Explaining college dating to your family isn't the easiest thing to do. To be completely honest, it's ridiculously frustrating. As a freshly single college student, I've quickly realized that parents tend to have a hard time grasping college dating life. It's not for lack of trying! I can attest to the fact that my family has definitely tried to understand. The problem is us single college kids find it difficult to describe our dating lives to our parents. Maybe we're worried they won't get it, that they'll judge us, or that they'll be way too involved. Whatever the case is, it's hard to find the right words to let our parents know what we're up to while still feeling like we're keeping our independence and being treated like an adult.
I did us all a favor and put exactly what we've been trying to say all along into just the right words.
(Keep this in mind: college hookup culture is a different story all to itself, and while its definitely a thing and does sometimes play a part in the realm of dating, this article is strictly speaking about the dating itself.)
Yes, parents, we are dating.
What does this mean exactly? It means that we are single and open to meeting new people. It means we're excited to get to know others, to be social, and to have a good time. No, this doesn't mean that every date is an instant love connection. The whole point of dating for most of us is to see what is out there: we are trying to figure out what attributes we like in others and discover ones we aren't too fond of. We are trying to learn what our type is, what we want out of a potential partner, and what we would like out of our futures. Some of us aren't interested in being tied down to one person right now. Some of us are trying to find ourselves first before committing to someone else. Others of us are looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right!
Either way, it's up to us (and only us) to decide if we are actively searching for a partner or using dating as a learning experience and a tool for personal growth.
We might go on a date with someone more than once- this doesn't mean we are in a relationship.
We might go out on dates with multiple different people in a short time frame- this is completely normal. Stop reading into it as if it is a bad thing.
We might still talk or even hang out with people that we've dated- sometimes people click, but not romantically. It's normal for us to want to build friendships with others if we feel there is a platonic bond there.
I know it's your job as parents to be worried about your children. You want the best for us, you want us to make wise decisions, and most importantly you want us to be happy. It's important for you to know that we are adults now; we have to take charge of our lives, to find ourselves, and to find our own happiness. We are bound to make a few mistakes along the way, to have a couple of broken hearts, and to have our fair share of bad dates. You have to let us suffer through those experiences so we can grow from them.
So yes, we are dating. Please let us go through this chapter of our lives on our own and know that we are doing our best to make the right decisions for ourselves.