A preschool teacher friend of mine recently posted a conversation that she had with a four-year-old girl during snack time about the nature of dating someone against his will.
Four-year-old: Sarah*, help! He wont listen. I told him he’s my boyfriend and he said he’s not. But he is…because I said he is!
Teacher: Yeah…that’s not how it works.
Four-year-old: What?? I said he’s my boyfriend so he is my boyfriend. I picked him!
Teacher: I know. I know it feels confusing because I’ve done the same thing. But, you both have to agree that someone is your boyfriend. Even when you tell them that’s what they are.
Four-year-old: Oh dear.
Oh dear indeed. And little girl, I wish I could say that things get better as you get older, but often you find yourself in “unilateral dating” situations in which you are the only personal who’s aware that you’re actually going on dates. To the other person, you’re “hanging out” or “just friends,” or “sometimes we hook up but we’re not dating.”
*Names have been changed to avoid any breach of preschool teacher-adorable kid confidentiality.