10926409_912656458758570_554295233571207894_n

By: Rachel Grutza

When I came to Ripon College two years ago, I had just started dating a man named Cole.

Our relationship lasted from the summer of 2013 until this summer, a month after our two-year dating mark.

Our breakup was mutual; we had been fighting over small things for months and we knew in our hearts that we were no longer in a healthy relationship. Even though it was mutual, it was heartbreaking.

We still talk and sometimes see each other. I haven’t been able to remove his pictures from my computer background and my Facebook, Shutterfly (online photo editing), and phone are full of reminders. This was my first relationship. How do people do this more than once?!

The entire time I’ve been at Ripon, I’ve been with Cole. I feel as though I have no relationships with any men on campus and my friend pool isn’t much larger. While I have a lot to learn, our relationship taught me a lot of things about relationships, college, and myself. I thought I would share my experiences:

1. It’s okay to date someone from home. It may be hard at times but don’t let others tell you that, because it didn’t work for them, it won’t work for you. I’ve had friends tell me not to go to college in a relationship but, despite breaking up, I loved being with Cole. He provided me with comfort and stability. He made me laugh and was someone I could always trust.

2. You can say no to advances at college events and parties. For me it was easy to say “I have a boyfriend” as though that was the only reason someone couldn’t flirt with me the whole night. You can say no, even if you don’t have a partner. You can say no just because you are uncomfortable or having a night out with your friends and don’t want to be hit on. Or you can say no for absolutely no reason. You don’t have to justify walking away from someone who is being inappropriate to you.

3. That being said, if you are in a relationship, don’t hide it. Hiding your relationship may mean you don’t really want to be with that person. And it also means you are hiding a part of yourself and opening yourself up for people to pursue a romantic relationship with you.

4. Don’t shut your past out. I sometimes still tear up thinking about Cole or just from looking through pictures of us but it’s okay to reflect on the fun times we had. I know that he is still there for me if I need someone and I will always trust him.

5. Don’t let your past stop you. Even though I want to keep talking to Cole, it’s important to be open to meeting new people and to understand that he will probably meet some new people too. I can’t sit here and miss certain things about him if I want to move on and be happy.

6. Build friendships first! I feel as though I shut myself off from making more friends my first and second year here. My life didn’t revolve around Cole and I still talked to plenty of people, I just wasn’t as social as I wish I had been. Now, I feel as though I have to catch up!

So, my dear Riponites, if you are single or in a relationship remember to put yourself first. Make sure the choices you are making are what you think is best for yourself. And have fun! Relationships can be heartbreaking but let yourself love and be loved- it is an amazing feeling!