Students talk about being comfortable in a relationship

Nedda Pourahmady

In order to feel comfortable in a relationship, Todd McDevitt has to be able to “laugh and get laughed at.”

McDevitt, senior business administration major, said he thinks a significant other should be like a best friend.

“You better be able to feel comfortable with them, because if not, the relationship probably won’t be working out for you,” he said.

Depending on the stage of a relationship, a certain degree of comfort is normal, said Michael Moore, assistant director of the Psychological Clinic.

“It’s important to spend time and communicate with one another,” he said. “Be honest and try not to leave anything unsaid.”

Jenna Karhan, junior middle childhood education major, said she thinks people should just be themselves from the start of the relationship.

“Later down the road, you won’t have to worry about if that person will like certain parts of you,” she said. “You know, getting all dressed up for your boyfriend is nice, but let him see you in your sweatpants too — you’re in a relationship, not a beauty pageant.”

Another thing couples can do to feel more comfortable with one another is to spend a lot of time together, said Lilly Russell, junior architecture major.

“Do something without the pressure of being in public, like just chilling at the dorm together, so no one has to feel embarrassed about anything,” she said. “Get to know their friends, too.”

However, students said they had experienced times where they felt uncomfortable in their relationships.

McDevitt said he cheated on a girl before, causing him to feel uneasy in the relationship.

“When I came clean, I felt really uncomfortable, and we ended up breaking up,” he said. “But we did get back together later.”

In Karhan’s case, she said she once was in a relationship where she felt like her boyfriend always pressured her to be funny.

“If he’d be having a bad day, he would call and just tell me to make him laugh,” she said. “Sometimes I felt like too much of his happiness relied on me, and I felt like I always had to be funny or entertaining.”

She said she solved the problem just by talking to her boyfriend about how she felt.

“I just realized it’s not good to feel like you have to be a certain way to make the other person happy,” she said.

When dating a friend’s friend, the situation can also become uncomfortable.

Russell said she’s in a relationship where she feels comfortable, but at first it was a bit uneasy.

“It was kind of awkward because I had kind of dated one of my boyfriend’s friends,” she said. “I talked to him about it, and the three of us have hung out together, and it’s become a lot better.”

Two key components students mentioned that are necessary to be comfortable in relationships are having common interests and trusting one another.

“If you and your boyfriend can’t talk about your interests together, then you kind of run out of things to talk about or go do together,” Russell said.

She also said she and her boyfriend are in the same major, so they do a lot of the same things together outside of classes.

“When we are thinking of what to do, I don’t have to be afraid to ask if he wants to go do what I want,” she said.

Because they knew each other for over a year before dating, Russell and her boyfriend had many things they could share.

“We already had inside jokes and knew about each other’s stupid habits,” she said. “We could just enjoy being together instead of being self-conscious.”

Nevertheless, Moore said he thinks trust is the foundation of a relationship.

Without trust, a couple may never feel comfortable with one another, Karhan said.

“It might not cause problems in the beginning, but eventually it will take its toll,” she said. “If you don’t have trust, you’ll definitely feel the tension, and neither of you will feel at ease with each other.”

Contact student life reporter Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected].