Just what is love anyway? Norwich students talk about their relationships

Se, Norwich University, love life

Some students find unexpected true love and long-term relationships at Norwich.

Editor’s note: This story on love and relationships is part of a look by The Guidon at views about sexuality and campus life.  See the related story: ” Sex and virginity at Norwich: Guys tell all.

Finding love at Norwich isn’t something students plan on when they come to school here. But sometimes it happens when you least expect it, and college becomes a place where deep relationships result.

As a military school with a deep traditional culture, Norwich may have some social differences with other colleges. But talk to females on campus and you hear that relationships here are like those at other schools around the country.

What “love” is depends on who you talk to. “Love” is defined as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

According to Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary that lets the user write the definitions, the first definition describes it as “the most spectacular, indescribable, deep, euphoric feeling for someone.”

Whatever definition you chose, when it comes to falling in love, female students at Norwich describe high school as usually the place for mistakes and learning experiences.

“I said it (love) with my first boyfriend,” said Payton Warner, 19, a sophomore criminal justice major from Harwich, Mass., adding she “didn’t mean it, didn’t understand it because I was a freshmen (in high school).” Warner, who had never had a boyfriend before freshmen year, said she didn’t understand how ‘love’ worked.

But during senior year of her high school, she actually felt the sensation of love for the first time. It was with her long-term boyfriend and friend that she had grown up with since she was two years old.

Others agree that young love has it’s pitfalls. “You’re young and you’re like, ‘Oh, I want to be with you forever,’ but you don’t think like you’re going to grow up eventually,” said Kaylie Miller, 21, a senior psychology major from Long Lake, N.Y. “You have to look more at the bigger picture. It has to mean more.”

Miller describes her high-school relationship of two years as a learning experience. That past relationship taught her a lot, mostly what wasn’t good for her in a relationship, and what type of person she didn’t want.

“High school is very immature,” she said about having a relationship. “Very few make it past senior year. You’re just young and stupid. You don’t know what you want in high school.”

Daniella Vitale, a 20-year-old junior business major from Providence, R.I., has been in a five-year relationship that started in high school and eventually led to Norwich. As it turned out, both of them applied and decided on going to the same school. It wasn’t planned that way, however.

Vitale describes their high school relationship as extremely different than that of the one they share now. They were just casually dating and not really thinking about the future. She explains that they were together all of the time in a social setting, with friends and at work, but their parents also kept them in line.

When it came to college, she said things changed because they were on their own.

Although she has been in her current relationship for five years, she had a prior relationship in high school, which she describes as an “in-denial relationship.”

“I’m gay,” she said. “I was with a guy because I didn’t want the school to know how I really felt, I didn’t come to terms with myself for what I wanted at that point. I was living a lie.”

A perfect relationship is described by Warner as one where both partners don’t fight; where they are able to cohesively get along with each other’s friends, and not bicker over rudimentary things.

She also describes how reality is quite the opposite: “When you’re in a relationship with someone, there’s things that happen that you don’t think will upset them, and it does. But you don’t understand why,” she said, “and that’s why you get into fights.”

Miller, who is currently in a long-distance relationship with Army 2nd Lt. Justin Kubu, explains that being apart from one another takes a different toll on the relationship.

“I think we argue too much,” she said, “but I trust him. He is my best friend.”

Different people view different ways in which a relationship becomes “official.”

According to Warner, friendship is the first step, followed by talking, which is described as talking to each other daily, followed by hanging out by yourselves, and eventually dating.

The line between ‘I like this person’ to ‘I love this person’ is hazy and extremely difficult to identify, she thinks.

“You just know at some point,” she said. “One day to the next you’ll be hanging out and just realize that you love him. There really isn’t a way to explain it.”

“It’s a feeling,” Vitale said, “and I think it comes to a different person at a different time. It’s just the weird moments that you have. When you hug that person and there’s a feeling like you fit like two puzzle pieces. I think it’s different for each person, but you know when you feel it and it’s weird.”

Friends who go to other colleges or universities share certain aspects of relationships with Norwich students, but they also differ in some aspects compared to Norwich, according to Miller.

Some people just want to have fun and live up the college lifestyle. In past years – with mainly senior classes – almost everyone that was in a relationship became engaged. But people who go to Norwich tend to think more of the future because of the structure of a military school, she said.

Being in love is frustrating, but the feeling and what it means to each person is unique. “It’s someone that you can’t live without, someone you don’t want to live without. They’re the best friend you’ll ever have,” she said.

Vitale describes love in a less-romantic way. “Love means you can get absolutely pissed off, want to strangle that person, but still feel so comforted at the same damn time. You can take every single flaw that person has and just turn it around and completely negate it because of everything that they are.”

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