Via Wiki­media Commons

We’ve all seen them: that couple that’s not actually a couple taking walks around campus, studying together in the library, and somehow always ending up at the same tables in Saga. They’re not dating, but clearly at least one of them is roman­ti­cally inter­ested in the other. It’s ridiculous, it can’t go on forever, it doesn’t seem right. How can we pos­sibly put a stop to this absurdity for both of their sakes and for the sake of all of campus?

It almost seems that every student on this campus has a dif­ferent idea about Hillsdale’s big “dating problem” and how to solve it. We blame Hills­dating, men, women, the severity with which stu­dents view dating, the lack of severity with which stu­dents view dating, friend­zoning, never being friends — the list goes on and on.

Last week, both Brendan Clarey and Lauren Blunt offered great argu­ments about the dating culture here, but each argued com­pletely dif­ferent things. As a school full of bright and opin­ionated stu­dents, we like to think that we know best about every­thing — espe­cially when it’s some­thing that hits as per­sonally as our romantic lives — but do we really know what’s best for everyone else?

I know I have been a huge culprit in this. Every time the subject comes up, I’m not afraid to make my posi­tions known to those around me, but I always have a dif­ferent idea of what the problems and solu­tions are. It always comes down to my romantic rela­tion­ships at the time or the rela­tion­ships of those around me. I gen­erally blame whatever problem I encounter on “the problem,” but seek a solution that specif­i­cally fits my sit­u­ation.

Now as a senior, I’ve found that the problems and solu­tions have changed a lot: I’ve had the unat­tainable crushes, I’ve Hills­dated, I’ve real dated, I’ve seen friends find their spouses, and I’ve seen many more friends get their hearts broken. What I’ve learned is that every person — and therefore every rela­tionship — is dif­ferent. We like to think that there might be one big problem, and therefore one magical solution might make it all better. We like to think that because one thing works for us, it will work for everyone. We like to think that we can know what’s best for everyone else’s lives, but it’s simply not true.

In some instances, Hills­dating actually works out. In others, it seems selfish. Some­times friend­zoning is a serious problem, but others have good reasons why they aren’t dating that good friend. Casual dating might be the solution for some people, but some people really struggle to casually date.

Absolute truth does exist. There are real things that can apply to every rela­tionship, for instance: chastity, trust in God, and the impor­tance of for­giveness and self sac­rifice… and maybe no more PDA in the Student Union. Other than that, every person and rela­tionship is dif­ferent. We can play match­maker and give per­sonal rela­tionship advice left and right, but ulti­mately, God is the only one who knows best.

Rela­tion­ships are a huge. They knock us off our feet. They make us angry, sad, and over­joyed. They teach us how to love. Some people graduate from Hillsdale with a spouse, others graduate without going on a single date, and most of us end up some­where in between. There’s really nothing wrong with any one of those cir­cum­stances, but there is some­thing wrong with just blaming some over­ar­ching “problem” for the cir­cum­stances we’ve been given.