student life

Is seeing good for a university relationship?

‘Seeing’ is an acceptable and normal part of any university relationship, right?

‘Seeing’ is an acceptable and normal part of any university relationship, right? But when is seeing each-other just a way of keeping a relationship at bay and the other person on a string?

I had this battle with myself, my partner and even my friends just last year and it made me realise the potential pitfalls of defining a relationship in the ‘seeing’ phase. 

Seeing: Is it really beneficial?

Before meeting my current boyfriend I had no real understanding of ‘seeing’ or what it meant in a practical sense. It seemed to me a term that was more theoretical than anything else and yet is very acceptable and almost expected part of university relationships. Developing from several dates (or fumbles in the dark), ‘seeing’ is understood by students (and by Google) as a couple having a closer attachment than dating but without the strings of a relationship.

Some would call it a trial run, allowing each person to get a feel of how a relationship with their chosen partner would work while being able to break up without too much awkwardness.

Nonetheless, ‘seeing’ has a much less positive definition and one that is sadly quite widely held. Some (whose names will remain anonymous) view ‘seeing’ as an appeasement, a way of silencing their partner into thinking that their relationship is on a track when they have no intentions of making that next step.

For them, seeing is a ‘Get-out-of- jail- free-card’ allowing them to behave exactly as they did before and enjoy the benefits of a relationship. I’m sure I am not the only one who has overheard a conversation that begins: “It’s fine though, we aren’t in a relationship so he/she can’t say or do anything”, and they often they feel can’t.

Overall effects on the current relationship

And here lays my main issue with ‘seeing.’  If it were indeed a trial run with every intention of seeing how a relationship with your partner would work, I think it’s a great concept. But as definition varies from individual to individual, I can easily see one side of the partnership brimming over with excitement at the advancement while another saying to their friends; “It keeps them quiet”. 

Moreover, both parties can still behave in nearly the same way as they did before without either person able to say or do anything because they aren’t monogamous. This is my biggest stumbling block by far as I cannot see how being able to chat up and ask out other people is in any way acceptable or fair.

Having endured ‘seeing’ my current boyfriend for 2 months before we decided to make it ‘official,’ I found myself battling with feelings of inadequacy as he believed he could go on dates with other girls.

But, what to do about this I hear you ask? I don’t think there is a simple answer but I do feel students need to go into ‘seeing’ someone with their eyes wide open. Moreover, whether you believe that ‘seeing’ is a positive step towards a relationship or a way of appeasing the situation, make sure your partner knows how serious you treat the relationship from the start. This would not only save a mountain of sodden tissues but your dignity as well.

What do you think? Is ‘seeing’ harmless fun or an easy way to avoid any real repercussions? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: Muramasa / Wikimedia Commons