I’ve noticed that for many college students, dating no longer involves many actual “dates.” Which is understandable: we don’t all have cars, our cash is limited, and we’re busy with classes, work-study, med school applications, juggling club… Of course, spending quality time together is far more important than spending money on each other, and there’s nothing wrong with couples who stay in their dorm rooms watching movies. But it’s unfortunate, because dating can be so much fun, and it’s nice to get out and try something new once in a while. Plus, dinner dates at Fribley get old fast. So I’ve brainstormed some cheap, easy ways to bond with your mate and keep things interesting in your relationship.
• Take advantage of the nice weather and go for a walk—Case really has a beautiful campus, even if most of us only see a small part of it on our daily walk to class. If you’re in the early stages of a relationship, a leisurely stroll will help you get to know each other better; if you’ve been together a long time, it will remind you of the little things you really appreciate in each other. Nice places for a stroll include Wade Oval, Little Italy, and the Top of the Hill. You could also go outside and toss a Frisbee, or go to the lagoon and feed the geese. And when the weather gets cold, there’s a great little outdoor ice rink on Wade Oval which I highly recommend.
• Get hooked on a TV show. It doesn’t matter if it’s Supernatural or Project Runway—just find something you can both enjoy. What’s important is that it’s your thing, a weekly ritual for the two of you to share and look forward to.
• Make something together. Bake cookies, go outside and grill, or try out a new recipe. It doesn’t matter how it turns out; what’s important is that you work together to accomplish something. Any project will do, really: rearranging your furniture, painting the Spirit Wall, working a crossword puzzle, or even doing arts and crafts. It sounds lame, but coloring is actually a lot of fun (as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously), and it’s a nice distraction from homework. And if you’re like me and you’re getting excited about winter, you might try paper snowflakes.
• Play a board game—or Call of Duty, whatever floats your boat. A little friendly competition is actually very healthy for a relationship. Racquetball and squash are two-player games (although they’re a little more taxing than Battleship), and most dorm buildings have table tennis in the lobby. It’s okay if you’ve never played before—learning something new together can be a great bonding experience.
They say the little things in life are the most important, and I think it’s important to share these things with your significant other. If the two of you are really compatible, you’ll enjoy spending time together, even on mundane activities like cooking and watching TV. But remember to be creative and spontaneous—if you don’t change things up once in a while, you’ll get bored and start to take each other for granted. So consider the above ideas—they’re a little less formal and more personal than the traditional “date,” and I think they’re ultimately better for getting to know each other and getting comfortable in a relationship.