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Dating in College: Expectation vs. Reality

Dating in College: Expectation vs. Reality

College is viewed in a completely different way before and after you attend. While kids and teenagers envision a place where they can run wild and free, adults look back at it as a valuable experience where they learned the necessary lessons to prepare for life. The reality is somewhere in the middle.

Dating has its own misconceptions, and dating in college gets even crazier. If you’re looking for real talk about sex, dating, and love in college, look no further. Here’s the perception and reality of dating in college.

1. Finding the One

Expectation: 

    Kids have this vision of a perfect person. They’re not looking for just any mate–they’re looking for that perfect soul mate. After hearing every set of parents discuss how they met and fell in love, kids have a perception that their ideal fantasy hook-up can and will happen.

    Reality: 

      Hindsight is 20/20. When adults reflect back on how they fell in love with their partner, they tell you an abbreviated 10-minute version of a story that took them 20 years (multiply by 525,600 to see how many minutes) to live through. They’re leaving out the parts where they desperately fantasized about celebrities or the popular girls in school. Real people are much different–keep your expectations in check.

      2. Sexting

      Expectation: 

        When you get someone’s number, you get excited, no matter how cool you try to act. You want to imagine the other person being equally giddy to hear from you. You start with some flirty messages, and the next thing you know, you’re sending nudes and suggestive texts. If they respond, they must be into it.

        Reality: 

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          Sexting is awkward. The least sexy thing I can do is play on my phone. Trying to replicate a sexual experience through text is a waste of time and it makes everyone uncomfortable. Save it for the date.

          3. Romance

          Expectation: 

            Now that everyone’s a mature adult over the age of 18, you imagine having creative and romantic encounters with mature college men and women. These are the cream of our nation’s crop, so they’ll have their act together and know how to treat you right.

            Reality: 

              College guys are selfish and ignorant, while the girls are clumsy and awkward. Nobody knows what they’re doing. They are all still just students, albeit older ones. Thirty-year-olds looks back at their college selves the same way college students looks back at their preteen selves.

              4. The First Kiss

              Expectation: 

                All the Hollywood movies make it look like the first kiss is the most important indicator of whether or not a relationship will last. So much pressure is put on that first kiss, and you want to see fireworks like you’ve always heard.

                Reality: 

                  You don’t realize how bad college students are at kissing until you kiss them. Kiss enough of them, and you’ll get better. Unfortunately, they’ll still try too hard to replicate what they’ve seen in the media and on the Internet.

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                  5. College Girls

                  Expectation: 

                    College girls are real women. These strong, smart, and sophisticated women must be like the ones on Sex and the City. You’re no longer dealing with the misguided and annoying teenage girls you grew up with–you’re in the big leagues.

                    Reality: 

                      These “women” may sound intelligent (and are likely quoting something they learned in their freshman Sociology class about how they are), but they’re every bit the same mess you are. They’re out of their parents’ house for the first time, and they’re learning how to act. It takes baby steps to maturity, and they’re not even close, no matter what some guy told them to get in their pants.

                      6. College Guys

                      Expectation: 

                        Tired of all those silly boys trying to lie their way into your pants, you’ve finally reached college–a place where you can date real men. These men are intelligent, witty, and sophisticated. It’s so refreshing to be surrounded by scholars and academics. Finally you can have an intelligent conversation with like-minded people who like you for your brains instead of your body.

                        Reality

                          The only thing worse than walking by those ignorant construction workers making cat calls at you is walking by a frat house. College guys are as sophisticated as a Twinkie. They may have ambition and all these great ideas, but they’re none of those things they say they are–they just aspire to be. The odds of them actually achieving these goals are slim, and they’re grossly unprepared to rise above the flock. Also, guys of every age are just trying to get in your pants; some are just willing to treat you like a human being to get there.

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                          7. First Date

                          Expectation: 

                            Dating is so exciting–from dinner and a movie to attending a festival or event, each date is an adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Every detail has to be planned and perfect. You’re going to have such a great time.
                            Reality: 

                              A movie will set you back $20, dinner is another $50, and you’ll waste a quarter tank of gas traveling between the two. Everything costs money these days, and popular date ideas are even more expensive. If you’re lucky enough to have a job while in school, it doesn’t pay well. If you want to afford that lifestyle, you better start selling your plasma…or drugs…

                              8. Sex Life

                              Expectation:

                              couple bed

                                The colleges and universities on TV are filled with beautiful people attending huge parties and orgies. You may have left high school a virgin, but when you get to college, you’re going to get laid all the time. It’ll be exciting!

                                Reality: 

                                  You’re still you. If you lack confidence and common sense, you’re going to have just as hard a time getting laid in college as you did in high school. Your crush is dating a professor by the time you build the nerve to talk to her. If you’re lucky enough to hook up with someone, you probably sucked at it, and you’re unlikely to get a call back.

                                  9. The Morning After

                                  Expectation:

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                                    Having finished a wild night of passion, you just want to relax and lay next to someone. Maybe they’ll cuddle up a little bit, but not so much that you feel smothered. Who would’ve thought you’d bump into a successful music producer or investor at a party? You were drunk, but you managed to land a dime.

                                    Reality:

                                    what did i do

                                      Is this person male or female? What did I drink last night? It was a bad idea to snort coke off a stripper’s stomach. I gotta get outta here. Wait, I live here–I need to get them out of here before my roommates wake up.

                                      10. The End

                                      Expectation: 

                                        Maybe we’ll get married and start a family. If not, we’ll end things amicably and remain friends for the rest of our lives.

                                        Reality:

                                        hate everything

                                          Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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                                          Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                                          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                                          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                                          A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

                                          You know how this looks:

                                          • Parents constantly comparing children.
                                          • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
                                          • Domestic violence.
                                          • Adultery…
                                          • And many others.

                                          For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

                                          Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

                                          Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

                                          This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

                                          In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

                                          If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

                                          How to fix a dysfunctional family

                                          In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

                                          And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

                                          Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

                                          It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

                                          Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

                                          Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

                                          There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

                                          Dysfunctional… Or just average?

                                          Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

                                          The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

                                          You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

                                          A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

                                          Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

                                          Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

                                          • Unrealistic expectations
                                          • Lack of interest and time spent together
                                          • Sexism
                                          • Utilitarianism
                                          • Lack of empathy
                                          • Unequal or unfair treatment
                                          • Disrespect towards boundaries
                                          • Control Issues
                                          • Jealousy
                                          • Verbal and physical abuse
                                          • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

                                          You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

                                          If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

                                          Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

                                          How to turn it around

                                          When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

                                          But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

                                          One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

                                          We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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                                          As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

                                          What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

                                          Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

                                          Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

                                          Correction is possible

                                          In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

                                          Verbalize it.

                                          All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

                                          Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

                                          This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

                                          But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

                                          So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

                                          Putting it to work in real life

                                          In real life it would be something like this:

                                          “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

                                          Or:

                                          “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

                                          Or:

                                          “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

                                          As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

                                          This is what you have to remember:

                                          1-Stop.

                                          2-Why it’s wrong?

                                          3-What you need.

                                          And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

                                          It’s a family thing

                                          A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

                                          Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

                                          In other words, you will need cooperation…

                                          So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

                                          Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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                                          We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

                                          You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

                                          It’s not a free-for-all battle

                                          In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

                                          No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

                                          Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

                                          And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

                                          The method

                                          1. Drop the ego

                                          Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

                                          You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

                                          Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

                                          What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

                                          It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

                                          After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

                                          Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

                                          Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

                                          Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

                                          And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

                                          You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

                                          2. Not blame, but responsibility

                                          When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

                                          But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

                                          When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

                                          What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

                                          Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

                                          As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

                                          You will do something like this:

                                          “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

                                          I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

                                          You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

                                          I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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                                          It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

                                          What happened here?

                                          We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

                                          We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

                                          We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

                                          And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

                                          You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

                                          This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

                                          3. Doing the work

                                          What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

                                          This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

                                          Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

                                          If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

                                          It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

                                          “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

                                          I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

                                          But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

                                          You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

                                          Love is all you need

                                          You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

                                          That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

                                          And what happens if it simply is not there?

                                          What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

                                          What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

                                          There is only one thing you can do:

                                          To break away.

                                          Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

                                          There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

                                          “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

                                          If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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                                          Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

                                          You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

                                          Putting distance

                                          So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

                                          What do I mean?

                                          Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

                                          Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

                                          Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

                                          Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

                                          They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

                                          Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

                                          I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

                                          I choose my peace of mind.

                                          And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

                                          Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

                                          Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

                                          How to prevent it

                                          There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

                                          • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
                                          • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

                                          Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

                                          You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

                                          Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

                                          Priorities and clear thought

                                          You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

                                          You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

                                          You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

                                          Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

                                          If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

                                          And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

                                          Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

                                          But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

                                          Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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