Dear Shelly

By on February 20, 2003

Dear Shelly,

I am pretty frustrated with dating on such a small campus. Maybe it has to do with this close knit “everyone knows your name” environment.

I have recently started dating my girlfriend, and since then it feels as outsiders have become more involved with our relationship. She and I know quite a bit of people, but I want to date her and not the whole student body.

What should I do?

–Frustrated at Quinn

Dear Frustrated,

So you are involved in a new relationship and you are tired of hearing the buzz. Yes, some might be nosy, but your true friends are probably just genuinely interested in your newest relationship.

Especially if you are dating another student, you are bound to run into friends or common acquaintances that recognize your affection for one another. You really should have nothing to hide.

If you are truly interested, then you should be able to admit it to your new affection. I mean, she does make you happy, right?

So it could be possible that you and your mate met through a particular organization or social activity. If you two share a common interest, it is the first stepping-stone to get to know each other.

It also leaves room for fellow members to take interest in the germinating love affair. Lets face it, if the two of you have several meetings a week together, or you visit her doing office hours, co-workers are going to speculate and question your involvement.

But once again, you understand their interest and only distribute as much information as you see fit. It is not necessary to tell all to the curious.

In the present moment you might feel that through this commitment you have just received an assemblage of comrades out of convenience.

Though you may not like all of her sorority sisters or appreciate the extra attention given in your direction, remember that it might be important to her that people in her life get to know you as well.

You may not realize this, but we do like to brag about our boyfriends.

Maybe what should be further scrutinized is the context of what is being discussed. Set guidelines in the beginning of the relationship defining discussable topics and those that should be confidential.

I tell only my closets confidents almost all, but nothing to humiliate my partner. It’s just out of respect. The respect you share for your own relationship is the exact manner that you extend to others.

You can ask your friends how it is all progressing, but do not dig deep for details. Some things should just not be shared.

The source of your frustration might be the ‘flies’ that swarm the episodes of the relationship. Some are looking and hovering because they have an ulterior motive.

I hate to doubt an innocent bystander, but some may wait for the first sign of instability, keeping their enemies close and then creep in on the scene.

Most likely it truly is just an overbearing acquaintance that is trying to display his or her genuine concern by asking your plans for the weekend.

Of course if your friend is dating someone new, you are going to make a judgment of this potential relationship.

We want our friends (and of course ourselves) to be happy. Accepting your friend’s partner as your own friend is a common courtesy.

Who knows? You may end up being involved with your partner and his or her friends for months or years. But your most central priority as the friend of the couple is to know your place.

Let them know you are there to listen. You will learn enough in time without having to ask questions.

Best of luck-



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