“Normal and Healthy Relationship” (noun): One in which both parties have mutual attraction, respect, communication, and investment in the relationship. 

Every relationship I’ve had with a guy has been transient, dramatic, and five months at the longest. What the hell is wrong with me? What is wrong with these boys I find attractive, despite their shortcomings? It’s not just me: most of my girlfriends cycle through being in love and suddenly single about three or four times a year.

College relationships aren’t supposed to be simple, but they shouldn’t be unhealthy, self-esteem crushing, and borderline stalkerish either. A “normal and healthy relationship” seems impossible, and despite the handful of committed, long-term couples I know, I think there are multiple reasons 18 to 22-year-olds are screwed up when it comes to finding a decent someone.

People Are Self-Centered

grass, pasture
Bhavya Bansal

People in college are selfish and immature. As compared to my parents (who had serious jobs in school and associate degrees), students in Universities only give shits about their Friday night plans and personal image. No one cares about others anymore – friends, strangers, boyfriends and girlfriends – we’re all the same, throwaway nobodies.

Healthy relationships are impossible when the basic decency – one human caring about another human – is missing. College kids are also so immature, and I’m not talking about dicks-on-the-classroom-desks immature. Not texting a girl back; claiming you’re “just friends” after he kisses you; unable to deal with your better internship offer…. there’s nothing normal about a relationship where one party is jealous of the other’s success or doesn’t care at all.

No One Is Certain Of What They Want (And They’re Not Willing To Find Out)

Mackenzie Patel

Students fall into dating patterns because they’re easy and predictable – sticking to Tinder dates or club hookups is low risk and emotionally closed-off on the people involved. No one knows what their type is in college; once we find an “okay” person, we latch on and imagine we can’t do any better or different.

It’s confusing trying to sift through the thousands of personalities in young adults – how am I supposed to know who I’m compatible with? And once one person treats me correctly, I tend to overlook their downsides and make do with my lot. I’m not in love – I’m not that heavily invested – but it’s comfortable to ditch passion for a constant fuckbuddy. 

Social Media Is Ruining Our Perception Of Relationships

coffee, tea, beer, pizza
Rebecca Block

If I see another “Happy four years together!” post, I’m going to strangle someone. I’m under the impression that all my friends in relationships are so happy and so pleased all the time. Getting wrapped up in others’ supposed happiness is easy and creates this expectation (at least for me) that every date/relationship/boy must be this Grand Someone I can love.

Social media also encompasses all the unspoken texting and messaging rules that come with dating. In addition to face-to-face communication, students must wrestle with smileys and crying smileys and tongues out – what the hell does it all mean?  It adds another level of miscommunication between people who are already awkward, selfish, temporary, and erratic. 

Our Careers And Locations Are More Transient Than Ever

Mackenzie Patel

“Normal and healthy” implies seeing a future with someone – if you don’t, then why are you dating them (besides the casual sex situation)? In college, the only permanent aspect is how goddamn temporary everything is – housing, body weight, GPA – nothing is fixed. And when “in limbo” is your default mode, what’s the point of getting close to anyone?

Students don’t attend college close to home, get a job close to home, and die close to home anymore. We switch careers often and uproot our social circles every five years, so why get attached? “Normal” doesn’t include using someone for four years (i.e. for sex, social media posts, free food) and then ditching them the minute after graduation is over.

There Are WAY MORE Opportunities To Get Messed Up

Mackenzie Patel

Rape, drugs, stress of final exams, daddy issues: the minds of young adults are a psychiatrist’s playground. If students can’t sew their lives together, they can’t establish something normal with a {similarly screwed up} person. When our energy is wasted on hangovers and fighting with divorced parents, the negativity leaks into a romance and leads to miscommunication and arguments. 

chocolate, sweet, candy, milk, cream, coffee
Christine Chang

In essence, college students are wishy-washy, selfish, and (can you tell?) pessimistic. Jesus Christ! How hard is it to find a semi-attractive boy who isn’t an asshole with an ulterior motive?! I’m not asking for much, and most young people probably feel the same way. Something easy, something casual yet important to me - that's it.