The idea of dating in college is probably really exciting, right? You’re on your own, no curfew, no need to sneak around your parents or hide condoms or anything like that. You’re…free! This is especially exciting if, say, you ID as queer and you were too apprehensive (or it just wasn’t safe) to pursue relationships with other queer people. Now you have some prime opportunity to really put yourself out there and experience to love life you’ve always wanted.
Except, oh, right, relationships in college kind of suck.
Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I guess a more accurate thing to say is…maintaining romantic relationships in college are harder than you probably think. In a realm where hookups are the law of the land, your roommate’s bae’s moans become common place in your dorm room, and actual long-term relationships are hard to come by, college might not be the romance utopia you’ve been waiting for. But once you understand these eight cold hard truths about dating in college, you’ll be better prepared to deal with this clusterf**k, trust me.
It's Impossible To Escape 'Hookup Culture'Fun fact: I hate the term hookup culture, but it's the best way to describe the culture of casual sex on college campuses. It's just...a thing that exists, and you're either going to have to be cool with it or suffer. Of course, there are going to be people who don't really have sex in college, or people who only want to sleep with someone they're in a committed relationship with. But that doesn't negate the fact that hooking up is going to be a common theme throughout your college career, whether you participate in it or not. From that one girl who lives on your floor who always screams during sex (I had one of those, it was hilariously awful), to the guys who'll expect you to "put out" 10 minutes after meeting them, hookup culture is all around you. Get used to it, sis.Fresh Meat
You Probably Won't Go On Actual DatesUnless you count making out in the dorm room or chillin' on the quad as a date, yeah, you probably won't go on any actual dates when you're in college. Why? Because you're going to both be super lazy and super broke. Sure, you could go to the movies, but you could also just watch something on Netflix and then make out. Sure, you could go out to dinner, but you could also just go to the cafeteria together and then...make out. You might be surprised--and hey, don't hesitate from making date plans of your own!--but you might not go on a real date until you're past your college days. But I'm A Cheerleader
You Might Experience Some Serious Roommate Drama Thanks To You Or Your Roomie's BooYou might think that walking in on (or being walked in on by) your roommates during sex is the worst that could happen. Ha, wrong. It's a lot less annoying than a roommate's partner low key living in your dorm room. I know someone who pretty much moved in to his girlfriend's dorm room in college, which seemed to be just fine for them, but probably drove the girlfriend's roommate nuts. Whether you're the one who always has hookups coming through or not, you need to set some ground rules with your roomie before someone is pushed to the edge. It's a matter of respect. The To-Do List
If You're Looking For Something Serious, You're Going To Need To Be UpfrontI'll go into this in a little more detail later, but here's the thing: If you're a college student who is looking for a long term relationship, you're in for an adventure. As I mentioned before, hookups are pretty much the bread and butter of campus love life. You meet someone in your dorm or at a party, you do some sexy stuff, and then you may or may not talk to each other again. These scenarios really can lead to serious relationships, but most of the time? You'll just have that number in your phone in case you want to hit 'em with the "u up?" text in the future. If that's not your speed, be honest from the jump. Don't assume that that amazing guy or girl you met and made out with is going to want something real just because they seemed into you. A Different World
That High School Relationship Is Going To Be Hard To MaintainYou hate it when we mention this at Gurl.com, but the truth hurts. Sure, there are some people who successfully make their relationship stand the tests of the high school to college transition, regardless of temptation or long-distance woes. But for the most part? They don't work out. Don't be surprised if you feel compelled to break it off with your high school sweetheart by winter break, and don't be surprised if they're making moves to break up with you too. Skins
Constant Sleepovers With Your Boo/Hookup Buddy Will Wear Thin...QuicklyCollege life can often feel like a never ending sleepover. That's pretty fun because, I mean, who doesn't want to have sleepovers with their friends? And the appeal when it comes to romance is obvious because, um, who doesn't want easy access to the person their hooking up with? But be very weary of falling into this cycle of constantly having sleepovers with your hookup. It's cute at first, but you two need your effing space, especially in that little dorm room. You're going to drive each other up the wall before long, I promise you. Also, remember that it's okay to tell your partner to go back to their dorm or to not always want your partner to stay over (or, to not always want to stay over at their dorm). Don't feel pressured into sleepovers that never end. Freaks And Geeks
Dating In College Just Isn't What It Used To BeThis is both a good and a bad thing. First for the bad: If you're someone who is actually hoping to find a long-term partner in college, you probably would have been more in luck decades ago than today. Life is different for our generation; things are less stable, people are going further and further away from home to attend college, and folks just aren't as likely to immediately settle down after graduation anymore. Now that it's easier and more acceptable to have no strings attached hookups, finding someone who you'll stick with throughout college and beyond might be a challenge. On the plus side, it can be kind of freeing not to have to roll into college with the expectation that you'll meet your life partner. Back in the day, women who attended college were also expected to get their so-called MRS degree...as in, their Mrs. In other words, they were encouraged to find the person they'd marry (a husband, to be specific) in college. That kind of pressure sounds miserable, doesn't it? So, on the one hand, it's good that you won't be some sort of weirdo if you graduate without finding a forever bae. On the other hand, if a long-term relationship is what you're looking for...yikes. Good luck! But don't worry if it doesn't happen. There are plenty of amazing people you'll meet after college. LIFE Magazine
It's Going To Be Tough To Keep Up With A College Relationship Over SummerOne of the good things about high school relationships is that you usually dated someone you went to school with, and when the school year was over, you could hang out a ton because you lived in the same general area. In college, that becomes a lot less likely. You and your college boo can live on two totally different sides of the country; hell, you two could live in two different countries all together! So be cognizant that summer could be the moment of truth regarding the longevity of your relationship. Before Sunset
What other tips would you give to people who are trying to find love in college? Tell us in the comments!