Tips for balancing a relationship, pledging

College is hectic and busy in its simplest form. It can be hard to juggle the responsibilities of one’s coursework along with one’s romantic endeavors—but when you throw rushing and pledging on top of that pile of obligations, it only serves to compound the problem.

Greek life is renowned for the difficulty of its new member education, which can really take a toll on a relationship. 

Speaking from personal experience, pledging can be a difficult process. You are burdened with a hefty task: learn about the history of your prospective Greek organization, form a close bond with your fellow pledges, overcome the challenges placed in front of you and—more than anything else—juggle that whilst still doing your best to achieve your academic and personal goals.

More than likely, there will be moments when your relationships suffer, as you are challenged to balance an introduction to Greek life, school, and extracurriculars. Perhaps you are painting the tree, going to pledge meetings or simply engaging in some ritual meant to foster a bond of brotherhood or sisterhood. 

These new priorities can happen at multiple points in any given day and, as such, they can obstruct prior plans to spend time with that special person in your life. Perhaps you and your significant other were planning a relaxing night of watching Netflix and eating pizza. Regardless, those plans are now second to your commitments to new member education. 

This may deter the relationship, but it is important to stress to your significant other that pledging is just a temporary obstacle that you can overcome in a variety of ways. 

Make sure to spend time together whenever you can. Get lunch together, help your partner study for their upcoming exams, provide a sounding board for their essay ideas and act as a counsel for their pledging anxieties. By tackling homework or engaging in useful conversation, time spent together can be productive—almost a guarantee to help keep a relationship healthy.

A surprise date can go a long way, too. If your partner is having a long week with class, pledging and everything else, surprise them with a relaxing activity. 

Show up to watch Netflix with them on a Thursday night or go up to Main Street for pizza and for perusing the shops. Maybe invite them over and have the candles lit with the Marvin Gaye playing—see where the night will take you two.

Above all else, a firm understanding and acceptance of your partner’s responsibilities beyond your relationship is crucial. So long as you care about them—and demonstrate it through your actions—you are bolstering your relationship and giving it the stability to last through the pledging process. 

The best relationships are built upon the little interactions that pile up to show you care for your partner. If you have shared those interpersonal moments, your relationship can easily survive the temporary roadblock that a bid to a fraternity or sorority might mean.