School’s out for the summer, but it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the excitement of college dating. Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship or a summer fling, the reasons for being open to dating over the summer are numerous.
“It’s human instinct to long for and want to connect to another person,” said Dr. Karen Ruskin, relationship expert, author and psychotherapist. “We are relational human beings and when you feel bonded and connected to another person, it helps you strengthen your ‘relational muscle,’ so when you go back to school you feel strong, uplifted.”
Dr. Ruskin explained that bonding is important in engaging and maintaining our body’s emotional and physical needs, especially while our priorities may be slightly altered during time away from school.
Dating also attributes to our self confidence; “We are who we are in relationship to others and we are who we are in relationship to who we think we are within that relationship,” she added.
Not only does dating affect how we feel about ourselves, but also, our partner reinforces whatever we might believe to be true about ourselves when we enjoy our time with him or her and find that they share some of our interests.
“I think people should date over the summer because you never know what could happen. Many people have summer flings, but one of those could turn into a serious relationship,” said Connie Tang, a senior at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “I met my boyfriend at my job, which I started one summer. I never expected to end up in a long-term relationship, but we've been together now for almost three years. It's one of the best things that's ever happened to me.”
Dating over the summer not only brings about new experiences, but Dr. Ruskin added that by “relishing” in those experiences brought by a relationship, it can allow a renewal and focus once you get back to school in the fall.
So how can we gain the confidence to reach out during the summer, either while on vacation, at our job and internships, or even at home?
Dr. Ruskin advised to make three lists: one with qualities you like about yourself, another with things that would be unacceptable in a relationship, and one with qualities you would like to find in someone. Once you have these lists, you can “decide what it is that you feel you can do today that will make yourself emotionally and physically comfortable to be able to go out and have your eyes out to all three of these subjects.”