Maybe he was the only reason you went to your 8:50 lecture; maybe he was the cutie who lived on your floor freshmen year; or maybe he was the one you fell in love with in the corner of that bar. And a short year later, you’re— so close— to defining whatever it is that relationship was; it was perfect. But once things finally were starting to fall into place, summer came along and you two were forced to go your separate ways. It was the exact opposite of a summer romance, because summer was the only real reason that ended it, right? After three short months full of sun and joy brought by hometown friends, you are back at the library drowning in books again. Just when you thought you would forget about him— OMG it’s game day and there he is. Now what? Deciding whether or not you should try to re-spark the flame depends on a couple factors.
1. He was just a hookup.
If you were both totally obsessed with each other before summer began, chances are he’s just as excited to see you again. However, make sure that there was actual mutual effort on both ends. Have you two studied together, or grabbed lunch and checked out shows before? Or did you two simply make a habit of meeting up after 2 AM for hookups? It might be dangerous to reestablish the relationship if he was just a hookup, especially if you had serious feelings for him. If that is the case, smile, say hi and ask about his summer, but leave it all behind you.
2. He never actually came back to campus.
He was gorgeous, and he had an accent. So obviously, you fell in love. However, if he is no longer studying in the U.S., it might be a stretch to salvage whatever relationship it could have been. He could have transferred, graduated, or moved across the country. If you two weren’t already dating, it might be hard to start a long distance relationship if he hadn’t already established that he wanted one when he was with you. Even though being back on campus may remind you of all the fun you had together, it might be best to just appreciate the relationship for what it was when he was local.
3. He met someone new over the summer.
If he got back with his ex girlfriend, or met someone new, you might not even know right away. If he acts weird when you see him again for the first time, this may be the reason. Ask to grab lunch or coffee, just to see how he responds. If he keeps avoiding one-on-one invitations to hangout with you, such a drastic change might mean he has someone else— I mean, you two were basically about to date. If so, don’t waste your time waiting for him to come back.
4. Your interests aren’t the same anymore.
Before summer, he was always down to stay in, watch Netflix, and do nothing together. Now, his interests have completely changed. He loves to go out every night, even though you don’t. Don’t change who you are for a guy, especially if he isn’t the same person you originally fell for. Personally, I used to really like a guy until he ended things because he thought I partied too much. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but for the following weeks I stayed in every night just to prove a point. I was bored with my life because I tried to be someone I wasn’t. We didn’t even have any of the same interests, so why did I even like him? Then it clicked: just because a guy is cute, it doesn’t make him your soulmate. Make sure you still have the same interests and values. If he still loves all the weird things you love (and doing it all with you), it is a sure sign of stability. But don’t change just because he did. Don’t lose your sparkle!
5. You feel obligated to.
They say old habits die hard. However, having the summer apart might have been what you needed to get away. You shouldn’t force yourself to continue a relationship simply because you “feel bad” or because you just don’t want to be alone. If you give in and settle for someone you barely like, you are also completely throwing away the chance of meeting your actual ideal significant other. Summer was the perfect escape, so don’t lose your opportunity to blame it on the break. Even if he still really likes you, save him from a bigger heartbreak later on by not leading him on.
If it works out, it will be pretty exciting to start the next chapter together. If it doesn’t, there are all the more reasons to reflect on yourself and to grow as a person. Either way, it’s a new year full of a million new memories that have yet to happen. If it happens that you both are still just as obsessed with each other as you were since day one, run with it! If he seems closed off toward you, just be careful and proceed with caution. At the end of the day, there is still another exciting summer to look forward to!