I didn’t date in high school. I didn’t “talk” to anyone either. I never even hooked up! It’s not that I wasn’t interested, it just didn’t…happen. The pickings were slim, most of the guys I had crushes on were already taken, and the drama was too much for me to even remotely consider dipping my toe into the weird, pseudo-incestuous pool that is dating within your friend group (shudder). It wasn’t until I was a little older–in my twenties to be exact–that I actually started to actively get out there and date and hookup with people. Trust, there are most people out there who end up down that path than you think. Hell, you might be one of the, and believe it or not you’re not some kind of hopeless weirdo if you do. And just in case you don’t believe me, I’m in an awesome relationship right now as a 20-something even though I didn’t make out with someone when I was 16.
But I don’t want to make it seem like you’ll get into your 20s and–BAM–everything starts to fall into place in the romance department. Ha, uh, no. Dating, hooking up, “talking”…it all still blows beyond your teen years too. I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s better to be prepared than to have you rosy expectations dashed. Check out these eight cold hard truths about dating in your twenties. Hey, you’ll have some high moments, but be ready for the lows.
Don't Expect The Maturity Level To Be All That Different From High SchoolYou know how Cher in Clueless had a rule about not dating high school boys because they're super immature? Well, I'm sure Cher would have a rude awakening in college and her twenties, because...y'all...post-high school guys really aren't as drastically emotionally mature as you think they'll be. I know, this is disappointing news, but the truth hurts. You can expect comparable levels of immaturity, annoyingness, and sexual neglect in an older body with slightly better control over body odor. Okay, I don't want to be too unfair. There are plenty of guys out there who will make you glad that you're not in high school anymore. But don't expect every guy to be in that league. Clueless
Dating Isn't As Romantic As You Might ImagineSo here's the deal: If you're planning on meeting up with a certain someone in your twenties, you're probably going to do the following: Agree to meet up at some bar, have some drinks, and then either go your separate ways or go back to one of your apartments and hope that a roommate doesn't hear you two doin' it. Yeah, if that doesn't sound all that thrilling or romantic...you wouldn't be wrong. It's not. Going out to dinner or doing actual fun activities typically isn't first date fare there days. You'll be thrilled to go anywhere nicer than your hookup's gross futon. Fresh Meat
You'll Find Gems On Dating Apps, But A Lot More DudsFull disclosure: I met my current BF through a dating app, and I'm glad I did. But that doesn't mean that my experience with dating apps was sparkling. Nah, I had to get through a lot of gross messages, promising back and forths that went nowhere, and a dud of a date before getting around to finding decent people through dating apps. You'll hear about so many horror stories from friends and might experience some yourself. But keep your head up, someone decent might be a swipe away. Broad City
You'll Be Expected To Be Pretty Sexually ExperiencedSome of you reading this won't see this as much of a problem because you already have experience in the sex department. However, this might be pretty scary if you're either a virgin or just super sexually inexperienced. But unfortunately, by the time you're in your twenties, someone you're dating or just hooking up with expects that you've had sex enough times to be comfortable with it--casual or otherwise. It's up to you whether or not to disclose the truth with them. If you do that, expect reactions ranging from surprise, to indifference, to blatant discomfort. That's just the way the cookie crumbles, dude, I've experienced it first hand. Girls
Not Everyone Wants To Be Your BF/GFI honestly think that people are a lot more intent about ending up with a boyfriend or girlfriend when they're in high school than they are in college and those few years beyond. If you're dating in your twenties, you have to be moderately comfortable with the idea that someone just wants a super casual relationship with you and doesn't want to be your boyfriend or girlfriend. It's nothing personal, some people just don't want to be tied down to a relationship during this period of time. You either have to go into romantic encounters and be explicit about looking for something serious, or you have to go with the flow and expect a super casual, not-so-serious affair. Mad Men
You Might Give Up On Guys Your Age And Go OlderI have so many friends in their twenties who, frankly, are over dating dudes in their age range. In fact, they're dating guys upwards of eight years older than them, and they're chill with it. You're not settling for immaturity if you'd rather date people in your age range, but don't feel like a weirdo if you're an adult who wants to experience dating with people who are older than you. Grease
You'll Have Awesome Dates...That Go Absolutely NowhereYou two have so much in common, you make each other laugh, and you can really see this going somewhere. In fact, you both agree to make sure it goes somewhere and promise to hit each other up soon. But it just doesn't happen. Maybe they're not replying to your texts. Maybe you had a good date but realized you aren't really looking for anything too serious right now. Maybe you two are both just super busy and aren't emotionally invested enough to get things going again. Yo, this happens, and while it might suck, it's not the end of the world. Dust yaself off and try again, dude. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
You're Going To Get Your Heart BrokenYou might be reading this and thinking, "uh, no s**t, Ashley." But hey, I'm just here to reiterate some uncomfortable truths. Dating in your twenties is, in many ways, a lot better than dating as a teen. You have more freedom, more options about what kind of dating adventures you go on, and generally a bigger pool of people to choose from. But that doesn't mean that you wont encounter love that fizzles out, date people who end up being huge disappointments, or engage in awesome conversation with someone who ends up ghosting you out of nowhere. Legally Blonde
What are you most worried about when it comes to dating or hooking up in the future? Tell us in the comments!