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Dating 246Fostering meaningful romantic relationships 

From a blog by Institute of Family Studies

There is a documentary that was recently shown in the USA called 'The Dating Project' made by the same producer that produced The Passion of Christ and Braveheart. It features Dr. Kerry Cronin who teaches philosophy at Boston College. She is known as the 'Dating Professor'. She noticed that her students did not know how to date and this was leading to very casual relationships. With a high proportion of society single, people had become frustrated in love, but did not really know how to connect in today’s virtual world.

The Dating Project follows five single people, ages 18-40, as they search for authentic and meaningful relationships. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness in an age of swiping left or right. The interviewees were candid about their hopes for meaningful romantic relationships, as well as their insecurities and flaws and sadness about their current romantic situations.

Dr. Cronin's classroom explanations of the levels of dating are as follows:

  • Level 1 (casual, yet intentional date - defined as no longer than 60 to 90 minutes, light, get-to-know-you conversation only, no alcohol or physical affection beyond an A-frame hug allowed (shoulders touch, not full body embrace), the invitation must use the word “date,” be in person, not over text, and whoever asks, pays)
  • Level 2 (exclusive dating) and
  • Level 3 (emotional interdependence, often headed toward marriage)

These give her students, who admit to feeling very uncertain about how to date, clear expectations and rules. The result: a number of students say on film that the feeling they got asking a person on a date was greater than any feelings they’ve experienced in the hook-up culture.

As well as demonstrating the need for education on dating, the questions asked in the film interviews provoked reflection by the interviewees, which resulted in positive shifts in their mindsets and actions concerning dating.

Dr. Cronin’s assignment has generated a fair bit of popularity on campus, and for good reasons. Cronin poignantly speaks to the unhappiness of most students concerning the hook-up culture and the loneliness and confusion it creates, while offering them a simple solution to their dating lives. “Dating takes social courage,” Dr. Cronin told the Boston Globe, “and we need to teach our young people the virtue of social courage. This documentary opens a conversation that a lot of single people are wanting to be part of.”

The film shows that when considerate friends and family ask the right questions and actively listen, they can help bring about mindset and behaviour shifts in young adults that can diminish their passive participation in the hookup culture and motivate them to actively pursue more intentional relationships.

More details here.

Watch a 3 min trailer here:

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From a blog by Institute of Family Studies, 12/06/2018

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