, been shoulders to cry on or helped someone recover after a bad break up. It rarely occurs to the average college student that they or their friend may be being abused.

Recently, the news has been splattered with pictures and stories covering the alleged physical violence occurring in Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship. Violence against women and violence in relationships has become the new hot topic, suddenly becoming an important cause to fight against again.

Sadly, abusive relationships are not merely limited to celebrities. Being in an abusive relationship is not only constituted by physical violence, it rather encompasses a wide range of behaviors.

According to womenshealth.gov, one can be abused physically, psychologically and emotionally through means of verbal and physical interaction. Though physical abuse is generally more apparent and easily identifiable, this is not always the most common form of abuse in relationships, especially college relationships.

Abuse may start with something as simple as one partner being distrusting of the other, starting to accuse them of being unfaithful or constantly monitoring what the other is doing. If one partner starts to be more controlling over the other’s activities, spending habits or friends, it could be a sign that there is not an equal level of power or respect in the relationship, two things that can lead to the success or failure of any relationship.

We have all seen our friends yell at each other or observed their erratic behavior when in a bad relationship, but we rarely consider what goes on behind closed doors.

Paired with the use of alcohol or drugs, any relationship can turn very sour if one of the individuals gains more control over the other. What may start out as a few heated arguments, checking text messages and calls or one partner blaming the other for their problems, may very well turn into stalking, being forced to have sex, being hit or having things like beer bottles thrown at you.

Many people, females especially, are willing to write-off some of the clear signs of abuse as a one-time thing, give the partner another chance or worse, are naïve upon entering a relationship, repeating the ever popular motto, “it’s not going to happen to me.” Abuse can happen to anyone at any age, of any race or social class, and it does not always result in a black eye.

Young people especially need to be more aware of the dangers of abuse, no matter how well they think they know their partner.

There are few feelings more powerful than young love, yet it is one of the downfalls that blinds people into believing that they are untouchable, that the person they fell in love with will never change, never do anything to hurt them.

Just because someone is super attractive, pays close attention to you and treats you like you are the only person on earth at first does not mean that they will necessarily remain that way forever.

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March 4, 2009 Posted by | Dating, Online Dating, Relationships | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Students make long-distance romances work

In March, for the first time in four months, Amanda Huddleston will be able to hug her boyfriend.

Huddleston, Kansas City, Kan., sophomore, is in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Ali Bazzi. He is currently in Eaumholder, Germany, and will soon be deployed to Iraq.

Huddleston and Bazzi dated for five months beginning in June despite knowing Bazzi would soon be deployed again.

“I knew it was a possibility,” Huddleston said. “I don’t think it’s a reason not to give it a shot.”

According to an article published in the 2007 Journal of Social Psychology, one-third of all dating relationships among college students are long-distance.

Tamara Mikinski, licensed psychologist and lecturer in the department of psychology and research in education, said the success or failure of long-distance relationships depended on the needs of the couple and of the individuals.

“I actually think it’s not a negative thing,” Mikinski said. “It’s great for people to pursue their individual goals.”

Huddleston said she and her boyfriend usually talked to each other two or three times each day.

“It’s hard, especially because we are on a seven-hour time difference,” Huddleston said. “It’s difficult to find a time when it works for both of us to talk on the phone. It’s kind of awkward because it is early morning for me and late night for him.”

To avoid missing phone calls, she said, Bazzi texted her with good times to call.

“It’s something I had to get used to,” Huddleston said. “I couldn’t just call him whenever I wanted.”

Before Bazzi leaves for Iraq he will have to deactivate his cell phone so his location cannot be traced. Huddleston said she would be able to talk to him on the computer.

“That’s something I am not looking forward to,” Huddleston said.

Huddleston said her relationship made her stronger and helped her see the bigger picture.

“We don’t argue as much, whereas when you see someone every day there is more of a tendency for little stuff to start to irritate you,” she said. “We don’t really get that because we don’t see each other all the time.”

Mikinski said relationships where one person was put in dangerous situations had a unique set of stressors.

“When the person is gone, they are not that accessible to working through things and getting to know each other at a typical dating pace,” Mikinski said.

Huddleston said the hardest part of her long-distance relationship was adjusting to not seeing her boyfriend often.

“Most people can’t get over the insecurity of not seeing them all the time,” Huddleston said. “But I think if you can make it work over thousands of miles, then you can make it work when you are 30 minutes away.”

Paige Hendrick, Leawood junior, remembers when her then-good friend David Dickey, who is in the Air Force, would call her every day for six months from Iraq.

“They are only allowed 15 minutes on the phone,” Hendrick said. “So he would call his family and speak to them for five minutes, then he would call me. It was so meaningful; he is an important person in my life.”

Those phone calls sparked the beginning of a romantic relationship between the two in summer of 2007. In Febuary 2008, Dickey was sent to Germany. Because of the stress of the distance, they decided in April it would be best to date other people. During the time apart, they still kept in touch and talked to each other frequently.

Hendrick and Dickey recently got back together during an 11-day trip traveling around Europe. Though it will be a year before Hendrick will see her boyfriend again, she has a newfound confidence in their relationship.

“It’s when you really appreciate them that you realize that this could be the person you’re going to be with,” she said. “That’s what changed with us. We are lucky to have one another.”

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Dating, International News, Online Dating | , , , | Leave a comment