Meet Kaitlyn and David, 20 and 22 years respectively. They have been together for a little over a year and both attend universities in the NYC area. They were willing to share their story of finding love and commitment with us through a series of questions, answered by both Kaitlyn and David.
Tell me a little about yourself and how you met your partner?
Kaitlyn: I met David during my spring semester of freshman year at NYU and his junior year at Brooklyn College. We met through a mutual friend, and didn’t think much of each other. Over that summer, we started talking more often on Twitter and Snapchat. He would always ask me to hang out and I would always flake on him. He only wanted to develop a deeper friendship, but I had social anxiety and couldn’t imagine hanging out with him without our mutual friend as a buffer. Then, that fall, when I was back in the city, we hung out (with our buffer) frequently, and then when we spent almost all of Halloweekend 2016 together, I realized that he made me laugh… a lot. I looked at him differently from that night on, and I remember thinking, “Wow. He’s actually really cute.”
David: Halloweekend was the first time that I understood that Kaitlyn was someone I wanted in my life. Not necessarily romantically, but in general. I appreciated her presence.
Kaitlyn: Meanwhile, I was starting to plot on him. NYU’s Black Student Union’s Homecoming was the following weekend and we spent it together, just like Halloween. We went to iHOP after Black Tie, the Homecoming dance, with our group of friends.
David: It was at iHOP that I started thinking about her romantically. Kaitlyn looked so good that night, and every time we talked it was genuine. Even at that iHOP table, I felt like we were the only people there.
Kaitlyn: Then after an after-party on Saturday night, we went back to the 24-hour iHOP down the street from my dorm with my best friends and his best friends in tow. My best friend asked him if he liked me, and that night, at 4 AM, I texted him in invisible ink telling him that I liked him. He wrote back in invisible ink, “I like you too.” We took some time from each other to figure out if we were both really ready for a relationship, and then at a Five Guys in the beginning of December, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Since then, he’s graduated from Brooklyn College and I am finishing up my junior year at NYU.
How do you and your partner define commitment?
Kaitlyn: To us, commitment looks like keeping the promises we made to each other at the beginning of our relationship, well out of the Honeymoon stage. Commitment looks like really investing time into each other and working to strengthen our relationship through communication and trust, even when we don’t feel like it. Commitment means making each other feel important, safe, and secure.
How did your relationship affect your professional/academic goals?
David: Before we were in a relationship, I had always had goals and aspirations. But I don’t think I was thinking “big picture” until Kaitlyn and I started dating. I decided that I wanted more for myself, things like going to grad school or applying to research programs. Just seeing Kaitlyn being ambitious about the things that she wanted made me think: what is it that I want? She told me about “speaking things into existence” and since then everything that I’ve spoken into existence has happened. Within a year, what I claimed came true, and I’m still working towards the things that I want.
Kaitlyn: David keeps me sane. I tend to get impatient with myself and frustrated with my track to success, and David is always in the background, talking me off a ledge. When I get overwhelmed, he’s there to remind me that I’m capable. And when I’m away from family at school here in the city, I get overwhelmed more often. But he’s always here to take care of me and push me to be the best I can be.
How has being in a relationship impacted your individual growth?
Kaitlyn: I cherish communication much more than I used to, across all my relationships. Once I saw how great communication could influence my relationship with David, I wanted to mimic it with my family, my friends, etc.
David: Being in a relationship exposed me to a lot of things that I was never exposed to before. Kaitlyn is literally introducing me to a lot of new things, things from skincare to the difference between good and bad beaches, being a more gentle person in terms of empathy or touch, and efficient communication.
Any advice to those looking to find love while still navigating college?
David: Be patient. In college, everybody’s looking for love and not looking for love at the same time. It’s a weird time. Work on yourself. If you don’t, when you finally find something that looks like love to you, you’ll end up sabotaging it. And as hard as it may seem to do, don’t block your own blessings. When I first started liking Kaitlyn, there was a resistance to it. I didn’t want to admit that I liked you or potentially ruin our friendship. But then I started thinking about all the great things that would come out of our relationship that would outweigh all my concerns. And they did.
Kaitlyn: Patience is literally my biggest piece of advice. I believe that the only reason I saw David for who he was and opened my eyes to see the wonderful guy already at the proverbial IHOP table was because around that time I had accepted the idea of not “being single,” but being me. I was going to stop forcing it with guys that couldn’t care less about me, and I was going to let God do His thing. And then I turned around, and David was right there.
It's interesting to see the similarities between Kaitlyn and David's perspective on love in comparison to the other committed in college features. There isn't one cooking cutter way to finding love while in college and I'm glad that this series highlights this.