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Sex + Relationships

Real Live College Guy Ryan: How to Know if You’re Just a Rebound or More

Need Dr. Drew relationship advice but don’t have the sensationalistic drama to warrant TV time? Unfortunately, Real Live College Guy Ryan isn’t a reality show therapist. However, he can provide the lowdown on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about college males: how they think, act, speak and genuinely interact with the women in their lives. College-aged men are walking paradoxes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be understood. Read on and discover how to deal with their good, bad and (often times) confusing mannerisms.
I’m seeing this guy who just got out of a long-term relationship. We’ve been casually dating for a few weeks, but he hasn’t said anything about being “official.” I’m really starting to fall for him, but I’m afraid I’m just his rebound. How and when should I bring it up to him that I’m interested in starting a relationship with him?
  -Wanting More at Wake Forest

Dear Wanting More,
Whether or not men care to admit it, breakups can be particularly difficult – especially when the former woman has been in his life for a long time. We’re tricky that way. We’ll pretend that it’s no big thing, but any time an important lady drops out of our lives, there’s a definite void. I’d wager he’s (at least) still a little bit unsettled because of it. 
But he might not be. However, it’s always important to keep his former ties in mind when broaching the relationship conversation. Rushing into a new commitment may just not be where he’s at – and there’s a good chance he’s not there yet.
To keep from getting too attached, as you’re probably pondering right now, give him space and let him bring up the topic when he’s ready.
Also, look for signs that he may just see you as a rebound. Does he text you inconsistently? Are you hooking up more than talking? When you do talk, does he ever still (if subtly) reference his ex? If you said “yes” to all of these, then there’s a chance you may just be a hook-up. If not, then you could have a reason to be optimistic.
But the key here is to play it slow and smooth. If time passes and he a) communicates with you regularly, b) wants to hang out but not specifically hook up, and c) doesn’t mention the last woman, then he could be ready for a relationship with you. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to go out and meet other guys. Test the dating waters because there are probably a few other great men out there who fit the same profile and won’t be as hesitant to start a relationship. Plus, this guy could move on to someone else – leaving you heartbroken.
For now, keep the relationship with your crush steady, but don’t dive too far in. Dates are acceptable, but don’t make them too formal. If he’s worth it, let time dictate whether or not he wants to make your situation “official.”

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Ryan Joseph is fancy. However, besides being fancy, he is also a) a college senior b) a journalism major and c) a student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He's a Bobcat, not a Buckeye (although he will always be a Buckeye at heart). A Columbus, Ohio, native, he's a diehard music and Cleveland sports fan--don't judge him based upon the latter. He is a frequent contributor to Hip-Hop website, The Smoking Section, and Ohio University campus magazine, Backdrop, but has also been an ASME 2011 intern with Field & Stream Magazine in New York City.
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