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.