When you go to college, you think you can expect at least one thing, based on the stories you’ve heard: The guys are going to be jerks, and all they’re going to want from you are drunken hook-ups. You think that the “walk of shame” is soon going to be a reality for yourself and all of your friends, and that your life is going to turn into that movie Friends with Benefits (the part before Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis get together, that is). But is all of that really true?
Here at HC, we think that the stereotype that all college guys are looking for random hook-ups is a giant misconception. To bust that myth, we talked to guys all over the country to find out the exact reasons why they want to be in a relationship (for real!).
1. They want comfort and companionship
Guys aren’t just some heartless robots who only want to hook up all the time—they get lonely, too!
“I didn’t know that I wanted a relationship until all of my roommates were in one,” says Tyler, a sophomore at the University of Florida. “When I’d see them with their girlfriends, I’d always be like, ‘Aw, that’s so nice. I want to spend time with someone like that.’”
Tyler says that it gets really lonely for guys when all they do is hang out with their friends or by themselves. He says that the companionship of a significant other, someone you can spend all the time in the world with, is really important to him.
“I started to find myself wanting to have company all the time,” Tyler says, “and I realized that it’s part of growing up, seeing that you want the company of a romantic partner.”
Guys aren’t that different from girls—they don’t want to be alone all the time. Sometimes, they want someone to snuggle up with and binge-watch Netflix movies–if any guy tells you this isn’t the case, he’s totally lying (or is an actual robot).
2. Being with someone is more emotionally fulfilling
It’s pretty logical to think that guys get lonely just like girls, but can’t they spend time with their friends and get their romance fix from random hook-ups or friends with benefits?
Jake, a junior at the University of New Hampshire, says that this balancing act is only fulfilling to a certain point.
“When it comes down to it, you’re going to sleep alone when it’s a random hook-up,” Jake says. “Even if she spends the night in your room and leaves the next morning or vice versa, you still don’t have that lazy time in bed together or even the comfort of knowing you can text her later and not feel stupid.”
Jake says that it’s a hard emotion to pinpoint, but casually hooking up with someone leaves you feeling much emptier than actually caring for someone. At a certain point, guys want to do the caring.
3. They think relationships just feel natural
You know that guy who always seems to have a girlfriend? And those girlfriends always seem to be long-term? Contrary to what movies and TV would have you believe about college, that’s actually not too uncommon. For some guys, being in a relationship just seems like the only option, the only thing that feels right.
“For me, it’s just a form of respect,” says Timmy, a recent graduate from Vanderbilt University. “If I’m going to hook up with a girl, I’m going to get her number, talk to her, ask her to dinner. Things like that always seem to lead to relationships for me.”
Chivalry is not dead, collegiettes! A lot of guys understand that it’s a sign of respect to get to know a girl before hooking up with her all the time (to which we have to say: DUH), and a lot of guys realize that if they enjoy talking to her and knowing her, and she feels the same, he should ask her to be his girlfriend.
4. They’d rather be a gentleman than a playboy
Some guys are just raised to be gentlemen (not playboys) and to want this sweet kind of relationship with women.
“It’s really important for me to be a gentleman,” says Timmy. “Being a gentleman means respecting women and knowing that they’re your equal. When I see women, I’m interested [in them] as my equals; I want to be their partner and their boyfriend.”
These are the kinds of guys we hear about in movies, huh? The ones who open the car door for you, pay on the first date and truly embody the chivalrous gentleman. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all just announced themselves, so we didn’t have to weed through the duds to find them?
5. They want physical intimacy
Let’s be honest, here—a lot of guys look forward to the physical aspect of relationships.
“I’m going to be pretty real with you and say that one of the benefits of having my girlfriend is that I know I’ll have sex on the weekends,” says Ryan*. “I love my girlfriend a lot, so don’t think I’m some kind of pig…It’s different with her because I’m hooking up with someone I care about and who I know cares about me.”
You know how we all value chemistry when we go on a date with someone? How we talk to our friends about how we really “clicked” with a person? Guys value relationships for the same reason…except instead of really wanting to click during conversations, they want to click when hooking up, too.
“I think a big reason why we click physically is because we click emotionally,” Ryan says, “so I like having a girlfriend because it makes that physical part of my life better.”
It’s a pretty universal feeling to want to be physical with someone you truly care about and trust—we can’t say we blame them, since we totally feel the same!
6. They want to be taken care of…
It’s something we see a lot, whether we’re doing it ourselves or we see one of our friends doing it—taking care of the boyfriend. We make him lunch, grab him groceries when he’s super swamped and help him out when he’s sick. This is definitely something guys value in their relationships.
“It’s not like I’m barking orders at my girlfriend, like ‘make me a sandwich woman,’ or anything,” Tyler says, “but the things she does for me are nice and appreciated.” He doesn’t actively seek out a girl who will do him favors, but when she does, he says that it’s definitely one of the benefits of being in a relationship with her.
7. …But they also want to take care of you
We all know that in relationships, there is a lot of give and take—guys recognize that, too!
“I always return the favor,” Tyler says. “I try really hard to match her meal for meal, and I help her fix things and stuff.”
All of this may come as a bit of a surprise. Aren’t guys afraid of being called whipped, after all? Tyler says that’s not something that bothers him, when he’s with the right girl.
“I helped jump [my girlfriend’s] car one night, and all of my buddies were saying I was whipped,” he says. “It didn’t bother me because I knew this was something that I wanted to do, and wasn’t being forced to do. I’m happy to take care of her.”
For a lot of guys, even the biggest of playboys, all it takes is one person to change everything.
“I used to be the king of one-night stands,” says Jared*, a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “I loved hooking up with random girls. And then I met my girlfriend. She and I had a mutual friend, so we hung around a little bit, and then I was done. I didn’t want random hook-ups anymore because I wanted her.”
For a lot of guys, settling down into a relationship doesn’t become an option until they meet someone they want to be with all of the time. It takes someone important to make a guy realize he’s sown all of the wild oats he needs to and see that he wants companionship, intimacy and mutual respect.
Don’t believe everything you’ve heard—not all college guys are only looking to randomly hook up with you. Now the challenge is just spotting the ones who do want a relationship!
*Names have been changed.