Relationships at Ryerson: When Students Date Other Students

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[S]o you finally found the one, the person you’ve been searching for. Cupid’s arrow has struck and now suddenly every love song ever written makes sense to you. But between balancing classes, a job and extracurricular activities, throwing a relationship into the mix seems nearly impossible. This is especially hard when people in a relationship go to school together.

To some, a happy relationship with a fellow student is possible if both parties can put in time for homework and for each other.

“You guys have your own lives, so you need to set your priorities first,” says Danielle Martinez, a first year student in the collaborative nursing program at Ryerson, Centennial and George Brown.

Both Martinez and her boyfriend, Mikael Muria, are in the same program and have been dating for just over a year. Although they spend a lot of time together during the week at school, they usually spend their weekends taking care of other priorities.

“You need moderation,” says Muria. “You have to make time for your friends too, as hard as that may be with school and work and everything.”

Martinez and Muria agree that focusing on academics is essential, but going to school with your partner can be both a drawback and an asset. For instance, although some see their partner more frequently during the week, getting into an argument with them can throw off your concentration when studying.

“School is important, and if you are in school together you should understand that both of you need to focus,” says Megan Winter, a first year undeclared student at Ryerson.

Winter and her boyfriend, Devon Dulall, a first year Ryerson electrical engineering student, met at school in the fall and have been dating for two months. Dulall believes that sticking to your priorities and designating time for your partner is important in a relationship.

“If all of your other priorities are done you can spend quality time and relax with each other,” says Dulall. “It’s more rewarding.”

Along with making time for each other, both Dulall and Winter agree that honesty is the most important thing in a relationship to build trust and better communication.

Nicole Pukay-Martin, a postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department at Ryerson, believes that open-communication is the number-one predictor of relationship satisfaction. Pukay-Martin, who specializes in couple’s therapy, says that she can tell how happy individuals are in a relationship based on how they communicate.

“Be very clear with each other when there’s something going wrong,” says Pukay-Martin. “Be able to get your point across clearly and non-judgmentally without making your partner feel blamed, and listening is equally important to receive that message and hear it without adding their [your partner’s] own interpretation on top of it.”

In addition to lack of communication between couples, another problem Pukay-Martin addresses is that couples have difficulty finding time for each other.

“What tends to happen with people who are really busy is they just get really caught up in everything that’s already scheduled and things they need to do, and people then end up not seeing each other or only seeing each other at the end of the day when they’re both too tired to really have a good conversation or have fun together,” says Pukay-Martin.

In order to make time for a partner, Pukay-Martin suggests scheduling time for them in the same way you do for your classes.

“People need to schedule time for each other,” says Pukay-Martin. “Especially at a time when they’re not exhausted, so maybe earlier in the day or on a day when they know that their demands are not quite as high.”

Pukay-Martin believes that couples should treat their relationship like any of the other priorities in their lives, as a healthy and happy relationship requires some work.

“Some people think [to themselves], ‘I’ve been in this relationship for a while I don’t really need to worry about it — good relationships should just happen’, but that’s not true,” says Pukay-Martin.

Jessica Murray, Journalism ’15