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Valentine’s Day may be the nation’s most commercial holiday, having no cultural or religious denomination. However, since no particular demographic can claim Valentine’s Day, it may be the nation’s most observed holiday. Anyone can celebrate love.

At the University,  romantic dating relationships are apparent and abundant. Friends in social circles may become attracted to each other. Study sessions may develop into weekend movie plans. Couples can be interracial and even inter-collegiate. However, even if significant others are high school sweethearts, relationships adopt new responsibilities in college.

For many university students,  college is their initial experience of living away from home. University residence halls are almost all co-ed, and often minimally supervised. Young men and women at the University are allowed and eager to spend unlimited time together in unrestricted locations. This newfound freedom granted when students arrive to the University promotes friendship development, and more specifically, intimate relationships. Lifetime friends meet in college, and many marriages date back to dorm room years.

Unfortunately, not all young adults display the maturity to handle such freedom. Minimizing restrictions at times compromises respect in relationships. Male and female students alike may become extremely controlling of each other. Sometimes boundaries are assumed to disappear as soon as Facebook relationship statuses are updated. Dating and relationships require constant decision making, and mistakes are costly.

Failure to be attentive and available for each other often enough ends potentially long term relationships before they peak. Unprotected sex leads to spread of disease and possibly the welcoming of a newborn life to parents unprepared to raise a child. Perhaps the most tasteless action any person in a relationship can commit is verbal, physical or sexual violence to his or her partner.

Any Public Safety alert involving sexual assault should be read with disgust. These incidents involve students in relationships as well as those who are not. Either way, relationship violence is one of the inexcusable mistakes couples cannot afford to make.

Mistakes are minimized when decisions are made with equal reason and emotion, rather than strictly out of passion. Students develop lifelong habits during their stay at the University. Unfortunately, some students display tendencies such as disrespectful dating which may develop into dangerous habits. It’s Valentine’s Day. Where is the love?

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