Keith: Don’t let past experiences ruin your future relationships
- Aug. 20, 2012
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With the beginning of a new school year, we are becoming settled into life at the university, whether that be Greek life or one outside the community. And when it comes to dating, some students are dead-set on not mixing Greek and non-Greeks.
But to not do so can mean writing off someone great. Status in or out of the Panhellenic community may be a turn-on or off, but it alone shouldn’t keep something new from forming.
Four years ago this month, I sat in the Kansas Union’s ballroom and quickly tore open an invitation from the sorority I was hoping to be offered a bid to join. My mother and I were thrilled that I got into one of the KU’s “top sororities,” but once I settled into the reality of being in it, I felt like it was not for me.
So with that, three years ago this month, I turned my pin and membership certificate into the sorority’s headquarters and bid my house and the institution of Panhellenic life good riddance. In the end I was disappointed that Greek life left me unimpressed, but I knew I made the right decision for myself.
When I left my sorority, though, I didn’t cut my ties with a cute friend who was fiercely devoted to his own fraternity. We went out a few times when I was Greek and continued to do so even after I left my house and became a “God-damned Independent,” a common term for non-Greeks in the Panehllenic dictionary.
Dating Michael (name has been changed) was like celebrating Halloween. He and I went out a few times in Octobers 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each year it was fun at first, but when he began blowing me off for his house, having him in my life again was hardly a holiday. He certainly gave more tricks than treats, so by the first week of every November, I was glad it was over.
Finally in 2010 we were supposed to go another date, but he canceled last minute to do something for his frat. He didn’t offer to take a rain check but promised he was still into me. I figured he could save it for someone who would believe it and moved on. I never heard from him again, so I’m glad I didn’t wait up. That year I swore off Greeks forever.
As fate would have it though, my current boyfriend would overhear me complaining in class to a friend about being blown off for the date then pounce on the opportunity to invite me to his 21st birthday party instead, which was that night.
I said I couldn’t make it because I had to work (disclaimer: I wasn’t lying. I had to work in the dorms at midnight). But he maintained interest anyway, and I fell for him shortly after, not realizing that he himself was Greek like Michael. I assumed it wouldn’t work, but nearly two years later, we talk of getting married.
Whether we are Greek or GDIs, it is acceptable for us to consider being one or the other a major turn-off, but we shouldn’t consider it a deal breaker until it becomes a problem like it did for Michael and me. While there are several negative stereotypes associated with the Greek community, there are definitely some diamonds in the rough.
There are people on both sides of the line we would consider desirable or not, but we shouldn’t necessarily discount them for being one or the other. If we try it and it doesn’t work, however, we shouldn’t feel pressured to keep it alive. Sometimes relationships just need perish.
Until that point, though, Greek-GDI pairs can be very successful, so don’t knock it until you try it. Whether you prefer an Alpha or a Beta or nothing in between, never use Panhellenic status to automatically turn away someone Nu.
Keith is a graduate student majoring in education from Wichita. Follow her on Twitter @Rachel_UDKeith.