Learning Limits: College Women, Drugs, and Relationships

By Kimberly M. Williams | Go to book overview

sometimes painful, as Lee described. Jude, Maggie, and Hetty each described this loss of their male friends to academic dismissal as difficult. Loss of male friends, like separating or breaking up with boyfriends, was difficult but several women experienced it.


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT DRUGS AND ROMANCE

The theme that emerged for nearly all of the women was the important role of drugs in these women's relationships with men. For White and Asian women, alcohol and cigarettes were often an integral part of romantic pursuits, but rarely was any other drug mentioned in relation to romance (with the exception of Ecstasy described in the next chapter). The Black and Latina women did not mention boyfriends or their seeking of boyfriends as often in their journals as the White or Asian women did. Nevertheless, in their interviews, Zoie and Alana spent a considerable amount of time describing their ex-boyfriends and current boyfriends and the role of drugs in these relationships. None of the Black and Latina women described any drugs as playing a facilitating role in their romantic endeavors, but many of the White and Asian women did.

Romantic relationships were very important to these women, and drug use sometimes made these relationships easier and more fun, but more often difficult and painful. Drugs played an important role during many of these women's efforts to find romance and permanent boyfriends--that is, during the "hooking up" process. Second, various drugs made negotiating the boyfriend--girlfriend relationship difficult as boyfriends often encouraged their girlfriends to use drugs at the same levels as they did. The emphasis placed on finding and keeping boyfriends had serious implications for some of these women in terms of body image, sexual violence, and codependency because women often placed themselves in situations that were physically and emotionally dangerous. Finally, breaking up was difficult to do, but in some cases when drug use was "out of control" or women became increasingly uncomfortable with their boyfriends' drug use, they broke up with them.

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