College Dating vs. Real Dating

3 12 2012
Ahhh... young love. So sweet.Photo Credit: CLEMagazine.com

Ahhh… young love. So sweet.
Photo Credit: CLEMagazine.com

College. Most of us remember it fondly, right? The parties. The exploration of various ideas. The prevalence of so many different folks who you would never have thought would become some of your best friends. It’s a truly awesome time in your life if you take the time to enjoy it. But there’s another aspect of college that I think has screwed up so many of us single folks in our late 20s that needs to be discussed.

Dating.

In college, dating means something entirely different than in real life. For some reason, 2 months all of a sudden feels like a year. And spending time in someone’s dorm room, watching TV or movies, is a more than acceptable practice in courting. And while it’s true that you’re “busy,” you still manage to find time to see that person at least 4 to 5 days out of the week. How could you not? Chances are the other person either lives in your dorm or you have mutual friends, and at the very least, you two are a part of this smaller city that functions on it’s own. (NOTE: If you went somewhere like University of Texas, this doesn’t apply to you. Although, you have to admit it’s pretty ridiculous to have a college span 2 zip codes, no? Okay… moving on.)

In college, it’s totally acceptable to drop by someone’s room without calling or call someone at 2am and ask them to come over. And you might even still think you two have a chance to be legit after that call. Ahhh such naivety, that college time.

In college, dating is also often very ambiguous. There’s no real rush to put a label on things, because you’re young and having fun and probably trying to get away from the high school way of dating which included calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend if you talked on the phone late at night for a whole week. It’s all about spontaneity and uncertainty and the breaking of dating rules – fun times, but kinda tumultuous.

But college dating is not real life dating. In real life, you both have jobs and responsibilities, and the chances of you seeing the person you’re interested in more than once a week (in the beginning stages) are pretty rare. Now, two months all of a sudden seems like 2 weeks, because the time you’ve spent with each other probably amounts to that much. In real life dating, you have to find a way to venture through meeting the men who want to marry you immediately and the men who just want to hang, oh and the men who are just liars.

Real life dating involves figuring out each others’ schedules and planning drinks or coffee or dinner. It means determining if this is someone you actually want to continue getting to know. It means being told by magazines and friends that you should be dating to date, but also shouldn’t be wasting your time with people you wouldn’t eventually want to marry.

Real life dating rarely ever includes talking on the phone to the wee hours of the night, and when it does, it’s so shocking to your system, you probably don’t know what to do with yourself. Real life dating involves setting “standards” and letting him know that 2am phone call won’t be happening anytime soon, because you’re so intent on eliminating the uncertainty that was prevalent during the college dating.

Real life dating is supposed to be the better of the two. And yet, it just all seems so much less… I don’t know… fun. Is it just me? For some reason, I feel like real life dating, or should I call it, adult dating, has become so structured and so… for lack of a better word, adult. And I think part of why it seems so adult is because of the college dating that we have to look back on in comparison. Even though that aspect of dating was usually no where near healthy, it seems so much more lively than dating as an adult. Don’t get me wrong, dating as an adult can be lots of fun with the right person, but if you’re anything like me, the time you spent dating in college has screwed up your brain so much, you can’t even enjoy it like you want to now.

Am I alone in this? How do you think dating in college has influenced your current dating life?

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