Continuing to date significant other during relationship beneficial

Taylor Alderman | The Collegian Evan McMican, senior in marketing, with his girlfriend, Kaitlyn Goddard, junior in marketing, having a cup of coffee at Radina's in the Leadership Studies Building. While in a relationship, going on dates is still important even if a couple has been together for a while.

Whether it is planning dates on a budget or finding time for a date, the act of dating while in college can be stressful. But some students who are in relationships say they think it’s important to set aside time to continue “dating” their significant other.

Lizzi Petite, senior in human resource management, has been with her boyfriend for five years. Even though they’ve been together for years, she said it is important to go on dates. After being with someone for more than a few years, it is easy to get in a rut, she said.

“We like planning something and getting dressed up just to remember what
it was like when we very first started dating,” Petite said.

Susan Iverson, senior in communication studies, said it’s important to continue to have one-on-one time with your
significant other, without distractions.

“We don’t have any TV on,” Susan Iverson said. “We
involve in conversation and focus on each other’s needs.”

A date doesn’t have to be extravagant, formal or out of the ordinary. Common dates for students who are in relationships could be something as simple as going to dinner, a movie or bowling.

“We’ve done everything from going to the pumpkin patch to seeing a movie to making our own dinner,” Evan McMican, senior in marketing, said.

McMican said he and his girlfriend have a list of everything they want to do together. He said it is beneficial for them to be able to check things off their list and to experience life together, rather than as individuals.

When it comes to planning a date, budget is something students may take into account.

“It’s kind of hard in college, because we are both poor college students,” Mackenzie Hampton, junior in elementary education, said of her and her boyfriend. “We try to be considerate of the other person and switch off paying.”

Susan Iverson said she agrees that spending a lot of money on a date isn’t always an option. Dating is more about spending time together than spending money, she said.

“We can’t always afford to go to dinner and a movie,” Susan Iverson said. “Sometimes we rent a Redbox and make dinner, but we still spend time together.”

There are plenty of inexpensive dates students can experience around Manhattan. Some of these activities could include spending an afternoon at Manhattan Hill, hiking at the Konza Prairie, fishing at Tuttle Creek or watching a show at McCain Auditorium.

“We’ve done a picnic where we made sandwiches at home and brought it to the park,” Petite said. “It was a budget-friendly date, but just as meaningful as spending $40 at the movies.”

So is there a difference between dating before you are in a relationship and dating while in a relationship? Richard Iverson, senior in architectural engineering, has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for the past four years. Richard said the dynamics of dating changes between exclusive dating when you are perusing a relationship, and simply going on dates once you’ve entered a relationship.

“It’s not so cliché, anymore,” Richard Iverson said.

In recent years, however, the dating game has changed. There isn’t a set criteria for what constitutes a “perfect” date. It’s now more about what works best for you and your partner; whether that is what you do, how much you spend or who makes the arrangements.

Petite said she believes planning dates doesn’t have to fall on just one person or the other.

“I’ve planned dates before, and I think it’s awesome in the 21st century that that’s okay,” Petite said. “I don’t want it to always fall on the guy.”

Some say it is equally important and beneficial to continue “dating” while in a relationship.

“It changes things up so you’re not doing the same things all the time,” Richard Iverson said. “It’s also a way to reduce stress, because when you’re spending time with your significant other, you don’t have as many worries.”

Petite said she recommends continuing to “date” even while in a relationship. She said it continues to keep things fresh and fun.

“Dating just keeps things fun, whether you’re together two months or 20 years,” Petite said.