College is the time to dabble in all the different realms of dating. Everyone is trying to figure out how to navigate being thrown into adulthood, which has a whole new set of rules and expectations. We’re all trying to decide what we want, who we’re interested in, and how to be available without being too available. Oh, if only there could be a universal rulebook for how to date as young adults.
Before you ask, no, I can’t provide that. But since so many of us are experimenting with various types of romance, you’re bound to find yourself exploring dynamics that are not unique to you. Chances are, at least a few of these eight common college romances look familiar.
1. The High-School Romance Turned LDR
Each of us thinks we’re the ones whose love will conquer all, but — surprise, surprise — that isn’t always the case. No matter how much you text, visit, or FaceTime, there’s no app that can fix the problem of growing apart. You might desperately try to cling to the last bits of this relationship — few are eager to close the chapter that they thought would be an epic love story. But fear not: once you finally muster up the courage to end your high-school romance, you’ll see it’s anything but the end of your dating life.
2. The Rebound
It’s freshman year. Your high-school relationship is no more. It’s time to see what college has to offer. You might wonder, How do people date in college? What are the social norms? Am I really ready to move on from my ex? We’re not in Kansas anymore, and the mere potential of figuring out how to have a relationship in college can hit you like a tornado of confusion. While lonely after your big breakup, you may find yourself talking to (etc.) someone who you’re not actually interested in. It’s easy to use the rebound as a distraction from your ex, because feeling wanted is a natural craving after you’re faced with being single. But rebounds don’t have to a bad thing, especially if you’re self-aware.
3. The Post-Frat Party Meet-Up
You met in some frat’s dark, claustrophobic basement party, and you both know this is a one-night-only special. The next day, you can look forward to some awkward eye contact, because it’s a universal truth that the people you wish you could avoid on campus are the ones you end up seeing the most often. Still, being with — or at least the idea of being with — this person was fun, and you deserve to enjoy yourself.
4. The Tinder Date You Finally Agree To
It’s inevitable that you’ll end up going on the much-talked about Tinder date. After what feels like endless Liking and Noping, you finally get and hit it off with a match, and you decide it’s time to move past those five pictures on their profile and see them in real life. There’s something a little terrifying about actually meeting someone you already feel like you know, and there’s the real risk that those flirty texts don’t translate to exciting conversation. So you get back on the app and try, try again.
5. The Friend With Benefits
You’re not looking for a serious relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There’s no pressure to define anything or awkwardness the morning after. You’re on the same page that this is purely casual, and you trust this person and feel comfortable communicating to them what you want. There’s also the added bonus of it not being weird to grab breakfast with them the next day.
6. The Are We Or Aren’t We?
You’ve tried hinting at the infamous what-are-we conversation, but they steer clear of DTR-ing. Everything points to this being an exclusive relationship. Neither of you is seeing anyone else, you’re going on dates every weekend, and you’re texting every day. Yet, somehow, they’re scared to apply a label. You don’t want to constantly ask to have whatever this is validated but, seriously, could someone please give you a clue as to what’s going on?
7. The Never-Acknowledged Romantic Attraction
Here’s to that classmate you’ve always had a weird, inexplicable attraction to but never bothered to act on. Perhaps you were paired up for a group project, and every time you met up in the library, you couldn’t help but fantasize about your future. You thought you felt some serious sparks, but you couldn’t figure out whether they did, too. Really, how could you not be a little bit in love with someone who agreed with all your ideas and handed in their work on time? But the assignment is turned in before you can make any moves, and you’re left imagining what could’ve been.
8. The One (For Now)
Eventually, you would like to find that mythical unicorn who wants the same things as you do and is an enjoyable person to be around. Despite the horror stories about college dating — wait for it — it actually is possible to meet someone who checks off all or enough of the items on your wish list. And if you don’t, that’s cool, too. One of the most fulfilling relationships you can have, especially in college, is with yourself. This is the time to explore who are you are and what you’re interested in, so start setting yourself up for life.