You’re a college graduate now—hooray! Along with your diploma comes a whole new dating scene. The guys haven’t magically transformed into perfect gentlemen, but you’re not so different from your crazy college self either—for now at least. Living alone in a big city for the first time with a real job and a whole new selection of men isn’t as simple as it seems. Here are 8 things to be prepared for in the post-college dating scene:
1. Booty calls/hook-ups are not relationships
You might have followed the “we’re together” mentality in college even if you were just hooking up and not going on actual dates. But after college, you should expect him to take you out if he’s serious about being with you, not just take you back to his apartment. If he doesn’t, you’re probably not in a relationship.
“I thought hooking up was the be all end all of dating since that’s all that I knew in college, but this all changed after graduation when I met a guy at work. Our first date consisted of dinner and a walk in the park, not hooking up and sleeping at his place,” says Rachel*, Grand Valley State University ’10. It’s true that he might not be able to afford an expensive date on his new limited budget, but if he’s actually interested in dating you, expect to go on more dates than you went on in college.
Post-college dating dare:
Make sure your first date with a new guy happens outside of your apartment. Let him know from day one that you are not a booty-call by refusing to spend the night too soon.
2. Casually dating multiple people at once is the norm
You’re in a new city surrounded by tons of people. It’s just like freshman year, but the guys are more mature and you’re more prepared for dating (thanks to this guide!). Now’s a perfect time to date a few men at the same time so you can figure out what you’re looking for in a partner and determine which one actually likes you. Marissa, University of Michigan ’10, likes to have fun with dating and keep it casual. She understands not to let anyone make her feel guilty for going out with one guy for a while and then changing her mind. “It’s not leading someone on; be honest and carefree as you take dating day by day; remember, you’re meeting lots of people, and only one will stick,” she says.
It’s smart to casually date multiple men so you can carry on the most promising relationship and say goodbye to the guys who just don’t fit what you’re looking for. And remember, the guys are likely dating multiple girls at the same time, too. So be careful not to jump to conclusions about the status of your relationship without having the talk.
Post-college dating dare:
Schedule more than one date in the same week. Having a full social calendar always feels great. (We all deserve the chance to feel like we’re on The Bachelorette every once in a while.)