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Dating Tips: Under Pressure

by Leah Casselman • March 26, 2014

You have a million film sets you have to be on, final projects to start, and papers to write. Not to mention you need to figure out your summer internships and your housing for the next year. But do you have time for a relationship?

If you’ve been following this column, I’m sure you are now involved with a person who is deserving of your complete awesomeness. But as you get busier, at least in my experience, either your work or your relationships tend to suffer. The first thing many of us do when we get stressed is break connections with the people we love. But if we drop the people we’re dating every time things get tough, we would have a different lover every other month. Our frantic lives can make commitment harder, but that doesn’t mean love should disappear. Here’s what to consider as you get into your busiest month of the semester.

Don’t think of your significant other as a chore, or they will become one. Relationships should be a source of comfort and relaxation, not a contributing factor to our mental breakdown. A good snuggle can make even the worst days more bearable. Talking to the important people in your life isn’t like doing the dishes—you don’t need to check it off a list and call it good. Do these things because they make you happy. I am one to fall into the trap of pushing people away, and I have to force myself to really think about why I am doing what I’m doing and realize that I am projecting my anxieties on the person I care about.

Lean on each other. You’re a team, so act like it. Part of being a couple is talking about your problems and supporting one another. It’s selfish to think of yourself or the person you’re with as a burden. If communication, or a lack thereof, becomes a major problem, then don’t force yourself to stay in a bad situation. But every real couple has its rough patches. Part of being in an adult relationship is remembering that you aren’t doing this alone. Be a listening ear for them and they will reciprocate. Just remember that it isn’t your job to fix their problems, it is your job to support them through them.

Take some time apart if you need to. Don’t use a break to go find a new lover, use it to find yourself. Don’t pull a Ross and Rachel and forget to discuss the terms of your temporary separation. A lot of couples don’t survive a break, but if it happens because you really don’t have time for each other, communicate that well and do your best to contact the other person when things let up. 

Give and receive back rubs. They change lives and save relationships. I am never more in love then when a man touches my aching back. After a hard week, exchanging backrubs can be both relaxing and sensual. Stress makes you tense and stiff and can definitely turn you off to physical desires; giving your significant other a chance to unwind can go a long way for both of you.

Don’t ignore your sex life. If you aren’t already having sex, don’t start because I told you to do so in a column, but if you are, there is no better feeling than forgetting all your troubles and worries with another person. Libidos tend to suffer when we have a million things on our minds. When I get down I always try to make things a little more interesting. You’re really busy? Let’s share a shower and kill two birds with one stone. A home cooked meal and chocolate can go a long way too.

Every relationship is different. Listen to your partner and see what they want to do about the stress and communicate how you feel. The same goes for relationships with friends. Although you may not be having sex with each other, the other tips still apply. Be there for each other and you won’t have to let go.