Dating panel answers burning
By Marie MacKay
February 16, 2006 | Whether single, married, gay or
straight, members of Utah State University's Dating
101 Panel proved Wednesday in the Taggart Student Center
Ballroom, that there are more factors than physical
intimacy that tie into the equation for a successful
The panel, consisting of three single students, one
married faculty member and one lesbian student, answered
15 relationship-related questions burning in the minds
of the 200 students who attended the event.
Reading a question from the audience, Dave Bush, panel
facilitator and clinical psychologist from USU's counseling
center recited, "Should you have sex on the first date?"
Bush replied, "If you don't want to see someone as
a walking penis or vagina, then no." Bush further offered
"If sexual enjoyment is the first step in the relationship,
[sex] will get in the way of getting to know someone."
Although answers to the questions varied, depending
on the panel member's sexual orientation or current
situation, most agreed that a good relationship takes
Maure Smith, ASUSU Graduate Studies vice president,
has been in a committed relationship with her significant
other, Angela, for the past eight years. "[Relationships
are] about balance and working things out together,"
"The first time I met Angela, I fell absolutely 100
percent in love with her," proclaimed Smith.
From a question regarding how financially secure a couple
should be before committing to each other, Dr. Renee
Galliher, USU dating researcher, said there are bigger
issues than how much money you have. "It's the way you
agree on how you spend the money that you do have,"
she said. "Negotiation is more important than a figure."
Zach Ames, Mr. USU, suggested having an amount of money
always set aside that is "non-accountable," which either
person can use for whatever they like.
"If decisions are made with respect for each other,
finances won't ever be a problem," Bush said.
Another issue of discussion was how to maintain self-esteem
after several bad dates or relationships.
"It's about having a good attitude," said Tammy Wheelrwright,
a single student from the Latter-day Saint Student Association.
"Think about what you can do to make the next relationship
a better one."
Tim Yindeepit, a single student from the Sigma Phi
Multicultural Community, said it's best to talk to a
close friend and voice any frustrations that might build
In addition, Galliher suggested looking at other domains
in life that going better other than a broken relationship.
In relation to that question, another audience member
asked how trust in a relationship can be repaired or
damaged. "There are issues that can't be forgiven and
you need to make clear with your partner what those
are," Smith said. Galliher said couples need to realize
that it generally takes a lot longer for the person
that was betrayed to get over a certain problem than
it takes for the person that betrayed.
Ames added that both people in a relationship need
to be careful to not get offended too easily. "One great
extreme is to internalize and think, 'I must be fundamentally
flawed,'" Bush said. "Be more curious than critical,"
Other questions asked during the panel were, "What
is second base and when is it appropriate to go there?"
"How can you ask someone out without seeming creepy?"
and "Is it best to practice flirting on someone you
The event was in conjunction with "Healthy Relationships
and Sexual Responsibility Week" sponsored by the Student
Health and Wellness Center. "This is to help give information
about how to improve relationships," said Jana Carling,
prevention specialist. "You don't have to be single
to need to know about relationships."
Rebekah Royce, a junior majoring in geography, said
some of the questions asked were common sense but the
panel helped because she will knows that she will be
faced with most of these concerns in her own life.
"The answers really shocked me," said Amanda Wouden,
a sophomore majoring in journalism. "Everyone can relate
because we all have relationships," Wouden admitted.
Julie Garcia contributed to this report.
panel discussion on Wednesday. The panel was a highlight
Relationships and Sexual Responsibility Week" at
Students wrote down questions about relationship issues
soon as they walked into the door.
Inquiries like, "How can you ask someone out without
is second base? How do you tell your best friend you're
in love with
How would you respond if someone of the same gender
asked you out? Is
to have sex on the first date?" were just some
of the controversial
rendered for the panel to voice their opinions about.
The diverse panel featured specialists from all around
psychologist Dr. David Bush, LDS Institute Representative
Psychology Dept. assistant professor Renee Galliher,
and Mr. USU Zach
Other organizations from around campus were represented
on the panel as
The panel focused on how to build and maintain healthy
stressed the importance of establishing sexual boundaries,
respect and communication.