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October 30, 2007

Law Relationships, An Endangered Species?

By Sumeera Younis

Law school is a place where lawyers are born and relationships die. In this stress inducing, ego-filled, super-busy environment, can a relationship ever survive? To quote Michigan’s favorite Tom Cruise look alike: “The short answer is no, the slightly longer answer is yes.”

Within the first month of law school my section had twice as many single people as it started out with. Although I was forewarned that law school takes its toll on relationships, I wasn’t quite ready for what happened. All around me people were breaking up. And, there were several break-downs as people dealt with their break-ups. There wasn’t one simple reason for why people were breaking up but loads of different ones. Law school took up so much time that some people couldn’t maintain old relationships. Many people had moved to Michigan for law school, and their relationships buckled under the strain of long-distance love. Others just saw a sea of sexy brains and cut themselves free.

In contrast to all the relationships that ended, our section also saw two of our classmates get engaged after enduring one semester of law school together, and many others paired up and are still going strong. All the things that can contribute to old relationships ending can serve as the foundation for new love. Since law school takes up so much time, it can be natural to pair up with someone you are constantly around. Being away from home and in a new environment, while also dealing with the underworld of law school, can create a strong bond. And frankly, with all the break-ups that happen early in the semester, two rebounds are bound to bump into each other.

If you are already in a relationship, there is no need to pack up all your partner’s things in a box and cue “Bye, Bye, Bye.” Although law school can end relationships, the road to a law degree does not necessarily have to be littered with broken hearts. By now we may all be trained to be terrified of C’s, but there are three C’s that you should come to love: Compromise, Communication, and Cuddling.

(1) Compromise. If you are in a serious committed relationship, then you are not going always to be able to do everything your single classmates do. Sometimes you will have to miss a bar night or have lunch at home instead of at . Other times you will have to put away your books and make time for date nights or bite your tongue instead of talking about Pennoyer v. Neff.

(2) Communicate. All this compromising might lead to a big case of resentment. To avoid confrontation and to deal with conflicts as they arise, it is important to let your partner know when you need more time to do law school related things or when you are simply feeling overwhelmed. Be clear that this is not an indication that you love them less but a way in which you are trying to keep the relationship stronger for the long run.
(3) Cuddle. Hey, it’s not all bad! One of the best things about having a partner is that you have someone there to be romantic and fun with as well. Don’t forget that there are definite perks to relationships that make all the hard work worth it. Kind of like law school.