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Auntie Anna’s guide to adulting, pt 4: building relationships

Mar. 13, 2018
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Hello everybody! This week’s topic is probably one of my favorites to discuss. We are talking ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS. Last week we talked about friendship, so I thought it would only make sense to subsequently discuss the next, extra step to a friendship. Today’s focuses range from drawing “your own line” to online dating and hook-up culture to movies to watch and things to do on a first date!

In transitioning to adulthood, relationships can become a little more complicated. You’ve got to start recognizing a line between “casual” and “exclusive,” something I’ve only learned about since going to university.

Generally, people will have differing viewpoints and preferences regarding romantic involvement. I use the term “involvement” because a lot of the time, people get “involved” instead of having an actual relationship status. Whatever you do in relation to this matter is up to you, as it is nobody else’s business to judge or interfere with how you live your life! However, it’s always wise to draw “your own line” early on.

“Your own line” refers to the state of romantic involvement with which you are happy and comfortable. A friend of mine used to be in a long-distance, open relationship. And yes, it was as difficult and complicated as it sounded. She had never been in a long-distance relationship, let alone an open relationship—a pretty strange concept to a conservatively-raised 17-year-old. But because she was head over heels for the subject of her affection, prioritizing her happiness and comfort wasn’t important at that moment. We all can be caught up in the infatuation of the moment—but it’s vital to know what you want, what you’re looking for, and what you’re comfortable with. Let the other person know what you want and vice versa.  

Getting into relationships right now is very different than it was for other generations. Today, we’re (whether unfortunately or not is debatable) faced with online dating and hook-up culture.  

Online dating

Online dating refers to couples who meet on the internet or on dating apps and websites. In itself, this isn’t problematic. However, it certainly can cause some problems. Today, we like things fast, instant, and efficient. This coincides with how many people approach dating and romantic involvement. Life has become too busy and exciting for most to commit and settle down. On a bleak note, marriage is often compared to prison. Understandably, people enjoy complete freedom and a lack of responsibility. This mentality, though, leads many people to prioritize sexual satisfaction and the idea of being romantic over the genuine nature of connection and commitment. 

Connection and commitment have been, to an extent, forgotten due to their high maintenance and how time-consuming they can be. Millennial culture doesn’t mesh well with “time-consuming” ideas. Online dating can be a quick process—for example, with an app like Tinder, you can read the “biography” to get an idea of the person and check out their music taste if the person linked their Spotify. This efficiency comes with a great cost; that instant act of swiping left may eliminate your chance of getting to know someone who might be very compatible with you if their profile doesn’t show it. Moreover, online dating can pretty much take away the human interaction, which can be crucial as you’re getting to know someone.

Hook-up culture

This culture has only emerged in the 2000s, in this age of the internet and pop culture. The pornography industry has grown so much, and sex has become less of a taboo subject! However, the “hook-up culture” that has followed can have some destructive effects on the general dating attitude.

  1. Sex is the best for a romantic involvement. The prioritization of sex hinders the importance and value of connection and commitment. Intimacy should be viewed as an improved and elevated form of connection. “Hook-up culture” focuses on sex, purely the physical satisfaction. This values the sexual body parts, and may devalue the existence of an actual committed partner.
  2. Everybody is seeking short-term satisfaction. Although building a family isn’t for everyone, humans are creatures of groups and society. The belief system established by “hook-up culture” is that every romantic involvement is a one-use wipe. You might take the same wipe type or brand a second time, but it’s still a wipe that you would throw away—not a hand towel to keep! In short, hook-ups provide a short-term satisfaction, whereas a committed relationship serves as a long-term connection in which a person is romantically involved with their best friend.
  3. Expectations are lowered. Nowadays, many have lowered their expectations for a romantic partner or such an involvement due to the current societal nature of romance. “Hook-up culture” lessens the hope of people who are actually yearning for a committed relationship. This makes the idea of being “casually involved” or “non-exclusive” okay and expected amongst people. If dating isn’t for the purpose of being together, then it’s dating for the purpose of breaking up. And yes, we all have differing opinions on dating and romantic involvement. But don’t we all, in the end, seek connection and affirmation?


All those depressing thoughts aside, let’s talk about those of you who are getting to know someone and are preparing for a first date! This list is here to help you.

Things to do on a first date

  1. Have a cook-off, then a picnic. If you both enjoy cooking, this will be really fun. Plus, a laid-back activity will allow plenty of time to have good conversations.
  2. Go on a creative route! Walk around and explore the city, go to art galleries and take a ton of pictures, or check out music stores.
  3. Go on a fun route! Visit an amusement park, eat a ton of your favorite childhood foods, and watch a movie that isn’t romantic at the theater.
  4. Get breakfast, something light and refreshing. Go to a museum or a historic monument. Window shop small stores. 
  5. Play a sport together or attend a pottery class together (really, any activity you’d both enjoy) and get lunch.

4 good films to watch on a first date

  1. Up. This lighthearted animation portrays love and friendship, and it doesn’t focus entirely on a romantic relationship.
  2. 10 Things I Hate About You. A classic ‘90s film, this sweet comedy isn’t too much of a chick flick. The actors are charming and likable, so that will establish the tone of your date!
  3. Shawshank Redemption. The actors are phenomenal, and there will be plenty to discuss when you finish.
  4. Moon. This is a weird film that can easily be discussed because it touches on topics of morality, space, the human condition, isolation, and government.

And that’s a wrap. Thank you everyone for tuning into this week’s episode!