So how to keep a relationship while in MBA?

I was talking to one grad student today and she mentioned that she was part of the “statistic.”

When I asked her what she meant, she mentioned that she was one of the many who came in business school with a significant other somewhere, somehow broke up in the span of the schoolyear, and hooked with a classmate afterwards.

It seems that this was a popular issue that there’s even an article about it.

Around two weeks ago, I bumped into a classmate while walking back to the dorms, and he asked me about  fellow students who could possibly be hooking up, or dating. “What? We’ve not even started and rumors are already flying?!” I exclaimed.

As it turned out, relationships in business school usually blossoms in the first few weeks, develops in the next, and somehow becomes public come November or so when both parties feel that it’s time to make their relationship “official.”

From a school where 33% of my batch is female (hence, we are the minority), and 67% males, it’s really a supply and demand type of thing. “Proximity” my classmates have said is the biggest culprit of many business school hookups. “If you really work closely with that person, well, who knows what can happen?”

I came into HKUST in a relationship with Trader. Sure, we’re still a relatively young couple at 15 months and ongoing, but all of a sudden, I was a statistic. Out of the 120 students in my batch, a third are women. Half of these women are single. Unfortunately, I am one of those women who are relatively single, and yet unavailable.

And yes, this is public information.

Because guys ask.

Just to be sure.

And check to see if you’re really really single, or maybe jumping into someplace new.

A similarly single yet unavailable classmate has the same comment.

At the beginning of the year when she was one of the only women in the dorm of 30 men who had arrived earlier for their pre-MBA lessons, she was given attention by at least 7 guys in a day. Everyone was friendly, wanting to chat her up and wanting to get to know her better.

However, after a few days, it became public knowledge that she already had a significant other. And the guys dissipated like gas in the air.

Ha, I feel the same way.

I feel like the ugly auntie that guys are happy to be friends with, but not flirt with.

In a way, this is a good thing. It does allow me to just have a good time without worrying that others are having a different opinion of me. Instead of finding someone, I can concentrate on my extracurriculars and my studies. At parties, I behave. I stay sober. And I go home… alone.

Sigh, life can be boring for the publicly unavailable ones. In MBA, love can be in the air, and it kinda sucks to be one of the people not taking part of the game.

And yet, don’t think that I’m complaining, because I do not.

Trader has treated me as he did post-MBA and we still communicate well.

However, I do feel that there are some relationships that may be unravelling. This is the cost of not having enough time for the other, feeling temptation from others closer in proximity and mainly, the need of a new experience.

So how to keep a relationship while doing an MBA? Personally, here are a few steps on how we survive:

1) Keep in constant contact.

Trader messages me a good morning SMS in the morning. We email the whole day, and he calls after work. We Skype for half an hour before I finish my studies and before he goes to sleep.

I think constant daily communication is very important.

Sometimes, it gets so busy in business school that you forget you even have a boyfriend. And when you start missing daily talks, you somehow lose touch with each other and everything goes downhill from there.

There are cheap cellphone plans to enable you to keep in contact. There’s free Skype. There’s MSN.

Talk. Visit. Communicate.

Or you may lose it.

2) Remember, the grass is only greener — because it’s on the other side.

It pains me at times to see my classmates start getting a lot lot lot friendlier with other people because of the novelty of the new friendship. “Relax, he’s just being friendly,” are constant excuses that I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks despite my knowledge that the man already has someone waiting for him in China.

The line can be really thin. What is btw, the difference between being friendly and crossing the line?

Personally, I look at the Golden Rule in deciding how to act with the opposite sex — if this is something I feel uncomfortable if Trader did the same to me, then I shouldn’t do it to Trader.

Sometimes, we get so engrossed with the other, often forgetting that there are shared histories and memories we’ve had with our significant other that makes them irreplaceable. We get crushes and our heart thumps faster when we see a cute classmate.

What we don’t remember is that though it’s easy to replace someone, it’s not that easy to find someone who cherishes us the way we are right now. If we are to again start a new relationship, that means we have to start all over again from point Zero.

That means that we have to get to know someone new all over again, understand their quirks and interests, and then again, it doesn’t make them a better person than who we have right now. Often times, we can probably even end up with someone not as nice as our current other.

So don’t act in haste.

3) Really make your relationship a priority.

You really have to stop yourself into thinking that your significant other is replaceable.

You know he/she is, but it’s disastrous to follow this line of thinking.

If you don’t make your relationship a priority, then everything else comes first. And what baout the other? Your significant other? What about him or her?

I think that it’s possible to have some sort of compromise.

For Trader for example, I try to share with him some of my case studies and get him involved in the thought process. My mom did mention not to waste my MBA in just doing it on my own. It’s also great to share some key takeaways if any to Trader.

I do agree. 🙂

It’s quite fun having him involved in some of the problems. Not really solving them for me but actually just sharing the way on how it’s best to approach a case.

It was really funny when in one of my economics case studies, he called me up around 3 to 4 times just to share with me what he thinks is the best way to approach the problem. Hahaha, it was good for an ego to show me, an MBA student, just how to do it.

And I really loved that about him.

It was wonderful that an MBA can show me just how intelligent he can be despite not taking a program. I think that every couple has his/her own strengths and an MBA doesn’t make one smarter or better. It’s only when we share and prioritize the other that our relationship becomes so much richer than we can possibly dream of.

So how about your relationships while on MBA? How are you surviving so far?

Have a great weekend!

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