What School Didn't Prepare Me For: Relationships After College






You start dating someone.
Both of you want to seem cool and secure and completely confident in yourself so NO WAY would you ever want to be the one to bring up talking about your status or where you stand or feelings. I mean, come on, you're obviously too cool for that and so is this person you're dating.
You just keep dating and dating and not defining anything and by doing this, you could essentially have your cake and eat it too. Why? Because American dating culture says that if you don't label your relationship or talk about your exclusivity status, you are technically allowed to sleep with a different person every day and the person you're dating can't really get upset.
I mean, obviously they would be because humans are emotional creatures but then they'd seem like a crazy possessive person because you never defined what you guys are so why should it matter if you're seeing other people?

With this new dating culture in place, why would anyone ever get into a relationship unless they're trying to settle down and get married, right? It just doesn't make sense. But for some reason, when I was in college, it made sense to get into a relationship and my standards for guys weren't even that limiting. If they cute, fun to be around and (if I'm lucky) somewhat smart, then done-zo. Relationship land, here I come! And yes, they could be flat broke with no job because we're students and who are you kidding? We're all poor in college.
Post college, people really need to get their shit together. Since we can do this indefinite non-labeled dating now, I have zero reasons to be in a committed relationship with anyone. A friend of mine has been dating her guy, label-free, for over six months now! They see each other AT LEAST once a week, talk on a nearly daily basis and there's still no sign of having that relationship status talk anywhere in the near future. It's just how it is now. Also, we're all super busy trying to build our careers and settle into new cities where we've moved for work-- who has time to put into a relationship? It's like a second job with all the work and effort it requires!
In my mind (now), if I'm going to be in a committed relationship with you, which means I'll spend time, money, energy, emotions, etc. etc. etc. on you, then you better be worth it. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be the future father of my children, but you should be helping me to learn and grow and transform into a better person than I was yesterday. And you should damn well be good enough to be the father of my children because there is a definite possibility that these post college relationships could transition into that (not that college relationships don't have that possibility, it's just less probable). I don't think that cute, fun to hang out with and maybe smart captures that in the S.O. criteria.
This article is basically a long way of me saying that what you're looking for in a partner significantly changes after college. (I like using the word partner because your boyfriend or girlfriend IS your partner, whether it's a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. In Australia, everyone calls their S.O. their 'partner' and I think it's a great term to use!)
Here's what you start looking for:
  1. Physical attraction
  2. Enjoyable to be around/ is good company
  3. "Smart" - Has goals and ambition in life and can AT LEAST provide for themselves.
  4. Comes from a family you like because more than likely, you'll now have to start going to your S.O.'s family events once you're in a post-college relationship
  5. Supportive - I guess this can be applied to college too as in they support you to get through your classes and graduate but it's not something you necessarily look for
  6. Has similar lifestyle goals. Newsflash, you're not in college anymore. In college, everyone had the same lifestyle (poor). But now, I couldn't imagine dating someone who just wanted to live off the land or is a homebody when I want a life of travel and adventure. Oh, in college, everyone also had a similar lifestyle of binge drink, study, eat shitty food and have lots of sex. Now you actually need to figure out your hobbies and interests, etc.
  7. Inspires you to be a better person. It's so important now to date someone who you look up to and vice versa. You should both have qualities that the other admires and aspires to so you can help each other learn and grow. There's definitely not too much learning and growing in college relationships outside of the bedroom. 
I'm definitely missing some (feel free to tell me what I missed in the comments!) but after that, you start talking about whether or not you want kids and where you want to live and where you see yourself in the future because if those things don't line up, then what is the point of being in a committed relationship? You could be enjoying other people and seeing if you're more compatible with other people. Being in a relationship post college, you basically just don't want to waste yours or someone else's time anymore with empty relationships. They have to have a lot more depth and meaning and more potential for something greater in the future.
... It's very scary and difficult to transition into but also pretty exciting. Up sides include the fact that you (hopefully) both make money now so you can go do a bunch of fun expensive activities you couldn't do in college. Yay! Just my two cents on post college relationships. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Until next time. 
x, 
Emily