NU students explore dating and relationships on and off the athletic field


Madison Smith/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg senior Grace Hauser and McCormick senior Zaddeen Benaissa. For Northwestern couples navigating living and playing sports together, the Frisbee House sometimes doubles as a locale for date night.

Katherine McDonnell, Reporter

Weinberg senior Grace Hauser and McCormick senior Zaddeen Benaissa are gearing up to celebrate their three-year anniversary at home –– in the “Frisbee House,” which they share with 10 of their fellow teammates.

The couple lived together in Hauser’s family home over portions of the pandemic and said they felt prepared to move in together for the entire year. Since they have eight housemates, Hauser said she feels grateful to have a partner to vent to about roommate problems.

“With your partner, you can talk about issues in the house and figure out what boundaries you would like to create during house meetings,” Hauser said.

Hauser said living, practicing and competing with team members and a significant other has been a positive experience so far, though it requires communication and patience.

“A really big concern is that if bad stuff is happening between you and your significant other it will affect other people in the house,” Hauser said. “If you’re working stuff out with someone, you don’t want to bring negativity into the entire space.”

For another couple living in the Frisbee House, balancing a new relationship in a house of friends takes priority. Weinberg senior Nick Manting started dating SESP junior Olivia Poole in August. The two agreed that starting a relationship while also moving in together could pose challenges.

Like Hauser, Manting said living in a communal space with a partner and teammates requires effective communication and lots of reflection.

“When you do live with a significant other, you’re spending a lot of time with each other,” Manting said. “If anything becomes an issue, it becomes an issue faster.”

As a co-captain of the women’s ultimate frisbee team, Hauser sets an example for fellow teammates by applying what she’s learned through her relationship to leading a team.

She said setting intentional boundaries regarding space and time with your significant other can help foster a healthy relationship and a positive team atmosphere.

“Be cautionary about still making social time outside of each other,” Hauser said. “It can be very easy to seclude yourself to only having social time with that person, or to isolate yourself from other friends.”

Manting said he views conflict resolution as a constant work in progress, both at home and on the field. 

Poole agreed that living with a significant other, regardless of how long you’ve been dating, teaches lessons that can apply to all kinds of relationships, whether romantic or platonic. She’s learned to prioritize finding time to be alone with herself and pursue her hobbies and interests.

It’s also important to make time to surround yourself with different people, she said. 

“You want to navigate being in a relationship and being able to see that person 24/7,” Poole said. “But also navigate spending time with other people who are important to you.”

Despite the challenges that come with navigating a new relationship in a new house, Manting said he has faith that listening to and understanding the other people he’s living with, including his girlfriend, will alleviate any issues that may arise.

“(Relationships) can be tough and they can be a lot of fun, and that’s only amplified when you’re living with each other,” Manting said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KatherineMcD33

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