Students experience three levels of dating fears at BYU

FOMO, finding “the one” and vulnerability are the three fears that are common among BYU students. (Jessica Olsen)

Students face a variety of fears when it comes to the dating game according to Jeff Hill, a professor in the School of Family Life with a Ph.D. in Family and Human Development.

Hill said many students come to him with the fear of being unsure if the person they are dating is “the one.”

He said he believes there isn’t one specific person that is “the one.” Hill said if a couple is bringing the best out in each other, then two important people can grow together.

“I think the key is not where you are now but where you can go together,” Hill said.

A 2013 Huffington Post article showed dating and commitment can be a challenge for many people. People with the fear of missing out or FOMO, tend to develop a fear associated with dating and commitment because they feel pressured by their surroundings according to the article.

FOMO is the one of the common fears found among BYU students, according to a Time article by Jon Birger entitled, “What two religions tell us about the modern dating crisis.” FOMO is the idea that there could be something better out there or that the grass is greener on the other side. The Time article showed BYU students specifically face FOMO more often because of the large community of young single adults in the Provo area.

Dilan Maxfield, a BYU sophomore from West Jordan, confessed to struggling with FOMO. He said he tries to overcome this fear by deciding on five essential core values when he goes on dates. His five core values include kindness, generosity, humor, commitment to serve Christ and potential characteristics of being a good mother.

“When I focus on these five core essentials, the other little things don’t matter as much and the feeling of FOMO goes away for me,” Maxfield said.

BYU sophomore Connor Nielsen said FOMO can apply to the person right in front of you, not just the other options.

“I almost think it’s worse to look back at a relationship that you could’ve had than to look at some random girl that you know nothing about and have FOMO,” Nielsen said. “The grass might not always be greener on the other side.”

Another fear that many students face is the fear of vulnerability. BYU junior Hayley Imbler said she is more guarded because of past experiences.

“Being vulnerable is scary because you don’t know what other people are thinking and you could be on a completely different page than someone else,” Imbler said. “With more failed attempts, the harder it is to open up.”

The list of fears could go on according to Mark Ogletree. Ogletree, a religion professor with a Ph.D. in Family and Human Development, teaches about the eternal family. He said that when it all comes down to it, commitment requires faith.

“Sometimes you have to walk into the darkness of the unknown,” Ogletree said.

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