By Lorena Roberts, Uloop
If you’re the parent of a college student, you must know that they’re dating. College is the experience of a lifetime, and it’ll teach you a lot about yourself, and one of the ways it’s most different from high school is the dating scene. If you went to college, you probably remember what it was like to learn what it means to be in an adult relationship. No longer are you relying on curfews and your parent’s permission to go out with someone.
So college is a time to explore who you are, who you’re attracted to, and what qualities are most important when it comes to finding a life partner. But with conversations across the country about sexual assault arising, and the obvious statement that sexual assault happens on college campuses much more often than we truly know about, you should consider what your student is going through as they date in college.
According to a recent press release, the app iApprove is being used across the country to manage a consenting relationship between two adults. The app puts both partners on record about what they are comfortable with and gives couples an option to define what their relationship is — whether it’s casual… or not.
“You’re not in high school, so if something goes wrong you can’t call your parents to come pick you up or simply drive home,” says University of Southern California (USC) senior Elizabeth Pritzker. “You’re on your own, handling the dating scene for the first time.”
Some tips from upperclassmen about college dating include:
Choose a neutral place for the first meeting.
– As students use dating apps more and more to meet each other, it’s important that your college student chooses a place that’s neutral on their campus to meet their date for the first time. Probably a public place with lots of traffic in case things get hairy.
Think about what you do and do not want in a college relationship.
– Your student should consider what they’re looking for. If they didn’t date much in high school, now is probably the time for them to explore. But maybe your student likes to be committed, and dating one person is what they’re looking for. This should be established before your student enters the college dating scene.
Actually talk to each other.
– Communication is key when it comes to dating in college. Playing games isn’t fun for anyone.
Don’t get wasted.
– Though this may seem obvious, your student may not know how tough it is to draw clear lines in the sand when intoxicated. Making decisions about dating while drunk is never a good idea.
Think twice about dating roommates’ friends.
– Dating the friends of roommates can be awkward if things don’t work out. Encourage your student to consider this option before they accept an invite to coffee.
– “ghosting” is when you simply ignore someone’s efforts to reach out — and basically disappear off the face of the earth. It’s a very immature way to handle dating — especially in college. This isn’t high school anymore.
When your student is clear about their needs and expectations, they can really enjoy being with the other person and dating. “When you feel confident that you’ve gotten the hard-to-discuss stuff out of the way, you can focus on getting to know each other,” Elizabeth says. “That tension about consent and ‘will we or won’t we’ goes away. It makes dating much more fun – the way it should be.”
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