Dating Before Graduation

Hello Coffee Breakers, welcome to my first Tuesday dating column! This week I’ll be tackling an issue that a lot of you might be experiencing now: how can we date before we graduate?

I’m about two months away from receiving my college degree. Of course, this is amazing and exciting—I can’t wait to cross the stage in my silly cap and gown and shake the Dean’s hand—but the event looms like an impassable mountain before me. Not long ago a guy in a year below me ended things with me for what turned out to be entirely stupid reasons, but he made a valid point: “Besides,” he said, “you’re graduating in like, what, not even three months? What was going to happen?” I have to admit, I had no answer to that. I see people on campus that I’m interested in, but the second I think about what might end up happening all I can see is me, in that cap and gown, walking off that stage and away from college, never to return.

I’m sure many of you are in a similar boat. Spring is time for commencement, and while commencement means beginning, it technically means an end to a period of our lives as well. But even if you’re not graduating, the summer months can present a challenge to a new relationship. What if you’re taking off on an amazing summer-long worldwide adventure? What if it’s your last summer before college? If you’re moving to a new city for a summer internship? It seems tempting to simply shrug and say “Oh well, it’s not the right time, I just won’t try.” Sometimes that might be the right choice for where you’re at. But most of the time I think there’s a way to look at dating in a way that doesn’t need to be defined by a rigid time frame.

Instead of getting into a new dating situation with the idea that it will either turn into a Big Relationship or it will die off into nothing, why don’t we daters on a schedule look at this imminent change as an opportunity to simply meet people without expectation? If I stop myself from thinking there’s no point to starting anything because it will have to end, I’m not seeing people for who they really are. I’m seeing someone as only a potential relationship. To show off my college cred—I didn’t pay this much for nothing!—I’ll make a brief reference to Immanuel Kant, who stated that we must see people as ends in themselves, not a means to an end. If I let a big change shut me off from possible dating experiences, I’m only seeing people in the ways they might serve me. In other words, I’m only seeing them as possible boyfriends, not actual people I might want to spend time with.

How can I, or anyone on the cusp of a big life change, get into the headspace required to see someone as en end in themselves, not a means to an end? It will take a few simple steps.

1.Take it day by day. Cliché advice, but a pretty big kernel of truth is hidden in there. Every day presents us with new opportunities. Even though each day moves us closer to the date of our Big Move, those are whole, complete days that are full of possibilities.

2.Realize you aren’t defined by the move. I am Vanessa Martini, a person who loves books and picnics and cat videos, not just a person who will soon be graduated. If someone I meet likes the things I like, that’s great.

3.Try to see each person in this way, too. That guy you’ve started to flirt with isn’t just someone to flirt with. He’s a person with interests and feelings just like you are. If you like talking to him, don’t you want to get to know him better?

4.See the “deadline” as a chance at total freedom. Think of it this way: when else will you get the chance to be totally honest with a person, go on crazy adventures, and maybe embarrass yourself, with the knowledge that that’s all it ever has to be?

Maybe there’s someone you’ve always had a crush on. Maybe someone’s just caught your eye. In either case: now is the time to be gutsy, to tell them how you feel and ask them out. If they say no? You’re leaving soon anyway, and they clearly can’t see how awesome you are. If they say yes? You get to have however many months of pure fun. What do any of us have to lose? Absolutely nothing.

That’s all from me for this week, coffee breakers. Send me your dating questions to and I’ll see what I can do!



Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.