Decoding the College Hookup Scene
Decoding the College Hookup Scene
We asked real-life college students to recount their trickiest dating situations -- and they are tricky indeed! So we enlisted the help of two -- one male and one female -- relationship experts: Dr. Ish Major, a psychiatrist and the author of Little White Whys: A Woman’s Guide Through the Lies Men Tell and Why, and Amelia McDonell-Parry, editor in chief of TheFrisky.com, a website that offers dating, relationship and love advice. Read on for a little he said/she said. ...
College Hookup Problem No. 1: He’s graduating
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half, and he’s graduating in May. He’s from Nashville, and I’m from Massachusetts. Since he doesn’t have a job lined up nearby, he’s going back to Nashville. But I’ll still be in school. I never really thought we’d last forever, but we make each other happy and it’s really good. How do I tell if it’s worth trying to stay together? And if we break up, when is the right time?
“Everyone comes into your life for a reason and for a season,” says Major. “Everything that’s good isn’t meant to last, and relationships are no different. The cool thing is that nothing will ever be able to take away the good times you have in a relationship. Those feelings are real and will stay with you. I don’t believe in a preemptive breakup, but as the dynamics of a relationship change, there may be a change of heart as well. If that’s the case, then let it take its natural course and end in a healthy way. I will say that I’ve seen distance make relationships stronger. I would focus less on the distance and more on if you see yourselves together long-term.”
“It sounds like early on you somewhat put an expiration date on the relationship,” McDonell-Parry points out. “You're both young, so you hardly need to be thinking about forever, but it's hard to say whether it's worth staying together as a long-distance couple until you try it out. If things are good between you, give an LDR (long-distance relationship) a shot. It sounds like you already have a sense that this isn’t going to work, however, and if that feeling persists, best to rip the Band-Aid off, so to speak, sooner rather than later.”
College Hookup Problem No. 2: Facing the ex
My boyfriend and I broke up. Now, no matter how much I try to time my trips across the quad, I run into him constantly. Not to mention in the dining hall, at parties and all the campus events! How do you deal with a breakup on a small campus where you can’t really avoid your ex?
“If you did things for the right reasons and acted with integrity, it makes it that much easier to walk around with your head held high -- no matter the reason for the breakup,” says Major. “However, if that wasn’t the case, then make sure you learn from this past relationship -- but make sure you keep it there, in the past. Keep your head up as you stroll through the quad. If it’s down, you might miss the next great guy standing right in front of you!”
“So, you run into him -- does that mean you have to actually interact? A simple wave and smile should suffice during those times you cross paths when you're on the go. In more intimate settings, make a little bit of polite conversation to ease any awkwardness, and then focus on the other people in the room. Really, just be an adult about it. He’s your ex, not Jeffrey Dahmer.”
College Hookup Problem No. 3: The clinger
I’ve been hooking up with this girl for a while now, and I’ve been really open about not wanting anything serious. But last week she introduced me to her mom, and she’s clearly a lot more invested in this than I am. I’ve tried to let her down gently, and she just calls me the next day like we never talked about it. I told her I didn’t consider us exclusive -- that would get most girls running, but she just agreed. I feel bad because she’s a sweet girl, but I don’t take her very seriously, and I don’t know how to end things without being a jerk.
“Unfortunately, some people don’t pick up on subtle hints, especially if there’s continued contact, which may be sending mixed messages,” says Major. “State very clearly what you don’t want, and ask her if she understands. If and when she does call back, avoid those calls and texts. This will drive the point home. She may be mistaking your kindness for deeper interest and getting her signals crossed. Help her uncross them by keeping your boundaries well-defined. Don’t feel bad about hurting her feelings. Being honest is the kindest thing you can do for her!”
“Ah, yes. I get this girl,” says McDonell-Parry. “She likes you. She starts hooking up with you and, even though you've said you don't want anything serious, she has held out hope that with just a little time, you’ll fall for her against your better judgment. You can’t keep hooking up with her, dude. Actions speak louder than words, and I can hear her from here. You don't need to be a jerk when ending things -- just be straight with her: ‘I think you're a great girl, but I know you want something more serious, and that’s not what I'm looking for right now.’ And even if she’s like, ‘No, no, that’s OK, I’m down to just fool around, no biggie!’ you need to stick to your guns and find someone else to hook up with. She’ll get over it.”
College Hookup Problem No. 4: The friends dynamic
I’ve been with my girlfriend for a few months, and we’ve started fighting a lot. It’s mostly about what we do on the weekends -- I don’t like her friends, and she doesn’t really like mine. We want to hang out together, like, ALL the time, but we want to be social too. It’s an issue every time we try to make plans, and compromises turn into this weird kind of scorekeeping.
“The good news is you are dating each other, not each other’s friends,” Major points out. “It would be nice if you all got along, but it’s not a necessity. If you had a talk about what specific things about each other’s friends you don’t like and what that means to you as a couple, that might relieve some of the tension. This is a very social time in both of your lives right now, so you have to prioritize which is more important -- a relationship with one special person, or a relationship with many special friends -- and act accordingly. Remember, relationships are supposed to be fun! If there’s more fighting than fun, that may be a sign that something needs to change.”
“Hanging out all the time isn’t very healthy anyway,” advises McDonell-Parry. “There isn’t some rule that says you have to love each other’s friends. Make separate plans once a week with your own friends. Force yourself to go out and realize you can have fun without each other. The more you do it, the less, I don’t know, unnatural it’ll feel. You’re in the blissful honeymoon stage -- I know you don’t want to be apart, blah, blah, blah. But it sounds like when you are together around each other’s friends, you’re so focused on each other that you're not being social anyway -- and then everyone is having a crap time all around. So keep your relationship time separate for now.”
College Hookup Problem No. 5: The bed bug
My boyfriend and I have only been seeing each other for a month. But since we both live in the same dorm, it’s already starting to feel like we live together! How do I tell him that sometimes I just need my own space? Especially at night -- how can I tactfully tell him he is not invited to spend the rest of the night in my bed?
“Since you live in the same dorm,” says Major, “it’s important to pay extra attention to two things: making sure you don’t crowd each other, and making sure you’re spending so much time together not just because it’s convenient, but because you actually want to. Let him know that while you’re thrilled to see him after a long day of classes, you still need your downtime to decompress. If he’s really in tune with you, he’ll take the hint and not take offense.”
“Never underestimate the power of kind-but-direct honesty,” says McDonell-Parry. “Have this conversation with him at a neutral time -- not right after you’ve had sex or as he’s settling in underneath your sheets. During the day, while you're out having lunch, for example, say, ‘Babe, you know I love our time together. But I also need to have time alone too. I think it’s better for our relationship if we’re not together all the time.’ If he gets weird and upset about that, you’ll have bigger fish to fry as your relationship goes on.”
Available at Amazon.com:
- Decoding the College Hookup Scene
- Dating Apps: The Lowdown
- The Secret to Sex After 40
- How to Be Popular
- Six Signs She's Just Not That Into You
- Win Women Over with Your Smartphone
- Dating a Jock
- 6 Steps to Great Communication
- The Real Scoop on Sisters
- How Jealous Friends Sabotage Your Health
- Friend Friction
- Play Your Summer Romance Into Overtime
- Should You Let a Friendship Go?
- 5 Tips to Getting Along With Your Roommate
- Why Office Dating May Be More Dangerous in This Economy
- Perfect Summer Dates
- Bust a Rut, Lose Your Gut
- Can You Keep a Secret?
- Shut Down the Boy Drama!
- How Do You Rank as a Roommate?
- What to Say to Women
- Pair up for a Group Date
- Good Friends, Good Health
- The Summer Fun Starts Here
- 5 Rules of Facebook Etiquette
- Make the New Girl Your New Friend
- Stand up for Yourself Without Creating Conflict
- 5 Ways to Tell She Digs You
- Girlfriends Rule
- Triple Threat of Toxic Friends
- Sharing a Room With a Sibling
- Beginner's Guide to Dating Boys
- Get Along With Your Parents
- Make Nice With Mom
- Facial Hair to Attract the Girl of Your Dreams
- Mastering Group Dating
- Turns Out Listening's His Strong Suit
- Is Facebook Killing Your Mojo?
- Go Retrosexual: Finding Lost Loves Over the Web
- All's Fair in Love and Woo
- Show Mom You Love Her!
- Breakup Recovery: Prevail in the First 72 Hours
- The Girl Decoder
- 10 Ultimate Girlfriend Mysteries -- Solved!
- Say 'I Love You' in a New Way
- Million-dollar Dating at Bargain Prices
- Is it Bromance? How to Pick the Best Wingmen
- 5 Gadgets to Boot up Your Love Life
- Find New Friends Fast
- How to Comfort a Friend in Need
- Academic Affair: Beware!
- Can Long-distance Love Thrive?
- Show Mom You Love Her
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.