by Margo Borders
Professor Kerry Cronin gave her famous dating talk called “Bring Back the Date” on February 10 at an event sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society. The next night, she gave a follow-up talk called “Making the Move: Navigating Dating Transitions,” which was sponsored by the Church in the 21st Century. Cronin criticized the hookup culture at BC, challenged the students to go on a date, and spoke about the values that are important in decision-making in relationships.
In her classic “Bring Back the Date” talk, Cronin put students on any college campus into one of three categories. They are either in a “pseudo-married” relationship, hanging out or “talking,” or they are opting out of a relationship altogether. Cronin criticized these categories because they are missing the component of dating.
Students who want a less complicated relationship often decide to participate in the hookup culture, which Cronin argues is fueled by alcohol consumption. Students say that hooking up is casual and simple, but there are actually many rules. Cronin says that the most important rule is that there are no emotional expectations in the encounter. This hookup culture is so prevalent because it is what gives students credibility and a sense of belonging.
Cronin challenges this culture by giving a dating assignment to her Perspectives students and also those students who listen to her talk. She gives students two weeks to complete the assignment and a list of specific instructions about the date. She says that the assignment and her emphasis on dating are mostly about courage and encouraging students to step out of the BC hook-up culture.
In her talk “Making the Move: Navigating Dating Transitions,” Cronin explained that real navigating in relationships takes tension and attention. She encouraged students to pick an orienting point, or what matters most to them, to focus on throughout the relationship.
Cronin outlined three important transitions to focus on in relationships. The first one is stepping up. Stepping up to a relationship takes the virtue of courage, and can often be very difficult. The second is moving on, which is deciding whether to continue a relationship or break it off. This transition takes the virtue of trust, or being able to trust your own judgment in decision making. The last transition is breaking through, which is breaking through to a new phase of your relationship. This takes honesty with yourself and your partner.
Cronin emphasized the idea of self-knowledge in “making the move.” In order to have greater self-knowledge, we need to know what we desire and what we fear in these relationships. We should ask ourselves reflective questions and find one good friend to help us navigate our relationships.
What we need as our guiding point to look towards in our relationships is goodness. The ultimate aim of our relationships should be to gain the freedom to love better. Cronin acknowledged that she is asking us to go out and try to get our hearts broken, but she argued that nothing is more worth being scared about.
Cronin ended by quoting Pope Francis, who said that the most frightening thing is to make ourselves to be people who are not moved by somebody else. We need to be people who can show others that they matter. This applies to all kinds of relationships, and if we do not break through in these relationships, we risk being people who cannot be moved.