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Sex + Relationships

How Hookup Culture Affects Toxicity in Relationships

Picture this: it is the middle of the first semester of college. Everyone is exploring this new identity they want to try on. Having dreamt of being in college for so long, you cannot wait to see what it is actually like. You meet somebody and start hanging out fairly consistently, then you realize you start to like them. Crap. 

You tell your friends about this new fling and they immediately shut you down. 

“Why would you want to date someone now?” 

“Oh they have a reputation” 

“Oh god you’re such a ‘simp.’”

We have all heard it. We are told that because we like someone we are in the wrong, we can’t show feelings, we certainly cannot let them know that we like them––because it’s too much too fast. So instead, you stick it out in what’s called a “situationship.” You are almost together and technically there are no labels on anything. But at the same time, if they were to start hanging out with someone else you would be pissed. Technically have no right to be mad because you are not formally together. An endless cycle of, “Ugh I just want to be with them but I don’t want to scare them off.” We endure a cycle of push and pull by playing a game with each other’s feelings. The famous podcast, Call Her Daddy, talks about the “game” extensively. Egging on the person you want to be with by giving them just enough but not enough for them or you, to become attached. Drive them crazy––and yourself in the process. Why do we put ourselves in this position? What is the point of enduring a seemingly endless chase? As much as we hate to admit it, the “game” is fun.

Just because the butterflies in your stomach when they finally open your text after being left on ‘sent’ for two hours may technically feel like what the movies describe, does not necessarily mean the “game” is a good thing. In fact, you start to find yourself worrying about where they are, who they are with, why they do not want to take that next step. Which could be all personal on their end, however, if they do decide to take that next step and make the situationship a relationship, those same questions are floating in your head. Why? Because hook-up culture has led us to believe that having feelings for someone is a bad thing, it’s weak, it’s boring. This then makes us second-guess everything that we do in the relationship because we are terrified of everyone around us being right. 

“You were wrong for jumping in so quickly” and “We told you that they were bad news” and the list goes on. Hook-up culture––although exhilarating––leads to toxicity creeping into a seemingly healthy relationship. It is based on completely superficial connections, genuine lust, and false love, and when those things are contradicted, we forget what real relationships are built on––trust and communication.

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Allie Lopez

Bucknell '21

Hi! I am an animal behavior and creative writing major at Bucknell University. I am passionate about sports, lifestyle habits, and mindfulness. I love writing as a pastime and hopefully will continue to pursue it in the future!
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