Dating Advice I Wish I’d Been Given Before College

The college dating scene might seem like a fun ride; for many of us, we’re young and it’s our first time living on our own. We’ve graduated from high school and all the dramas that came with it and are now one step closer to that dream job with the dream husband and dream house. We’ve matured and blossomed into beautiful young women and we’re assuming, no, dare say, we’re expecting, everyone else to think somewhere along those lines with us. The days of getting played are behind us, right? The men in our lives are going to be more mature, right? Dating should be fun, now that our mothers and our fathers aren’t there anymore to enforce that curfew or to let us know that they don’t really like our new boyfriend and think, quite honestly, that we can do better. Right? Wrong.

It won’t take more than a semester for the average girl to realize that dating in college isn’t as magical of a ride as we thought it’d be. The days of childish texting, mind games, cheating boyfriends, ghosting and those difficult little situationships aren’t behind us. They followed us, and we’ve come to find that not only is dating in college is not the fairy tale that we hoped it be, it’s actually a lot more difficult than it was when we were younger. We’re beginning to tackle our twenties and the same rules that applied to those teenaged relationships don’t work anymore. But now isn’t the time to throw the towel in and bury our pretty heads into our textbooks all day; while it may not be what we expected it to be, dating in your undergrad can be everything that you want it to be. But only if you keep in mind some advice that I’m about to share that I wish I had known before I embarked on my own collegiate journey.

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1. Find yourself first before you find Mr. Right

Your twenties are going to be, simply put, tumultuous. AF. Especially your early twenties. In the midst of our college experience, it might be easy for us to forget that college isn’t about finding that special someone – it’s about finding ourselves. As we work towards our degrees and unfold learn about who we are and what we’re meant to be, we have to remember that we can’t find Mr. Right if we don’t know what’s right for us. Love is going to happen – but it shouldn’t be your priority. It simply can’t be. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to your (potential) partner. If you prioritize dating in college, you’re going to sacrifice a lot of precious time that you could be using to focus on developing yourself, your friendships, and your own dream life. It may seem contradictory – if you’re not looking, how can you ever be found? But here’s the truth: there’s no guy in your undergrad who’s going to make it as enjoyable as you can make it for yourself. Also, prioritizing love encourages the development of unhealthy attachment styles! And trust me, we don’t want that.

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2. College Guys…Aren’t That Great Of A Catch

Let’s be real. Most guys in college don’t have it together. Like you, many young men are transitioning and settling into who they are, what they want and how they’re going to achieve that. No matter who he is; that hot frat guy who you party with, that cute tutor who you visit for help with your papers, that one dude in your English course that you always talk to before class starts…it’s all the same. If your life is a mess – and college tends to leave our lives in a mess – then you can bet his life is a mess too. Don’t expect too much from guys who are in the same boat as you. That isn’t, however, an excuse to put with less than satisfactory behavior from the men in your life. It’s a reminder to keep in mind that most guys our age aren’t as hot we’d like to think they are.

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3.  If He Ghosts You, It’s For the Better

It’s 2019. Chances are if you haven’t already, you’re going to be ghosted by someone who you thought was really into you. But here’s the thing about ghosting: it’s not a reflection of you, it’s a reflection of them. While we would like to imagine that we live in a world where everyone is confident enough to communicate like the adults that we are, the sad truth of the matter is not everyone is going to be mature enough to say what things are and what they aren’t. Some people are more comfortable just leaving, without saying a thing. Some people are just cowards who can’t handle a boss babe like you. But never, ever, ever, think that ghosting is a loss for you. If someone ghosts you in your undergrad, it speaks for itself: they didn’t value you enough to be honest and speak up. It’s not the worst possible outcome: it’s actually, in a bittersweet way, a way for you to realize that had you continued to date this person, you probably would’ve ended up in a much more miserable situation. So while yeah, it may be a dick move, but the person who does it is probably a dick too.

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4. You Should Take Red Flags Seriously

Girl! You can’t change a man. You can’t build a man. You can’t help a man as much as he wants to help himself. It’s common for many of us to ignore our intuition – those first few butterflies that we get for the people who we crush on takes all the sense out of our heads. He’s so cute. He’s so funny. He treats us nicely. No other guy has made you feel the way that you do. But. Because there’s always a but. There are some things about him that just don’t make you feel good. Does that sound familiar? It’s because we all go through it. But your gut always knows better; if you notice a red flag at the start of any relationship, you should take it seriously. Ignoring red flags is only setting yourself up for disappointment in the future. No matter how large or how small the flag may be, any relationship that you enter where you think your partner has a flaw that seriously doesn’t sit right with you – isn’t going to be a happy relationship.

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5. No Situationship is Worth It

This won’t apply to everyone. Dating in 2019 looks a lot different than what it looked like, say, in the 90s. We all have different preferences: attachment styles, love languages, birth chart compatibilities…etc. You get the picture. But no matter the types of relationships which we prefer, there is one crucial thing that we should all remember: the foundation of any relationships we have should be built on trust, honesty, and respect. If you find yourself in a role where you want something from different from what your partner wants, – if you find yourself calling him your boyfriend and he doesn’t even call you his friend, or – if you find yourself saying it’s “complicated” more times than you can count –  more likely than not you’ve entered into a situationship. And no situationship is built off of trust, honesty, or respect. A situationship, by default, is usually one partner’s inability to be honest enough with you and with themselves about what they want out of your relationship. It is merely a way to have their cake and eat it too. And girl, that’s not fair to you. And you’re going to find in college, situationships are hard to dodge. Learn to spot the signs as quickly as you can; and more importantly, learn to let go before you find yourself in a relationship with someone single!

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6. Boss Up! Settle For Nothing Less Than What You Deserve

Most importantly, college is the beginning of the rest of your life. How you spend your time in your undergrad will set the pace for how your life will progress from then on. Just like college, the real world won’t be easy; if you don’t take the time to set up proper boundaries and define your own standards, your dating post-grad will mirror your dating success in undergrad. Boss up! There’s no time like the present to understand that you are an amazing woman filled with potential and ambition and that whatever – and I mean whatever – it is that you want in this world is attainable. That dream job with a dream husband is still out there, and it can still be yours, but only if you know your worth and never settle for anything less than what you absolutely deserve.

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