Dating At Home Vs. In College Are Completely Different, Especially In These 4 Ways

Stars Hollow ice cream queen Rory Gilmore taught me a lot about punk rock, classic literature, and high school bullies. She and Lorelai also taught me that Pop-Tarts are, in fact, one of the main food groups and that wallowing for exactly one weekend after a breakup is actually really helpful. I followed Rory from prep school to the Ivy League, where she taught me the most valuable lesson of all time — dating at home and in college are two very different endeavors.

It was tough to be #TeamDean when he and Rory reunited while she was in college because they didn't exactly have much time to spend together. Dean still lived in their hometown, Stars Hollow... with his parents. And Rory lived in the dorms at Yale, where she shared a room with the less-than-welcoming Paris Geller. Both living arrangements made hooking up almost impossible, since Dean's parents insisted he leave his bedroom door open at all times and Paris wasn't entirely sure her noise-canceling headphones would be enough of a distraction. Desperate for some action, they even drove to a secluded spot in their hometown and tried to get busy in Rory's Toyota Prius. Since neither of them possessed the acrobatic skills needed to pull this off, they gave up within a few short and frustrating minutes. It didn't help that everyone in town was overly invested in their relationship, either.

I know Rory's follow-up boyfriend, Logan Huntzberger, was no prince, but he had one thing Dean didn't — a student ID number. Rory and Logan's relationship had its problems but the fact that he was a student at Yale made things a lot easier and, let's face it, made the show a lot more interesting. I loved when Rory and Logan ran into each other at the Yale coffee stand in the beginning stages of their relationship and when he climbed through her dorm window to give her a spontaneous kiss good night.

The point is, dating when you're at home brings with it challenges you might not face at college. Similarly, dating at college has its own complications, like trying to balance your love life with your class schedule. Of course, it all depends on where you're at romantically. Here are a few instances where the differences between dating at home and in college might be most noticeable.

If You Have A Hometown Partner

Just because it didn't work out for Rory and Dean doesn't mean it won't work out for you. There a few things you'll need to consider, though.

At home:

Most notably, you and your partner probably won't have a ton of privacy together when you're at home. Chances are you'll both be staying with family and you'll have to abide by their house rules. Like Rory and Dean, this means maintaining an active sex life will be a little more complicated but not impossible. You'll just have to get creative — think outside the bedroom if you will. Long before the Prius failed them, Rory and Dean got together in an empty dance studio in the middle of town, in broad daylight. If that's not impressive, I don't know what is.

At college:

Being in a long-distance relationship in college while your partner is back home is incredibly difficult. While most of your friends are banging their way through Tinder, you probably spend a lot of time missing your partner and wishing you could have a real night out with them. Luckily, we've come a long way since Rory's and Dean's 2004 game of telephone tag when they spent weeks communicating via voicemail because of their busy schedules. Think of the wonders iMessage, FaceTime, or Snapchat could have done for Stars Hollow's best-looking couple. It's far easier to keep in touch now — you might find out more about your partner's day by watching their Instagram story than if you just asked how their day was. Plus, more than just for keeping up with each other's lives, today's tech makes things like phone sex and FaceTime sex super easy and effective.

If You Have A College Partner Who's Now Miles Away

Basically, you're Dean in this situation and it'd be really nice if your Rory didn't run off with a Logan — make sense?

At home:

Because you haven't moved away, your life probably hasn't changed as much as your partner's whose gone off to college. Try not to be overly jealous of their new friends or new experiences, unless you think your relationship might be in jeopardy. You'll only push them away. Instead, express interest in their new lifestyle and share your own updates with them as well. As long as you both make an effort to include each other in your separate lives, you can get through this difficult time.

At college:

Alternatively, this could also be the case if you and your partner attend different colleges and are miles apart from each other. Both of you will have your own friend groups at your respective schools and you'll probably do your fair share of partying on the weekends. During the week, you're likely to be preoccupied with class assignments and group projects, making it tough to find time to spend with your partner.

You might even be tempted to fall for someone who's geographically more appealing but it's important to remember why you're in a relationship in the first place. Be open about your concerns with your partner and know that the situation is just as difficult for them as it is for you.

If You And Your Partner Attend The Same College But Have Different Hometowns

Although this isn't technically a long-distance relationship — most of the time — a few problems arise when either of you goes home for breaks or holidays.

At home:

Things between you and your partner might feel drastically different at first when you go home. Suddenly, they're no longer a few doors down the hall and you can't grab a spontaneous coffee together in between classes. That's OK because now is the perfect time to heat things up. It's true what they say — absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sexting your partner is kind of a requirement when you're apart for extended periods of time. If you're home for the holidays, you can send them a sexy but festive snap of you (in a Santa hat and nothing else?) to remind them of what they're missing. Your partner will be glad to know you're thinking of them in that way even though you're at home with your family.

At college:

On the other hand, if you're stuck at college while your partner is away, it can get a little lonely without them. Console yourself with the knowledge that they'll be back soon and check in every now and then to let them know that you miss them. Don't be offended if they don't respond right away since they'll probably be spending time with family members they haven't seen in a while. When school resumes, they'll be back to being all yours. The best part about dating someone who attends the same college as you do is that you get to see them as often as you'd like. Plus, you don't have to explain your relationship to your parents or any nosy family members until they actually meet.

If You're Casually Dating

You might think dating at home and at college look relatively similar if you're not in a relationship, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

At home:

Casual dating when you're at home with your family is tricky. Particularly, if your family is more traditional, they probably won't get why you enjoy going on dates with new people every few days. There's absolutely nothing wrong with your lifestyle if you prefer to swipe through hometown hotties rather than settle down with someone at college — as long as you have a plan. Sneaking around with your casual dates can be even more exciting than sexting a partner who's thousands of miles away. The adrenaline rush from knowing that you and your date might get caught is just what you need to keep things light and fun. For the record, there are tons of stealthy sex positions to try out in your childhood bed that'll keep things quiet, like spoon sex. You might even try a couple of these when you get back to your college dorm, because why the heck not?

At college:

Although this was never something Rory was good at (she once called her mom mid-date for advice on where to sit at the table), casual dating at college is pretty awesome. Almost every other TV show gets this right. First of all, there's no curfew. In fact, there are few rules at all besides that sex should always be consensual, you should always practice safe sex, and you should get tested regularly. Other than a pesky noise complaint from your RA or roommate, there's not much else that can get in the way.

Dating at college might mean more freedom to have multiple partners and wild sex, but dating at home probably means cleaner sheets and home-cooked meals. No matter where you are, you should feel comfortable dating whomever you like — even if you have to make a few adjustments to accommodate them.

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