The big five when it comes to dating

by Ashley Van Alstine

When getting into a new relationship, one has to wonder how much information is too much? Many college students tend to “play the field” until they find that special someone, but what is the best way to retrieve these facts of his or her past history and present views?

What issues are considered a taboo to bring up in the first months of a relationship; family, religion, morals, expectations and sexual partners? How does one know when these important topics should be discussed?

Is their some secret manual I have never read? Or does our young society no longer find these questions pertinent to a relationship?

The first of the big five questions to ask is about family. Is it important to know what views your partner has on family ties? Does one’s relationship with his or her family affect the kind of person that he or she is?

I know I am a little replica of my parents – no matter how much I fought it. I wonder if it happens to us all.

Did we fight so hard as we grew up that some how we inadvertently become exactly what we fought so hard against? Is it fighting the inevitable?

If this is true, then I would say yes, it’s important to know what his or her family is like and to have some insight on his or her upbringing.

Religion is the second question of the big five. On an episode of “Sex in the City,” Charlotte, one of the main characters, converted to Judaism just for a guy.

I found myself wondering how one could to that and if I would or could. I have always found that my religion is the base of my life, and when everything else crumbles around me I still will have the strength to make it through. If you are so quick to give up your religion, who are you?

You know longer have something that you stand for. So discussing the other’s views on faith would help see how strong his or her sense of self is and that they won’t just go with the flow of others.

The third big question is a person’s moral standpoint. I find that if someone displays strong, well thought-out morals and performs selfless acts of kindness it makes him or her shine, and even more attractive.

Being a moral human is challenging in today’s world, but even more so in college. To display this characteristic makes a person a role model for others to respect and mimic.

What the expectations are for the relationship is the fourth question to ponder. Regardless if it is verbalized or not, people expect certain things out of the people they’re dating; it varies from talking on the phone, holding hands, kissing, and arguably the hardest question to talk about, sex.

Knowing where your dating partner stands on these expectations, and how he or she can meet yours, is important. If one chooses to avoid the expectation topic, he or she might be setting themselves up for a bumpy road ahead. Couples need to find those issues that they differ on and try to compromise to make both sides happy.

The last question is sexual partners. This topic may not only be difficult and awkward to discuss, but also a painful recap of mistakes.

However, if one chooses to be sexually active with his or her partner it maybe the most important question they can discuss.

According to, in 2004 in the U.S. there were 33,401 cases of syphilis, 929,462 reports of chlamydia and 330,132 cases of gonorrhea.

The big five topics to discuss in a new relationship prove to be just as important today as they were years ago. Though there are several more issues that need to be discussed, the big five is a good place to start. Every time you give yourself to a person, they take a piece of you that you can never get back.

I don’t mean to lecture, but remind people to stop and think about making smart choices as to who they choose to share their life with.