The Dating GameNCHS Superintendent’s Notes – OCt. 19, 2016

By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99

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The world nearly came to an end a few weeks ago. Devastating news swept the airwaves. “Brangelina” had come to an end. That’s right. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are splitsville. Who could have seen that coming? Jennifer Aniston perhaps. America’s couple has decoupled and a nation mourns.

In high school, date mates are interesting to watch. It seems that the happiest couples are those who are secure enough to let each other breathe. They have a great time together but they also are likely to hang out with friends as well. They agree to allow each other to enjoy their different interests without resenting the interest for taking away from “together time”.

On the other hand, there are those couples who are convinced that they will surely die if they don’t have a constant eye on each other. As a guidance counselor, I would see the lovebirds come in to make sure they had every class together. It was critical that they had the same lunch period together. It was the only way they could keep their heart from exploding while they were forced to sit in their classes without talking. There is nothing like the sight of lovebirds making “goo goo eyes” with each other over a plate of chicken nuggets. It is almost enough to make one forget the demise of “Brangelina”. Ah, but then…….the break up!

As I would sit at my counselor’s desk, there would be a weak knock at the door. Enter only one! That is right. The lovebird fled to the guidance office without their mate. I would think to myself…..”Please tell me it isn’t so”. But, alas, the question of the broken-hearted…..”Can I change my schedule”? Oh, the honeymoon had passed. The unthinkable had happened. The loving trust had been broken. Yes, they saw their mate speaking to one of the 200 classmates of the opposite sex between classes. Even worse, laughter between the two was a sure sign of infidelity. In the eyes of many high school romances, there is an assumed “no-contact order” as it relates to any member of the opposite sex in effect once coupling has been declared. A violation of this order spells heartbreak for the lovebird….and heartburn for the guidance counselor.

I want to be clear. I’m not “anti-dating”. Healthy relationships are wonderful. The key for young people is to understand that healthy relationships allow both partners to be fulfilled. Dating doesn’t cancel out the need for other friendships. Friendships can be with the opposite sex without it leading to romantic feelings. Dating isn’t supposed to cancel out family time. Dating isn’t supposed to replace our periodic times when we just need to be alone. A healthy relationship means supporting each other, not smothering each other. Dating isn’t about controlling the other person. Controlling another person isn’t a sign of love. It is a sign of insecurity and a preliminary indicator of an abusive relationship.

As I walk the hallways, I wonder which of our NCHS couples are headed for happiness and which are headed for the land of “Brangelina”. Based on observation, I have an idea. I wonder if they do??

The Dating Game