Finding someone to share your life with while in college is a pretty special accomplishment. Whether you go to the same school or study hundreds of miles away, the feeling is incredible. When you find your other half, someone you truly connect with, some pretty cool things happen.
1. You gain a best friend.
You already have girl/guy best friends, and that's great! Every friendship is special, but few are more meaningful than the best friend that you find within your significant other. You're inseparable when you're together and act like two peas in a pod, or in Forrest Gump speak: "peas and carrots." All of your hopes, dreams, fears and secrets are safe with them. You're quick to each other's defense, but still enjoy poking fun when appropriate. They're your shoulder to lean on and always know how to pull you back up on your feet when you fall. Something about you two just clicks. This is important because without a friendship, there can be no relationship. It's kind of like a two-for-one package deal.
2. Your music taste becomes more diverse.
Everyone has a favorite playlist saved in their music library that they love to sing along with every day. While those songs and artists are great to listen to on repeat, it's also fun to expand your musical horizons. Being in a relationship makes this easy. It is inevitable that you'll end up exposing each other to new music, whether you're jamming out in the car or having a kitchen dance party. Music connects people in a way that few other things can. I listen to a lot of pop-punk/alternative music. My boyfriend? He dabbles in everything from electric 20s swing (I didn't even know that was a thing) to classic rock. We always take turns choosing songs in the car and can go from punk to Judy Garland in 10 seconds flat. Hearing your partner sing along to your favorite song is an indescribable feeling.
3. New experiences pop up around every corner.
The most fun part of being in a relationship is experiencing a plethora of new things with the person you love. You love to take part in each other's interests. Learning to play your boyfriend's favorite video game or teaching him to do your favorite craft is a fun date in itself. My boyfriend is an air-soft fanatic, so he taught me how to shoot his guns and took me along to a game. I'm a concert junkie and he had never been to one before, so I took him to see one of my favorite bands. It can be exhilarating to learn about what makes your partner's heart race and eyes light up with excitement. The possibilities are endless.
4. You become thankful that none of your past relationships ever worked out.
When you and your ex broke up, for whatever reason it might have been, it probably felt like the end of the world. What you thought you wanted at one point in time turned into something completely different, and that's okay. I've come to realize that there's no reason to be hurt or embarrassed over a previous relationship. It happened for a reason, most likely to show you what you don't want and what you deserve in a real relationship. Consider it trial and error. All of those lessons you learned along the way lead you to the person you're with now. That sense of knowing what you value and deserve will go a long way with the right partner. I'm thankful for my exes for putting me through some rough times, because I know how good I have it with my boyfriend now.
5. You love spending time with each other's families.
If you're lucky, your family will love your significant other just as much as you do, and vice versa. You don't feel awkward walking into their house in your pajamas or coming over for a family game night. Learning about where they came from and how they were raised is always fun, and for their family to accept you into their household is a blessing. So many movies feature couples with "monster-in-laws" that do nothing but cause chaos for the relationship, but this will never be a reality for you. Whether it's talking about a hobby with their mom or joking around with their dad or siblings, make sure to enjoy every moment. Not everyone has this luxury, so never take their family for granted. After all, your boyfriend wouldn't be here without them!
6. Road trips become more bearable.
If you're traveling together, there is never a dull moment. You've got built-in entertainment and the time flies by. Even if the road trip is to see them, they are well worth your time spent cramped in the car. My boyfriend goes to school three hours away from me and, trust me, the reward of seeing him is far more valuable than the time and expenses it took to get there. Traveling and getting out of your usual routine for a couple days is a big plus, too! When you're together, a "road trip" doesn't even have to be exclusive to driving for hours at a time — it could just mean going across town to Walmart to grab a gallon of milk. You make your own adventures.
7. You support each other's goals, even if you know nothing about them.
You love to see them shine and be recognized for their achievements, and they push you to reach your goals as well. My boyfriend supports me in all of my journalistic endeavors and challenges me to think outside of my own box, even though he has no experience in media himself. He happens to be a nationally ranked college wrestler (no big deal), and before this season I knew nothing virtually about the sport. Through traveling (sometimes hours) to his tournaments and sitting right there at the edge of his mat, I learned the rules and technicalities of wrestling. Now I love it! He strives to qualify for nationals as a true freshman, and if he does, you can bet anything I'll be there.
8. You gain a newfound sense of patience and understanding.
It's 1 PM and he's still asleep in the other room, but you had plans for two hours ago...and you aren't even mad about it. Things happen. Plans change. All that you care about is spending the time that you do have together, whether it's spent napping or going out and about. You know that the world is not going to end if you miss one movie showtime. Your patience also allows you to get through the rough times when you can't see each other for weeks at a time. Whenever I feel stuck in time, wanting to move on with our future together but still just trying to get through college, I remember that good things take time. With patience, your life will fall into place as it's supposed to.
9. You share an equal quirky-weirdness.
Inside jokes, obnoxious laughter, glares from strangers — the whole nine yards. That dorky childhood nickname doesn't sound so bad when he lovingly teases you with it. You two seem to speak in a language that no outsider could begin to comprehend, and can make each other laugh with just a humorous smirk. My camera roll is full of photos of squirrels that my boyfriend and I send back and forth. They're always captioned: "Hey, look, it's Stanky Jim!" Why? I saw a squirrel on campus once and named him Stanky Jim, and my boyfriend finds it hysterical. It makes zero sense, but that's the beauty of it. I know that no matter what crazy idea crosses my mind, he is right there to share in it.
10. You are undeniably happy.
Life is never guaranteed to be all rainbows and butterflies — all relationships take hard work and compromise. However, your relationship is, for the most part, stress and drama free. Something that requires too much from you and changes you as a person is never healthy. When you date the right person, you are comfortable in your own skin and confident in your the future. You smile from ear to ear at the sight of your loved one and each moment spent together is sacred. They help you grow into the person that you want to be. They are a contributing factor to your happiness and have a positive influence on your life.
I realize that not every college relationship is meant to be, but these occurrences are all signs of a healthy and hopeful relationship. If you know in your heart that you have found that person, I'm happy for you. If not, keep searching for the love you deserve.
Lead Image Credit: Mayur Gala via Unsplash