Commitment seems to be a word many Millennials struggle with. Traditional dating has been replaced with hooking up, and for many young adults, the idea of being able to have a physical connection with someone with no strings attached seems ideal.
But when commitment is unclear between two people who are being intimate with one another, anxiety is a common side effect. Many young adults are plagued with questions like, “What are we?” “Is he/she seeing other people?” “Do I text him/her or is that being too much of a girlfriend/boyfriend?” “Why haven’t I heard from him/her?” “Am I lovable?”
In an uncommitted relationship, doubts like these can have a snowball effect and cause a great deal of anxiety and take a toll on one’s self-worth.
Although young adults may be resistant to being in a committed relationship, Dr. David Daskovsky, senior psychologist and director of training at Yellowbrick, says young adults should think twice before hooking up with someone:
Yellowbrick: Why should young adults think twice before hooking up?
Daskovsky: I think that sex usually has more emotional meaning than some young people may allow themselves to recognize. Though someone may say to him or herself, “This is just casual,” more often than not, there is a lot more at stake. It is usually true, if we are honest with ourselves, that having sex with another person taps into our deepest yearnings and our deepest insecurities: Am I attractive? Am I desirable? Am I capable? And of most concern, Am I lovable?
Yellowbrick: What are the repercussions of hooking up?
Daskovsky: Hooking up certainly can have significant consequences. For instance, if I hook up with someone because I’m afraid I’m unlovable, I’ve likely caught myself in a trap. To the degree I believe I’m dependent on another person to prove my self-worth, I will actually lose self-respect and almost always will become resentful of the other person to whom I’ve given the power to judge me. Dependency of this sort, e.g., “I need you here with me to feel safe,” or, “I need you to show you are attracted to me to feel I’m good enough,” saps our strength, erodes our confidence and tends to leave us anxious and preoccupied about the availability of the one upon whom we depend.
Yellowbrick: Does hooking-up leave a scar on the hearts of young people?
Daskovsky: I’ve spoken to many young people who bear another kind of scar from casually hooking up. To the degree that someone cares more about the encounter than they let on, or recognizes that they are using the other person or allowing themselves to be used in this way, people frequently say that they end up feeling guilty or ashamed. “What kind of person am I,” they ask, “if I sleep with someone just so they won’t leave me or if I take advantage of the other person’s dependency?”
If you notice that your child struggles with their self-worth because of a noncommittal relationship or constantly checks their phone to gain some type of self-assurance from their hook-up buddy, it may be time to intervene.
Daskovsky says parents should start by asking their son or daughter about their feelings, thoughts and beliefs about hooking up. Questions to consider include: “What does hooking-up mean to you?” “Do you yourself have doubts or concerns about whether this is ok for you?”
For more information information, visit: www.yellowbrickprogram.com.