Dating from a CLE Student’s Perspective

Let’s Talk About Dating

by Galen Chun, Psy.D. Director of Psychological Services CLE Davie, Florida

Robert, in his second year at CLE Davie talks about his dating experiences.

In your experience, what has been the single most helpful thing you have learned about dating?

I have learned how to have standards. When I began dating I did not have a lot of confidence. I reasoned that I should not have any standards so I could find THE ONE. What I learned about having no standards is that I found a lot of women but not necessarily the right one for me.

Robert at CLE Davie

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a date?

I had been hanging out with this girl for about a week and we really hit it off at first. She had a few issues but so does everyone, so I thought. After the fifth date we reached the breaking point. We were at a museum sitting outside on swing chairs. It came down to a small argument about her planning out my entire day without letting me know. As the argument progressed she began to swing more aggressively while yelling in sync with her swings. When I suggested spending less time together she ended up cursing me out. There were children present and all I wanted her to do was to stop swearing. Needless to say, we parted ways. On the bright side, I found the best pizza place in my life across the street. Later that night she texted me asking if I would be man enough to handle a relationship with her. I asked if that involved cursing at me again and she said, “I don’t know . . . Maybe!” I then decided it was not going to work out. I don’t need aggressive swingers in my life.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you on a date?

My first date with my current girlfriend we went to see “Paul Blart, Mall Cop Part 2” We had some time beforehand so we spent it at Chuck E Cheese playing games. We played a cooperative game that rated our compatibility and we got a 76%. We both did terrible in the game but I knew from that point forward that we would be a good match. I love that we can laugh and enjoy spending time with one another.

How important is communication in your relationship?

As someone with NLD I have some specific preferences about how I organize things. I work so much better when I am able to communicate this with my girlfriend. For me, my mental clarity is related to how organized things are such as making sure my kitchen is clean before I cook. We have had to learn compromise given she has more relaxed views on putting things away. At first I was taking on all the cleaning myself and getting stressed out. I learned to ask her for help to clean up when our stuff gets cluttered. To my surprise it was really that simple to solve the problem.

What would you say to other people who are struggling with dating?

Do not feel pressure to need to be with someone. Loneliness is a real thing, but don’t let that stop you from developing friendships. I have found that rushing relationship milestones cheapens the relationship. It is much better for the relationship to develop organically. There are no checklists or deadlines, it is about getting to know the other person and seeing if it is a good fit.

Newsletter Articles – Newsletter 2015

John and Ryan - friends at CLE Austin

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends
by Julie Burke, CLE Austin

What is a friendship? [image]

Friends at CLE Rockville learning reciprocity

Whether it is a friendship or something more, reciprocity is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. What is social reciprocity? As the name implies, reciprocity consists of a back and forth. In a social context, reciprocity can be described as an exchange of gestures, which can be verbal or nonverbal, where each person mirrors a response from the other.

Social reciprocity can be seen in everyday interactions, beginning with a simple, “Hello, how are you?” You can answer, “Fine,” and leave it at that – but a better, and more reciprocal, response would be, “I’m fine, how are you?” This give-and-take shows interest in the other person and openness to continuing the exchange. Reciprocity can be seen in more complex interactions as well, such as picking out a birthday present. All sorts of factors are taken into account, from how well do you know this person and his or her likes and interests, to how much is it appropriate to spend based on past interactions and how much they may have spent on you? Social reciprocity is all about balance.

Ellie at CLE Denver discusses gender identity

Ellie is a student at College Living Experience who identifies as a transgender woman. She was comfortable with me using her real name. Ellie is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree from Metro State University this semester, and was generous to take a few minutes away from her academic workload to describe the impact of gender identity on relationship dynamics.

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