College students are faced with many challenges when searching for meaningful relationships. With Valentine’s Day looming close, SAC brought Old Dominion University students together on Feb. 13 to hear New York Time’s bestselling author on family and relationships, Harlan Cohen, shed some light on the dating.
Cohen spent an hour and a half engaging the audience with down to earth advice on dating and sharing personal stories about his relationship experiences in college. He encouraged the audience to ask questions saying, “I want to help you!” and even provided a phone number for students who wished to anonymously text their question.
ODU is one of thirty stops for Cohen on his “Getting Naked” tour. He has written five other books including “The Naked Roommate” and “Campus Life Exposed.” An advice columnist for several years, he has had time to think about how to help students find happiness in their relationships.
Cohen shared a personal theory with ODU called, “The Universal Rejection Truth of Dating and Relationships.” According to this theory, in order to be accepted you have to be able to face rejection. Essentially, in order to learn to be open and comfortable sharing our feelings without fear, we have to essentially unlearn what we have always known.
“The first thing we learn is that sharing our feelings is stupid. Until you can handle no, you’re not ready for yes,” Cohen said, challenging his audience to “give one person permission to like or dislike you.”
Cohen pushed his audience to “learn to live in a world of options,” emphasizing the importance of friendships. His advice was to develop your personal life so that you are more interesting to the people around you because, the more friends you have, the greater the possibilities.
“It’s out there! You guys have SO many options!” Cohen said.
In the past, Cohen himself combated unrequited love, being desperately in love with someone and too blind to see all the other great options that come and go in his daily life.
“This is why I do this, so I can see that it’s not just me,” Cohen said.
He dug deep into his personal life and opened up to the audience, sharing his story and proving that nobody is alone. Everyone who has tried to find a relationship has been through hurt and feelings of rejection.
What does Harlan Cohen do? He helps his audiences to “get comfortable with the uncomfortable” because he knows firsthand that life and relationships can strip you bare.
By Hannah Morgan