You have settled into a routine with your classes, made tons of new friends, learned the campus lingo, and now… well, now you’re ready for some love. Whether you are attached or single, freshman year romances are hard to navigate. Are you ready for a boyfriend? Do you really want to do long-distance with your guy from high school? What does it mean when the frat cutie doesn’t call after your ‘amazing’ night together? Her Campus talked to collegiettes across the country to put together a complete guide to freshman year love. Keep reading, ladies!
It’s Complicated: So What Do I Do?
Scenario #1: “I broke up with my high school boyfriend before college, but we still talk everyday. I miss him.”
It’s tough enough to transition from high school to college without this added heartbreak. It’s understandable that you’re still leaning on your boyfriend for support, but what you really need to ask yourself is if you truly miss him, or if you are holding onto the past because you’re intimidated by your new surroundings. “My high school boyfriend and I broke up before college because we did not want to be long-distance,” says Amy, a student at the University of Missouri. “I broke down and called him almost every single day during my first few weeks at school. Eventually I realized that it wasn’t him I was missing, it was talking to someone who knew me really well. I had to let him go so I could make the same kind of deep friendships at school.” You can still talk to your boyfriend, but try to give yourself some space. Let a few days go by without talking every once in awhile. The distance may prove that you are actually okay without him. There is a reason you broke up before college, and you should let yourself explore that before you jump back into a relationship.
Scenario #2: “I hooked up with a ton of guys during the first week of school, and now I feel like I have a bad reputation.”
The first week of school is always full of wild parties, and you certainly aren’t alone in the way you acted. As long as you recognize that you went overboard, you will be fine! The best way to reverse what you did is to scale back your behavior. Do not call the guys you hooked up with and apologize, don’t explain to everyone that you ‘never act like this,’ and definitely don’t continue your behavior. All of those things will only draw attention to your antics. Instead, focus on school and your friends. “I had a little too much fun during my first week of school,” says Maggie, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I went out after that, but I tried to stay sober and calm so that people would change their opinion of me.” Your best bet is to pretend it didn’t happen – soon enough, people won’t even remember it did. Although you may feel like you have a bad reputation, nothing in college in out of the ordinary – your reputation to the majority is probably the same as the girl’s who sits next to you in History class. Cut yourself some slack, and move on.
Scenario #3: “I stayed with my boyfriend from high school, but I don’t want to be in a relationship anymore.”
Don’t beat yourself up: not every relationship is meant to be. The most important thing for you to do is be honest with your boyfriend. Let him know how you are feeling and that you don’t think you want to be in a relationship anymore. “I went to college with my boyfriend, but we started to change as soon as we got there,” says Mal, a student at Boston College. “I knew we were changing and growing apart, and it was time to take a break.” Freshman year is the perfect time to be on your own, exploring what you like and what you don’t like. Let your boyfriend know that you will always be there for him, but you need this time for yourself.
Scenario #4: “I stayed with my boyfriend from high school, but he is being distant. I want to make it work.”
If you notice that your boyfriend is being distant upon your arrival at school, it could be for a number of reasons. He could be overwhelmed by the new surroundings, worried about staying faithful, scared of a serious commitment, or even just busy with his new classes and activities. “You may find the transition from high school to college as challenging as it is exciting,” says Dunn. “Having to simultaneously switch gears in your relationship may cause this new chapter in your life to be significantly more overwhelming.” Your best bet is to talk to him about it – don’t accuse him of not being interested in you anymore, though. Instead, explain that you really miss him and feel like you’re becoming disconnected as a couple. Then ask if he wants to have a date-night where you can talk and reconnect. And finally, listen to what he says! If he’s needing space, give it to him. “My mom always told me this: boys are like rubber bands, let them stretch out and have their space, and eventually they’ll come springing back,” says Liz, a student at the University of Missouri. “I gave my boyfriend all the space in the world, and soon enough he was missing me like crazy!”
Scenario #5: “I met an amazing guy during the first week of school, and now we are together. But now it seems like too much too soon.”
It’s great that you met someone that you feel connected to already, but yes, it probably is too soon to start a relationship. As a freshman, you need time to yourself to really immerse yourself in school and find your niche on campus. While you should definitely still spend time with this person – after all, you do have fun with him – you should also probably remain single. “I always jump into relationships, and I met a guy during orientation as a freshman,” says Taylor, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “We had a great time together, but I knew I had to be alone for a while or else I would be overwhelmed.” Let him know that you are open to the idea of dating in the future, but you want some time to get to know each other first. If you don’t explore other options, you will never know what you like! Give the relationship some time to develop so that you will have a strong foundation if and when you decide to be together in the future.
Scenario #6: “I hooked up with a senior guy at a party, and now he won’t respond to my texts.”
Unfortunately, a lot of older guys love to take advantage of freshman girls. While he may have seemed into you at the party, he probably only wanted to hook up. Many upperclassmen guys hit on freshman girls only with the intention of hooking up and then ditching them. My best advice is to stop trying to contact him and pretend he doesn’t exist. He probably likes the idea of a young admirer, and you are only feeding his ego. Instead, ignore him if you see him on campus, don’t call or text him, and try to forget you ever met him. He will either never contact you again or he will be intrigued by your lack of interest in him and maybe even contact you. Either way, you’re the one in control, and you will have salvaged your dignity!
Scenario #7: “My boyfriend and I stayed together for college, but I ended up cheating on him and now I don’t know what to do.”
It can be tough to resist temptation as a freshman surrounded by tons of new cute guys on campus. Before you do anything, you need to think about why you cheated. Are you disinterested in your relationship? If that’s the case, be honest with your boyfriend. Let him know what happened, why it happened, and that you don’t think you can handle having a boyfriend in college. Although it will be difficult, your boyfriend deserves the truth. Did you just make a mistake, but you still love your boyfriend? This is a tough call because telling him the truth may actually be for your benefit only, as it will take away the guilt you are feeling but definitely upset your boyfriend. It’s a personal judgment call depending on how far you went with the other guy, if you think there’s ever a possibility of it happening again, and if you can handle keeping that secret from your boyfriend. Whether you decide to tell him or not, you need to be able to handle the ramifications of your actions.
Scenario #8: “I stayed in a relationship with my high school boyfriend and he cheated on me/dumped me after a few weeks and now I’m heartbroken.”
Although break-ups are always tough, try to see the silver lining of the situation: you are at a new school with tons of people to meet, things to do, and places to explore. Now you have the time and freedom to explore what you like and what interests YOU. Yes, take a few days to wallow in sadness, watch sappy romantic movies, and eat tons of ice cream – you deserve it. But then remember it’s your freshman year, and the opportunities are endless. Join a new club, grab a few friends from your floor and try a local restaurant, ask the cute guy in your class if he wants to study with you for the next exam, etc. There are millions of ways to distract yourself on campus – don’t forget that!
Whichever scenario you find yourself in, freshman year should be one of the best years of your life. It’s a chance to meet new people, explore your interests, and discover yourself in a completely new way. Don’t let relationship drama ruin your year. Take our advice, and have fun! Good luck, and have a great year, collegiettes.