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A Collegiette's Guide to Life
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    Once you're past the initial stages of a breakup—the crying, the Ben & Jerry's, the sad songs on repeat—there comes a point when you wonder what's next. How do you know when you're ready to start dating again? You don't want to hold yourself back, but you don't want to use someone as a rebound either. Obviously breakups (and recovery time) vary based on the relationship, which means there's no hard and fast rule for when to enter a new one. But if you're thinking about getting back in the dating pool, here are a few red flags that mean you might not be ready just yet.

    1. You constantly compare everyone to your ex

    Whether you use your ex as a golden standard or scrutinize potential beaus for their old annoying habits, this is a major sign that you still have a lot of baggage from your last relationship. "It's definitely alright to use them as a baseline whether it be good or bad, but if you compare your new partner to your ex for everything and still have them on your mind, you're not ready to be dating again and still have some healing to do!" Mary, a junior at the University of Maine, says.

    Even though you might be angry–not wistful–if your ex is constantly on your mind, it means you're not over them. It's unfair to the other person (and to you) to rush into something when you haven't let go of past feelings for a SO, even if those feelings aren't necessarily positive.

    2. You're not open to love yet

    You've made eye contact across the room for weeks, lingered after class to ~accidentally~ run into them, and got their number "just to check homework." Your friends tease you endlessly about it and, to be honest, your heart kinda does skip a beat. But when you find out they're single (aka available), you get cold feet.

    This is a sign that you like the idea of a relationship, but don't want to actually dive into one just yet. Whether you're still exhausted from all the breakup fights or feel a little afraid of commitment, don't feel pressured to "get over it." Trying to force something you're not feeling isn't going to end well for you or that cute classmate.

    Related: How To Tell Someone You're Not Looking For a Relationship

    3. You feel like you NEED to be dating someone

    This means you're looking for someone to fill a role, not someone to fall for—or maybe you're embarrassed by being single, especially if your ex has already found someone new. "If finding a boyfriend feels like your number one priority, you're not ready to date again. I remember a time when I was insecure about being single and all I wanted was a boyfriend. Not only is this attitude unhealthy, it hardly attracted anyone to me," Mackenzie, a sophomore at the University of Washington, says.

    Our society places a lot of emphasis on dating and love, but there's so much more to life than that. “You should feel confident enough in yourself as a single person before adding another person to your life,” Lyndsay, a sophomore at Sam Houston State University, says. “You should be able to validate your own existence, not count on someone else for that.” If you find yourself obsessing over how to get a new SO, take a step back and remind yourself that you aren't defined by your relationship status.

    4. You change yourself to be what you think the other person wants

    It's one thing to compromise on which restaurant you two head to Friday night, but it's another to undergo an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style transformation on the first date. This might be a sign that your old relationship left you with some insecurities about who you are or your self-worth—or maybe you were a chameleon with your past partner too. Either way, it's important that you bring yourself to a relationship, not lose yourself in it. Katie, a senior at SUNY Oswego, agrees.

    "I had lost myself in this previous relationship ," she says. “For over a year, I tried really hard to mold myself into someone that he wanted, and lost who I truly was along the way. I started to care less and less about things, and forgot about all my goals and career ambitions. I was so obsessed with trying to make him love me, I forgot about myself and the bigger picture. Now, I know I’m not ready to date again because I’m trying to find myself again; what I like and don’t like, working on what I want to do when I graduate next May, and I don’t want any boys to distract me from that."

    Which brings us to our next red flag...

    5. You've lost yourself

    As the saying goes, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. "I think that girls should look to focus on themselves for a little while after a breakup,” Colby, a sophomore at St. Lawrence University, says. “Focus on the relationship you have with yourself, and everything else in your life will follow suit, Get outside, go for a run, listen to your favorite music, go out with friends, have a sit down with your mom and/or sisters over some coffee, give some love to your pets, take yourself shopping, go to a yoga or painting class–just do something!"

    Being single is an opportunity to give yourself some time and attention. Is there a hobby you've always wanted to try? A book you've been meaning to read for forever? Sushi restaurants you never went to because your old partner didn't like fish? You finally get to do all those things.

    Related: 7 Things I Learned From My First Heartbreak

    6. You're settling

    Whether it's saying yes to a second date after an underwhelming first one or putting up with disrespectful behavior, settling for candidates who aren't a good match for you is a huge red flag. "It's the classic scenario of 'do I actually like him or do I like him because he's showing interest in me,'" Rachel, a freshman at USC, says. "There's no need to rush into anything with anybody." When you're eager to get back in the dating world, it's tempting to settle for someone who's not great but “good enough.” Unfortunately, this kind of relationship rarely lasts. Know your worth and wait for someone you really connect with instead of wasting your time with people who aren’t right for you.

    7. You're still tight with your ex

    Being on good terms with an ex is obviously preferable in comparison to shooting each other frosty glares across campus, but that continued closeness might be holding you back. "If you still talk or text or Snapchat or whatever with them frequently, chances are you're still in that mindset of being with them one way or another,” Margeaux, a senior at Barnard College, says. “The feelings are still there and you haven't really had any sort of closure, even if you think you're 'friends' after a breakup."

    When they’re your go-to for advice or their sweatshirts are still in your closet, it can be hard to remember you two aren't actually dating anymore. You won't be ready for your next love until you're over your last one, and keeping an old SO as a BFF might be an obstacle to truly getting over them. Setting some boundaries could be crucial to moving on.

    After a breakup, it's easy to want to rush back into dating again—or swear off love forever. However, as Colby says, "You can never plan on who you will date or who you will meet, but you have to keep an open mind and you cannot shut yourself off to people just because of one bad breakup experience." After all, remember how Sean and Catherine met on the Bachelor (#couplegoals)? ​ But if one or more of these signs that you’re not ready to start dating again rings true for you, just take your time to make sure you don’t rush into anything just yet.

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    You’ve researched countless destinations and programs, discussed the pros and cons, gotten parental and advisor approval and are finally all set to study abroad—woo-hoo! The only question left now is what you’ll do about that boyfriend who won’t exactly fit in your suitcase. We’ve got you covered with tips on how to decide whether or not you want to keep things going with your guy, as well as advice on how to make it work when you spend time abroad if you do decide to stay together.

    Before You Go

    Have the DTR (Define The Relationship) talk early

    Once you have your study abroad plans set, settle on a time to sit down with your boyfriend and talk about whether or not the two of you want to make a long distance-relationship work. Megan*, a senior from the College of William & Mary, recently spent a semester in Paris away from her boyfriend. “With the date of my study abroad departure looming, [my boyfriend and I] were both a little afraid to bring up the conversation of the future,” she says.

    Fear aside, waiting until your last night together to figure out what the two of you will do when you’re abroad? Probably not the smartest move.

    “We started talking about it as soon as we both realized we were both going to go abroad to different places,” says Brooke, a rising senior from Northeastern University, who is getting ready to study abroad in Spain. “This was maybe five to six months before going abroad. It's important not to wait too long because it will just make things more difficult.”

    Cover all the bases

    Not sure what to talk about? Dr. D Ivan Young, a relationship coach, provides several suggestions for collegiettes getting ready to leave their boyfriends and study abroad. “You definitely need to have a discussion about ground rules,” he says. “Otherwise, don’t be surprised when someone does something that surprises you.” Bring up various changes and expectations you have concerning study abroad, and how you feel those will affect your relationship.

    Discuss what’s going well that would make maintaining a relationship abroad worth the extra effort, as well as what could be challenging or worrisome during your time away from campus. If you’re already on solid ground, this may be an easy conversation.

    “We both pretty much assumed we would be staying together and then we briefly talked about it to make sure we were on the same page,” Brooke explains. “The only factor we really weighed was whether or not we saw ourselves together after we went abroad. The answer for both of us was yes.”

    How much or how little you’re willing to keep in touch with each other could make the decision on whether or not you want to stay together (or stay exclusive) easier as well. “You also have to be thinking about what you want from your trip, regardless of what you want from your relationship,” says Elizabeth, a recent graduate of the College of William & Mary who has left boyfriends back home during several trips abroad. “If you plan to immerse yourself in this new place and be constantly on the move, it might not be fair to ask someone to stay in a relationship with you, unless you really are going to commit to writing/emailing/texting/Skyping on a regular basis.”

    Regardless of how easy or difficult the conversation will be, it’s an important one to have. Be open and honest to make sure the final decision you and your boyfriend reach is one that’s truly right for you and your relationship. Be sure the decision reflects what’s realistic for the both of you; being honest from the start could pay off majorly in the end.

    “Of all my friends or the couples I know who went through a semester abroad this past spring, we were the only ones that made it to the end, and I think it had a lot to do with that understanding from the beginning,” Megan says.

    Be clear: are you broken up, on a break or in a committed relationship?

    As dedicated as you are to your boyfriend, a semester or year abroad is a long time (and let’s face it—those foreign guys and their accents are just so adorable). Circumstances change, making a break from the relationship appealing for some couples. “I was going away for a year, and we didn't want to hold each other back from experiencing anything––myself in Europe, him in college,” says Jill*, a junior at Skidmore College who recently studied abroad in Paris and decided to take the time away from her boyfriend to reassess their relationship.

    If cracks are starting to show when discussing your expectations or you’re having a hard time agreeing on relationship terms, a break might be best. It's not wise to commit to a full-blown long-distance relationship unless you feel you're already a strong couple and you're willing to devote considerable time and attention to keeping up that communication.

    “I broke up with someone before spending an entire semester abroad because I wasn't willing to do the work to maintain that relationship for such an extended period of time,” Elizabeth says. “Interestingly, that moment before I left ended up being the perfect time to really do an evaluation of the relationship–I realized I wasn't getting what I wanted anyway, and it became an opportunity to make a clean break.”

    That being said, a relationship abroad can definitely work out for the better as well despite the distance. “After a few weeks, it was clear to both of us that we didn't want to be with other people, but giving ourselves space to figure that out was probably why it worked,” Jill says. Be sure to discuss your expectations for your relationship—whether you can see other people or not, the reasons for making whatever decision you come to, how open you’ll be with one another while abroad, how often you’ll communicate and with what means—and make sure you come to an agreement to make the most of your long-distance time together.

    While You’re Abroad

    Stay accountable to the ground rules you decide on

    Be sure both of you know why you’re together and what the expectations associated with staying together are. The two of you should be committed to staying together for similar reasons, and should both be comfortable with the justifications for your decision. If one of you really wants to try and make it work while the other one isn’t too into it, problems might not be too far down the road.

    “We're willing to go through a period of separation in the interest of our ‘end goal,’” says Alicia, a senior at Penn State who’s studying abroad in Spain. “We're willing to be apart for a while so we can be together in the long run… We trust each other, are honest and are willing to deal with a little distance so that eventually we can be together again afterwards.”

    Trust is key in making a long-distance overseas relationship work. Dr. Young says that with young adults in particular, it’s hard to go for more than six weeks without being tempted to cheat. To avoid tears and heartbreak down the road, be absolutely 100 percent sure the both of you fully trust one another to ensure your relationship remains strong.

    “Naturally there's a part of me that's scared he's going to find a tall, blonde beer wench with pigtail braids, but that's the part of me I work hard to ignore because I know I can trust him,” says Alicia. “If I didn't trust him so much, there's no way I'd be comfortable being abroad in separate places.”

    Strike a balance between exploring and keeping in touch

    As important as trust is when it comes to making a relationship work despite distance, it’s also important that both of you allow time to explore your new home away from home and experience new things.

    “Since we'll both be abroad in different places, we realize the importance of making new friends for each of us,” says Brooke. “Additionally, we realize going abroad is pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we both want to enjoy it to the fullest extent.”

    Regardless of your relationship status, don’t spend all your time keeping in contact with your BF. “The number one thing to avoid: Skyping him 24/7!” says Jill. “One girl on my program barely left her homestay because she would Skype her boyfriend every night, and when they broke up near the end of the semester, she was really upset that she hadn't spent more time experiencing the city and getting to know people.”

    Deciding how much you’ll communicate with one another (whether it’s Skype, email, or whatever else you can think of using!) will have to be a decision the two of you make based on how much you’re used to talking and how much time both of your schedules will allow. This is especially true if you have to factor in a significant time difference. Moral of the story? If you’ve decided to make a relationship work in some shape or form, agree on a couple shared goals for how much the two of you stay in touch with each other. However, “be sure to send little reminders you exist so it won’t be out of sight, out of mind,” says Dr. Young.

    Consider visiting each other

    For collegiettes absolutely determined to make a relationship work, Dr. Young encourages couples to do everything possible to make at least one in-person visit while abroad. He describes the experience of sharing your time abroad with a BF as a “very romantic adventure” that can help develop a “sense of excitement” in the relationship through experiencing new sights, sounds and activities together as a couple.

    When You Come Back Home

    Recognize that studying abroad changes you

    Studying abroad is a life-changing experience that will no doubt affect you and your relationship in ways you won’t be able to predict before you depart. “Don’t expect [the person abroad] to come back the same, because they won’t be,” Dr. Young says. “For most people, enlightenment as a result of studying abroad changes them. You’re coming back with new appreciations in play.”

    Jill suggests reuniting with your boyfriend (or ex, depending on what happened during time abroad) regardless of where your relationship stands. “It might be good to decide that you'll meet up once you're home again no matter what--whether you've stayed close or drifted apart,” she says. “That way, even if it seems like things are headed south, you have a chance to remind yourselves what was so worth waiting for in the first place and then decide if you still want to work at it.”

    Once you touch down back home, have another honest conversation with your partner and reassess where your relationship stands and what you mean to one another. Be open to the fact that both of you may have changed after being abroad.

    Obviously there’s no easy answer on how to navigate relationships when you are abroad. Be genuine, sincere and caring, and you’ll no doubt reach a smart, (hopefully) satisfactory decision about what to do about your relationship that will allow for an amazing adventure abroad, regardless of what you and your boyfriend decide!

    *Names have been changed.

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    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

    By Katie Altstadt

    I was 21 when I lost my virginity to a guy I met on Tinder. He had two full sleeve tattoos, bragged about being a misanthropist and was a budding bartender. I liked him, but I also knew nothing about him. Once he started kissing me in his dingy kitchen, which smelled like pizza and lemon floor cleaner, I knew we would have sex. We did, of course, and when it was over, I didn’t feel bad, scared or really even that satisfied. I felt relieved.

    Though I had been prepared for my first time for a while, here are four tips I wish I would have gotten from friends to calm my pre-sex jitters.

    1. It’s okay (actually normal!) to not be in love the first time you have sex 

    My first time sex experience wasn’t romantic by any means. We did it on his faux Tempur-pedic mattress while a slasher movie played in the background. While he was gentle, it was uncomfortable, and I could tell he was trying not to laugh during the first few seconds when I couldn’t stop queefing. Looking back, I know that even if I had been in love with him, the experience still wouldn’t have been “special.” I personally don’t think being in love would have taken away the fact that it was painful or awkward. I was curious what sex was like, and while I didn’t expect to experience it with him, I was glad I was finally able to understand it and how my body and mind reacted. Now I know my body, and I enjoy sex so much more.

    I would never recommend losing your virginity to a random person, especially on a first date, but don’t feel bad if you’re unsure if the person who takes it is the one you want to marry. If it feels right in the moment, go for it. If not, there’s no harm in waiting until you’re ready.

    Related: This Is Why I'm No Longer Going to Fake My Orgasms

    2. Try different positions

    Everyone told me that missionary would be my go-to position for my first no pants dance. However, this position does not allow you to have control over the depth and pace, which is important for your first time. Try any position that feels right for you. I personally like girl on top. This position lets you control everything from pace to depth to angle. Plus, if you need to take a breather, you can pull them into hug or lean down and give them a few neck kisses until you’re ready to continue. Do some research, experiment a little and learn what feels best for your body.

    3. Lube is for everyone

    Admittedly, I was a little too much in my own thoughts when I first had sex. I was too worried about pain, facial expressions and strange body noises (which you can undoubtedly expect) to really immerse myself in the experience. On top of that, there was little to no foreplay, which plays a huge part in getting ready for the deed. Lube is never something you should be afraid or embarrassed of. It’s a necessity for your first time. It will not only help you become ready for sex, but it will also make you more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to take a breather during a kissing session and grab it. You can apply it yourself—or to make things extra steamy, ask that they apply it for you.  

    Related: 6 Things You Should Always Do During Sex

    4. Have fun!

    Sex has always been communicated as this huge life event that takes a lot of consideration and planning, like transitioning jobs or moving across the country. While sex is a big deal, it’s not something you should be scared of or embarrassed about. Talk about with your partner or anyone else who’s willing to listen. When you do experience sex for the first time, don’t forget to have fun. The first time will be awkward—there will be long pauses, strange noises and a few giggles. So take it as an opportunity to get to know yourself and your body better, in addition to your partner.  

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    You’re a few weeks into your freshman year of college and a certain campus cutie has caught your eye in class. But you’ve never had a college relationship, and you know it’s so different than high school. There isn’t a Sadie Hawkins dance for you to make your move, and you don’t spend a full school day in the same building with him five days a week. So, how do you start a relationship in college? How do couples make it work? What should you expect? Read on to learn how college relationships are different than high school ones.

    You’ll have more to learn about each other

    College is different than high school in that the people you meet won’t know a lot about your past. You probably haven’t met your new boyfriend’s parents yet and you have no idea who his friends are from home. “It was really hard for me to accept that my boyfriend had ‘another life’ at home,” says Emily from Indiana University. “I wanted to be a part of it, and eventually I was, but it was a struggle at first to hear about all these people and things I had no idea about.”

    You can have sleepovers together

    For most girls in high school, it probably would have been impossible to have a sleepover with her boyfriend. Now that you’re in college, you can have a sleepover with your guy as many nights as you want! There aren’t any parents around to say no and no one is checking in on you at night. “My boyfriend and I have sleepovers a few times a week,” says Jill from University of Denver. “It’s not a big deal in college, and I love being able to see him at the end of my day.”

    You might have roommate tension

    No matter how much your roommate likes your boyfriend, she probably doesn’t like him as much as you do (let’s hope!). The fact is, she might get annoyed if he’s over every day and night, and that’s something you have to consider. In high school, there was no one else around when your boyfriend came over. Now, remember to check with your roommate before you have your boyfriend over for an extended period of time.

    You’ll have to prioritize

    Like in high school, you’ll have to find a balance of spending time with your boyfriend, your friends, in outside activities, and on your schoolwork. Your friends will want to spend time with you just as much as your boyfriend does so you’ll have to find the time. School will be a demand, too—college is all about balance.

    You’ll have more freedom

    You make your own schedule in college, and choosing how to spend your time is completely up to you. If you want to ditch a class to spend time with your boyfriend, you probably won’t have to answer to anyone about it. If you decide to stay in one night and cuddle with your guy, that’s okay. College is all about freedom—you can spend as little or as much time with your man. “My mom used to nag me whenever I would spend a few consecutive days in a row with my high school boyfriend,” says Katrina from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “It was so annoying. Now I can do whatever I want—no one is monitoring my time!”

    You might have to do your relationship long-distance

    Most likely, your new boyfriend isn’t from your hometown so during school breaks and summers you’ll have to be long-distance. The two most challenging periods will be winter and summer breaks since they’re the longest. “I hate the time apart from my boyfriend during breaks,” says Rachel from the University of Missouri. “We always plan trips to see each other at least once to make the time apart more manageable.”

    You’ll have to compromise

    In high school, you probably had to take turns paying for dates or switch off visiting each other’s houses. And it’s the same in college—all relationships take compromise. “Me and my boyfriend try to take turns hanging out with each other’s friends since we don’t have the same friend group at school,” says Liz from the University of Missouri. “It takes some getting used to but it’s good to be there for each other.”

    In order to maximize your college relationship experience, here are a few tips and tricks:

    • Be open to new experiences: there are plenty of chances to try new things and put yourself out there in college. It’ll be a great way to meet guys or bond with your new boyfriend.
    • Keep reminders of the past: have photos handy and memories to share with your new boyfriend so he can feel connected to who you were before college
    • Stay grounded: don’t let your new relationship rule your college experience. Try to make new friends and get your GPA up as high as possible.
    • Keep separate identities: There are plenty of chances in college for the two of you to spend time together, but don’t always take them. Hang out with friends and do things separately—you’ll be closer for it in the end!
    • Make your own memories together: Do fun things that you can only do in college like tailgate all day before a huge home football game, spend an entire night together studying in the library, or play hooky from class (as long as they don’t take attendance and you can get the notes from someone later!) so that you can sleep in.

    Every relationship you’ll ever have will be different than the one you had before it, regardless of whether it was in high school or in college. What you have to remember is that despite the differences, there are a few things that are important in every relationship, like trust, commitment, honesty, and compatibility. Find someone in college who shares your same values, and you won’t ever have to make a big change from high school to college. Grow and learn together – but most of all, remember to have fun, collegiettes!

    *Some names have been changed.

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    Whoever said three’s a crowd was not thinking with a glass-half-full mentality. Okay, sure, you may not have that special someone to cuddle up with on a Saturday night or post cutesy photos with on Instagram. But there are many benefits to being the third wheel. For instance, while your best friend is busy making out with their significant other, you get to flirt with the waiter. If you’re having a rough time thinking of the positives, here are 15 reasons why being the third wheel is the best.

    1. When you go out on a Friday night with a couple, there is no competition when trying to get the hot bartender’s attention.

    2. Your friend and their SO will sometimes pay for your meal.

    And let's be real, who doesn't love free food?

    3. You don’t have to share your food and drinks with anyone.

    It's all for me, myself and I.

    4. You can get dating advice from two perspectives.

    5. There’s double the chance you don’t have to be designated driver.

    6. You have not just one but two people to root for you when you go ask for the cutie's number at the bar.

    7. When the going gets rough in the dating world, you have two shoulders to cry on.

    8. You gain a new copilot and a new group of friends.

    9. After all, three’s not a crowd—it’s a party.

    lol if I repeat it to myself, it must be true.

    10. If your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend brings their cute friends along, you’re first in line.

    11. If there’s tension between the two lovebirds, you get to put your peacemaking skills to work.

    12. If you don’t want to deal with their fights, you also have the freedom to walk away.

    I'm out.

    13. You learn from their mistakes and successes.

    Be sure to take good notes!

    14. You’re always seen as the fun one out of the group.

    Because most of the time, everyone else is too busy being lovey-dovey with each other.

    15. Hanging out with a couple that's truly in love makes you hopeful that one day you'll find your own prince charming or dream woman.


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    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

    By Cassandra Acker

    Online dating used to be viewed as dangerous or downright weird. Fastforward to 2017, and online dating has become socially acceptable for many of us. Fifteen percent of American adults reported in 2016 that they had used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.  

    Yet, most people are still completely terrified of online dating. First, you are being absolutely vulnerable to people online, or at least showing the side of yourself that you want the world to see. Secondly, you are communicating with complete strangers with the end goal of possibly meeting them—if the conversation goes well. On top of it all, the person that you meet online may actually be posing as someone else.

    Star and television host Nev Schulman fell in love with someone online, but it did not end well. He discovered that the girl that he fell in love with was not who she said she was. He had such a traumatic experience that he decided to make a documentary about it. Stories and situations from online dating users started pouring in and inspired Schulman to create the television show that we know today as Catfish. Because of horrific online stories and television shows like Catfish, why do we constantly continue to use dating apps to meet people?

    I embarrassingly admit I have been that person who is always online, meeting people. I'm confident that if a person mentions an online dating app or website, I have most likely tried it. In 2014, I decided to take online dating seriously and met quite a few candidates. The dates were fun, and I started seriously dating a guy that lived in my area. We hit it off instantly, and within a month we decided to be in a relationship. Things were going so well that I deleted all of my online dating profiles. At some point, we were even discussing long-term goals within our relationship.

    About a year into the relationship, I received an email from the same online dating website that I met him on, notifying me about a message someone sent me. I was shocked, because I was sure I deleted my profile. I clicked the message, so I could finally delete the profile. Curiosity struck when I saw that my current boyfriend was still using the online dating website after communicating with me that he no longer used it. The beautiful thing about online dating is that they can tell you when a user last logged on...and his time stamp activity was pretty recent. I addressed him about what I found, and he admitted to still using the app.

    The trust I had for him started fading away, because he began lying more about the apps he was using. At some point, he gave me permission to go on his phone. Three times I caught messages from other girls claiming that he was theirs and sending very inappropriate pictures. I broke off the relationship. We remained acquaintances, but nothing more. One of the girls that I discovered contacting him is now currently his girlfriend. After that experience, I decided not to use dating apps to find love.

    My initial reason is that I honestly don’t want to meet my significant other that way. The Pew Research Center reported that five percent of Americans who are married reported that they met their spouse online. I hear success stories all the time about couples that have found “the one” online and eventually got married. I think most of those success stories are wonderful, but depict this idea that meeting someone traditionally may be a thing of the past. I don’t want it to be. I want to meet him naturally, maybe attending an event about something I am passionate about or at a bookstore, buying books I really don’t need. Another reason is that I am just really tired of the fake persona that most people have online. If I want a genuine relationship to begin, I would hope that it would start outside of a digital world.

    My advice? If you’re curious about the online dating world, just try it. You never know what could happen. Yes, you are going to run into horrible dates and maybe even get catfished. That is the beauty of the dating world. Online dating is not for everyone, though. If it does not work out for you, at least you have a funny story to tell at your next event. To the ones who have found their soulmates online, I wish you every ounce of happiness. And to the guy I will meet someday, I like my coffee the color of a camel with two sugars, please.

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    Popcorn? Check. Mood lighting? Check. Netflix logged-in and loaded?…Check. Now here comes the hard part—while there are tons of wonderfully romantic movies out there, sometimes you and your partner might want to watch something a little more…risqué than your average romantic film. If you’re searching for a movie that will add some extra oomph to your romantic night in, then look no further. We talked to a few collegiettes and rounded up seven of the steamiest and sexiest movies to heat up your next movie night!

    1.The Notebook (2004)

    To kick-off the list, we’ll start with a popular favorite. Megan Scavo, a junior at the University of Central Florida, says that, “The Notebook, although a classic, is also very steamy at moments and can be a fun, flirty movie to watch with your partner."

    When a poor man falls in love with a rich woman, things get complicated. Stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams offer up some serious eye candy, and their hot and heavy whirlwind of a relationship will take you and your partner on a wild, passionate ride.

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    2.The Blue Lagoon (1980)

    Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins star in a 1980s-film adaption of the 1908 novel of the same name and basically live out one of the sexiest (and slightly horrifying) fantasies ever—being stuck on a desert island with your lover.

    The movie follows the life of two children who are shipwrecked on a tropical island. When the two are left to fend for themselves, they mature into young, beautiful adults, unaware of the sexual awakening they will soon encounter.

    With their tanned and toned bods, newfound sexual desires and steamy love scenes, characters Emmeline and Richard “will remind you and your partner how it felt when you discovered each other for the first time,” says Leah*, a senior at Carthage College. “Their young love is so innocent, yet sensual at the same time.” The Blue Lagoon is one film that is sure to heat up your summer nights together.    

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    3.Two Moon Junction (1988) 

    There’s just something about forbidden love that movies love to explore. If you’re looking for something a little steamier than just any old fling, then look no further than Two Moon Junction. “It isn’t necessarily Oscar-worthy but it’s steamy AF,” says Norris Goldflies, a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    The film portrays a young Southern debutante named April who falls for a drifter that works at a local carnival. The woman temporarily abandons her upscale lifestyle and semi-arranged marriage to pursue a lustful, erotic fling with the young man. While not the ideal situation for a real-life couple, this film offers some lusty-love scenes for you and your partner to enjoy.

    Way to watch: YouTube

    Related: 9 Date-Night Movies He’ll Actually Watch

    4.Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) 

    A woman with blue hair, a sexually confused high schooler and a roughly seven-minute sex scene are in store for you in the film Blue Is the Warmest Colour. This 2013 film is a coming-of-age erotic romantic drama that tells the story of Adéle, a French teenager who discovers her sexual desire and freedom when she begins a relationship with Emma, a painter with blue hair.

    “The film is deeply passionate and an amazing depiction of self-discovery—it’s easily one of the raciest films I’ve ever watched, and it does not disappoint,” says Leah. If you’re looking to dive deeper into the steamier films and experience some LGBTQ+ scenes, then Blue Is the Warmest Colour is definitely for you.

    Ways to watch: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video

    5.Titanic (1997) 

    As another fan favorite, this option is extremely steamy to say the least. A young aristocrat named Rose falls in love with a poor artist named Jack (does anyone else catch a running theme here?) while aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, and their ill-fated, tragic love story will have you wanting your partner to draw you like one of his French girls. *wink*

    “The car scene. That’s all I have to say. If that scene doesn’t define steamy, then I don’t know what does,” says Leah. Oh, and Leonardo DiCaprio of course.

    Ways to watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    6. Secretary (2002)

    Need a movie that'll keep your partner interested? If you and your SO are into sexy roleplay, then Secretary (aka the original 50 Shades of Grey) is definitely the movie to watch. When a young woman gets released from a mental hospital, she gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer with certain needs–as you can guess, their relationship turns quite sexual.

    "Secretary is definitely a movie that's fun for both parties," Leah explains. "Seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal crawling on her hands and knees in a secretary outfit will have your partner jumping at the chance to do a little roleplaying between the two of you." Plus, it's an easy way to drop the hint if roleplaying is something you've been wanting to try!

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    7. Bang Gang (2015)

    Although the topics toward the end of this movie shift to a more serious tone, the first half of the film will leave you and your partner all hot and bothered. The 2015 French film Bang Gang follows a group of young, hot and unsupervised teenagers who create a club to engage in sexual acts and games that get steamier and steamier. An added bonus? The movie is in French, so that in itself is pretty damn sexy. 

    If you're looking for some teenage angst, boredom and sexual expression to add some steaminess to your night, then Bang Gang is definitely worth a spot on your Netflix queue.

    Ways to watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    With some popular classics and maybe even a new one for you and your partner to watch, this steamy line-up of films is sure to make your next Netflix and chill a whole lot hotter.

    *Name has been changed 

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    So, you’re single. Maybe you’ve just broken up with your high school boyfriend or you’ve been unattached for a while now. Either way, there’s nothing wrong with riding solo. On the contrary, being single your freshman year is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Don’t believe us? Here are some reasons that will change your mind:

    1. You’re in good company.

    Despite what you may think, “single” is not synonymous with “lonely.” Tons of young women enter college single, and what better way to bond with these lovely ladies (and make new friends) than by telling funny stories about your respective exes? You can even make a game of it!

    2. You can lust after your hot RA/Orientation Leader/upperclassman guy crush, guilt-free.

    Connie Chan, a senior at Carnegie Mellon, entered college single after breaking up with her high school sweetheart. “Even though I missed my ex at times, it was refreshing to meet so many new guys and flirt without feeling guilty,” she says. “Looking back, I'm glad I was able to fully experience my first weeks of college without anything holding me back.”

    Although you may not want to jump into dating a senior immediately when you start your freshman year, there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless flirtation with one of the older guys helping out at orientation activities. Checking out cute freshmen was probably the main reason he volunteered for the job in the first place...

    3. You can bond with your floormates during marathons of Girl Code, interruption-free.

    The worst part about watching a bunch of female comedians discuss their various boy struggles is having to take the time to answer every interrupting text from the very cause of your own boy problems. When you’re with your girl friends, you should be with them—not concentrating on some boy miles away who can’t relate to the delicate art of eyebrow waxing. That’s girl code.

    4. You can throw yourself into clubs, intramural sports and Greek life.

    Without a guy to take up all your time and distract you, you can really concentrate on the most fun aspects of college life. Adam LoDolce, a dating coach who offers free video dating advice at, advocates for this, saying, “Freshman year is the time to be insanely social and meet as many new people as possible. If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend then he/she will likely hold you back.” Besides exploring your personal interests, getting involved on campus is one of the quickest ways to make new friends... and meet new guys.  

    5. The guys in college are way hotter (and less awkward) than they were in high school.

    Chances are that you were there to witness your high school boyfriend’s awkward stage, but college is a blank slate. You may think your last boyfriend was the cream of the crop, but that’s only because you’ve been living on a small farm. (That’s just a metaphor, gals.)

    6. You can actually focus on your studies.

    As much as we love partying, higher education is what you enrolled in college for. When you’re not interrupting studying with constant texts and not blowing off reading for hour-long Skype sessions, you will have a much easier time getting your work done. As lame as it sounds, a big part of college is the actual learning part. You can get work done a lot faster and better when you’re not constantly distracted by a blinking phone screen.  

    7. You can party, guilt-free!

    Seriously, if you’re not going to flirt with one of the cute brothers at a frat party, there’s no point risking your precious outfit and shoes to possible beer spills. Nicole Echeverria, a junior at the University of Michigan, says that one of the biggest perks of being single your freshman year is that “you can meet, hang out with and flirt with any guy and not feel the least bit guilty.” Not only that, but it’s much easier to get into a frat party with a group of single girls instead of your boyfriend hanging on your arm.

    8. Your guy pool is the largest it will be for the next four years.

    When you’re a freshman, every guy is fair game. Since you probably don’t know many people yet, any guy could be the one, or, at least, the one right now. Freshman year is really the only time you get a free pass to ride the hot mess express, so you might as well make the most of it. LoDolce adds, “Although you may not want to ‘sleep around,’ a few hook-ups may let you have a little fun while you focus on your school work.” You’ll be a disillusioned SWUG before you know it, so why not play the field when the field is at its largest?  

    9. You can take over your common room to learn the “Single Ladies” dance.

    Move the chairs, hook up your computer to the giant TV screen and press play. There’s no doubt this classic Beyonce tune will become the personal anthem that powers you through freshman year—especially after you and two of your friends learn the dance. Who cares if he didn’t put a ring on it? Sasha Fierce doesn’t.

    10. You won't have a breakup with your high-school SO when you're in college.

    If you start out college single, you avoid the awkward and emotional experience of parting ways with someone you dated in high school. “It is very likely your high school relationship will end anyway, so break it off before you miss your entire freshman year experience,” says LoDolce.

    11. You’ll have better stories.

    When you’re 85 years old and telling stories about your good ole college days to your grandkids, they probably won’t want to hear about your hour-long Skype sessions with what’s-his-name. Avalon Jones, a recent graduate of George Mason University, says, “My only regret in life is starting my freshman year in a relationship with my now ex-boyfriend still back at home. I completely missed out on my entire fall semester. I didn't go to parties or meet very many friends. Finally, during winter break, I chose to end the relationship and had an amazing spring semester in return.” Without a boyfriend holding you back, you’re free to have lots of wild fun in college!

    12. You can learn more about yourself.

    College is all about discovering who you are, and sometimes the only way you can do that is through being alone. “I met my boyfriend at the beginning of freshman year, but we didn't get together until the end of sophomore year,” says Katherine Mirani, a senior at Northwestern University. “It took so long because we both had a lot of growing and changing to do before we were ready to be in a relationship.”

    For most young women, college is the first time you get to be fully independent, but you can’t really do that if your high school self still lives in a relationship. While being somebody’s girlfriend is great, being yourself is better.

    Clearly, your single status isn’t a death sentence—it’s a new lease on life! When it comes to making new friends, embracing new opportunities and meeting new guys, you’ll be ready to do it all with your single girl swagger.

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    He jetted off to travel abroad and you were consumed by your dream internship in a big city. Or, you both bummed it on the couch at home and you just happen to live eight hours apart. Whatever the reason, you and the person you were seeing at school decided to take a break over the summer. But now that summer’s over, you’ll be back in the classroom before you can even say “Welcome Week.” And, of course, that means he or she will be there too. So what do you do now? If you’re nervous about where your relationship stands, check out these tips from dating coach Jasbina Ahluwalia for bouncing back from a relationship break.

    1. Get Ready to See Him or Her Again

    Seeing him or her for the first time in the fall after a break can be either a really happy, exciting moment, or a really awkward one. Luckily, you do have some control over which way the situation sways. An easy way to initiate the “reunion” is to text him or her a few days before you return with something simple, like: “Can’t wait to be back at school! When do you move in?” It eases him or her into thinking about seeing you again, and it’s also a great way to get back in touch if you haven’t talked in a while. Set up a time to grab coffee or plan to sit together at a class meeting. That way, you won’t be flustered when you accidentally bump into him or her in the mailroom after not seeing him or her for three months. 

    2. Feel it Out

    Sometimes, it’s easy to tell how your old flame is feeling once you see him or her again—he or she will either run up to you to scoop you into his or her arms for a kiss, or he or she will go for the awkward friend hug (the worst!). And while a lot of what he or she does will probably seem hard to read, it’s important to tune into how he or she acts towards you, because it could be a major indicator of how things will play out now that you two are back at school. Three months is a long time to be apart, and jumping right back into a relationship at the drop of a hat can be difficult. Be attentive to how flirty, awkward, or distant your guy or girl might seem. Likewise, be aware of the vibes you could be giving him or her.

    3. Don’t Set the Bar too High

    As we said before, summer is a long three months to be apart, and even if you two decide to kick things back into gear with your relationship, it still might take you a while to get back into the groove that you had last year… and that’s okay! A lot of things can change in three months, especially if either of you was traveling or working over the summer, so the dynamic of your relationship might be different this time around. And a new school year also means changes in classes and schedules, which might eliminate the Wednesday lunch dates you guys used to have last semester.

    Don’t get discouraged if things don’t fall into place perfectly right away—few things do in the first few weeks of school! The easiest way to deal with any changes is to embrace them, and try not to put a lot of pressure on a relationship that’s just as rusty as you are in class after a three-month vacation.

    4. Have "The Talk"

    If your relationship seems different or awkward once you return to school and you’re not really sure what’s going on, sit down with your guy or girl and talk about your current (and future) relationship status. It doesn’t have to be a super serious, intense session. Just tell your guy you want to catch up and see where things are with the two of you now that you’re back at school. It can be frustrating and nerve-wracking if the responsibility falls on you to initiate the conversation, but you’ll be happy you did once you know exactly where the two of you stand and where to take things from there—especially since you’re most likely going to be seeing your guy around campus pretty consistently.

    “Be honest and upfront with him about your feelings,” advises Ahluwalia. “Express yourself using a confident and positive emotional tone. Do not expect him to read your mind, and do not attempt to read his.”

    Whether you want to completely pick up where you left off last year or if summer made you realize you’d rather be single, you need to tell him or her what you’re thinking. Leaving any confusion or ambiguity in your relationship is only going to cause trouble and hurt feelings. Tell each other what you each want out of the relationship and what summer did or didn’t change for you. And if you decide not to get back together, talk about things like hooking up with other people, seeing each other out at parties, etc. Even if you don’t end up getting back together, having complete transparency in regards to what you want and expect out of each other will eliminate a lot of problems later down the road.

    5. Don’t Stress!

    Not all relationships survive the summer, and if yours didn’t, that might just be an indicator that it wasn’t a very strong one to begin with—or, more likely, that he or she isn’t worth it.

    Ahluwalia says it’s important to be open to the possibility that your guy or girl might not be on the same page as you are. “It is about respecting yourself as well as him enough to truly listen to each other’s feelings and expectations, and thereby determining whether expectations are sufficiently aligned to continue investing in the relationship,” she says.

    Stress is one of the worst things to start a new year off with, so if you and your guy or girl didn’t get back together after summer, try not to let it ruin the excitement of being back at school. No matter your situation, the start of a new school year means 10,000 other new and exciting things happening and appearing for you to focus on, so embrace them!

    Speaking of starting new—a fresh school year also means new guys! So if your summer break turned out to be more permanent than you thought, that just means it’s time to get started on scoping out (and making the first move with) all of the new guys on campus!

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    There’s nothing quite like the feeling of falling for someone new; everything is exciting and you discover so much about yourself and the other person throughout the entire process. It truly is a magical feeling. However, before you start picturing your life long-term with them, you might want to take a few steps back and evaluate the situation to determine if you really want to start developing feelings. The next time you start dating someone new, ask yourself these seven questions to see if you really should be taking that plunge into a potential relationship.

    1. What are you looking for?

    Before you can even attempt to start dating someone new, it’s best to sit back and reflect on what your personal goals are for a potential relationship. Are you interested in finding something serious, or would you prefer more of a hookup-only scenario? Determining what you want before you start dating someone new is absolutely essential so you can ensure you’re both on the same page. If you don’t know what you want, how do you expect them to know what to give you? “First and foremost, it’s important to know what you’re looking for—a hookup, casual dating, or a relationship?” says relationship counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns. “This impacts how you approach dating and the emotional energy you invest into the process. If you’re hoping to land a new relationship, you should reflect on your love lessons, which are things you’ve learned in your past relationship(s) so that you can become a smarter, more intentional dater moving forward. You should also ask yourself what are you most proud of and most passionate about. Feeling confident in yourself and being able to speak energetically and engagingly about a topic is a big turn on when dating.” Remember the popular phrase, "You have to love yourself before someone else can love you?" Well, this applies to knowing what you want out of life, too. 

    Related: 9 Things You Need to Know About Dating in Your Twenties 

    2. Do they make you laugh?

    Having a compatible personality with a potential SO is such a key element of a successful relationship. A sense of humor is often something that is listed high on people’s requirements for a SO, so finding someone who can make you laugh is so important. “Nice gifts or fun dates are always enjoyable but the way to my heart is a good laugh,” Hannah, a senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, says. “Any guy I fall for has to have a great sense of humor and be able to make me laugh with his jokes.” Before you start actually dating someone, consider their personality and decide whether you two laugh at the same things. If the answer is no, you might want to reconsider pursuing a dating relationship with them.

    3. Would they get along with your friends and family?

    Even if you aren’t looking for something too serious right now, it’s important to consider whether this person will get along with those who are the most important to you: your friends and family. Successful dates often end in that person being introduced to all who love you and their approval usually weighs heavily on the outcome of the relationship. Try to avoid any negative outcomes by considering whether your crush will get along with your friends and family. “I always like to think about whether my parents will like them,” Kandis, a senior at University of California, Santa Barbara, says. “If I don’t think they’ll get along, I don’t want to waste my time developing feelings just to have to cut things off later. I wouldn’t want to date someone who doesn’t want to come hang out with me and my parents for a casual night in; that’s such an important aspect of a relationship for me!”

    4. Do you even have time to commit to growing a relationship right now?

    We all know college can be an extremely busy time for everyone, and you have to decide whether you can squeeze in yet another thing into your already hectic schedule. Building a new relationship takes time, so you should really consider how much spare time you have to devote to something new.  If you barely have time for yourself, you might want to pump the brakes a little and avoid starting anything new. “I always have the busiest schedule, but if I’m interested in someone enough, I’ll make time to grow that connection,” Carmen, a senior at San Diego State University, says. “It really depends on the person though. If I don’t see potential for something serious, I’ll just hang out with them when I can instead of actively making time for them.” Again, knowing what you’re looking for ahead of time is absolutely essential.

    Related: 5 College Dating Mistakes You’re Making (& How to Avoid Them) 

    5. Do they fit in with the picture you have for your future?

    Honestly, what’s the point of dating if you don’t see some sort of future with them? You might not need to see wedding bells, but if you can’t picture yourself with this person for at least the next few months, save yourself the trouble and cut ties now. “It’s easy to get swept away in the early stages of a new relationship, when the neurochemical cocktail of hormones, such as dopamine and oxytocin, give you that lovin’ feeling,” Burns says. “This stage can last anywhere from about six months to two years, so to figure out if you’re truly a good match, you’ll want to see how your relationship grows and feels once you’re out of the honeymoon stage. If those smitten feelings wear off and you realize you don’t have a lot in common, have very different belief systems, or you don’t like yourself in the relationship because you’re constantly feeling needy, jealous, insecure or sad, then it may be time to call it quits.” It might be tough to ask about their core values or beliefs early on in a fling, but it’ll definitely be worth the awkward convo if it saves you from realizing this person has a completely different life plan than you.

    6. Do you have physical chemistry with them?

    Physical attraction isn’t everything, but it is an important element when it comes to dating someone. It might take a little bit more than just being able to daydream about a steamy hookup with this person, but it certainly won’t hurt anything to have that extra connection! “I’ve tried dating the ideal ‘good guy’ but I just didn’t have that sexual chemistry with him…it just didn’t feel right,” Josephine, a sophomore at Arizona State University, says. “Even though he was everything I said I wanted on paper, it just couldn’t turn into anything because I never felt the urge to just make-out with him–which is definitely what you need in a relationship!” After all, this is what sets someone apart from just being a casual friend.

    7. Ultimate question: Are you willing to take the chance of getting your heart broken?

    Honestly, getting into a new relationship is scary AF. Letting yourself fall for someone new is a huge step, and some of us are just too afraid to even try. One of the biggest questions you can ask yourself when faced with the opportunity to start seeing someone new is whether you’re willing to take that chance of being heartbroken. If that person is worth the risk, then by all means, go for it! Not sure if you’re even ready for something that risky? You might want to err on the side of caution and slowly ease yourself into seeing someone new instead. “I’ve been burned too many times in the past, it’s sometimes hard for me to fall for someone new,” Madi, a junior at Colorado Mesa University, says. “If I think I could actually develop feelings for someone, I make sure they know how cautious I am about it all so they can understand why I sometimes act the way I do.” If they are worth it, they’ll wait for you to be ready.

    Basically, being open and honest with yourself about your dating goals and intentions is absolutely crucial when you’re faced with dating a potential new beau. As cliché as it sounds, how can you expect someone to be honest with you if you can’t be honest with yourself? Save yourself (and the other person!) some time and consider these questions before you pursue a new relationship!

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    You’ve finally settled into your dorm and the dining hall has become significantly less intimidating, but suddenly, your college relationship is facing the dreaded “one month” hurdle. For long-distance couples, the first four weeks apart tend to be the “make it or break it” period. For hook-ups, that first month is the expiration date for the “casual” label. And for crushes, 28 days is just long enough for all that sexual tension to boil over. So whether you’ve been dumped by your long-distance beau or want to take your flirting to the next level, we’ve compiled a list of potential scenarios and talked to collegiettes and experts to help you through it!

    Problem #1: Your long-distance relationship is having issues.

    You promised one another that your love was stronger than the cost of a cross-country plane ticket. You agreed on daily Skype sessions, hourly texts and weekly phone calls. But four weeks is a long time and in the grand scheme of things, you’re barely out of the starting gate. You’re beginning to second guess your decision to remain in a long distance relationship. But how do you bring that up with your significant other?

    “You have to approach the topic carefully,” says Frances from University of Rochester, who's been in a long distance relationship going on four years. “For me, we both wanted to stay together but we had very different ideas about what college and freshman year are all about. To be completely honest, I think entering freshman year in a long distance relationship is a mistake unless you truly believe you can grow on your own and branch out at school without feeling held back by your partner.”

    If you feel the guidelines that you set before leaving for college aren’t working, you need to be honest with him. If you’re most comfortable writing out your thoughts, send your significant other an email laying out the issues you feel have arisen; conversely, if you work best face to face, set aside a Skype time when you’ll both be able to be alone in your respective dorms and talk openly.

    Kelsey from West Virginia University has been dating her boyfriend since senior year of high school (despite the fact that he attends college in Florida), and she’s got a litany of long-distance tips. “A weekly time that you reserve for each other is really nice!” she says. Other suggestions include a “Netflix date” (sharing a Netflix account and watching a movie at the same time), and surprise care packages.

    But Kelsey warns, “Also, you have to stay honest with each other while you're apart. Feelings can change, and they need to know if that happens. Long distance relationships are all about trust and if you don't have that it's not going to last very long.”

    And if you do ultimately decide that you want to end things, wait until you’re able to meet face to face.“No one wants the rep of being that girl who dumped her guy via text, even though of course it's way more convenient - especially if you're out of town,” says Jen Kirsch, Relationship Expert on Cosmo TV's Love Trap. “Talk to him in person and be direct. Let him know that this is what will be best for you.”

    While it may not feel like it at first, the forced distance between you and your ex is a blessing. You will never have to worry about running into him on the way to class, and you will never see him having a dance floor make-out sesh. But as we all know, physical proximity is just one piece of the relationship puzzle. Sever all your social media ties (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), because there’s nothing more heart-wrenching than getting a notification that your ex is “now in a [new] relationship.”

    Once you begin the healing process, the social scene at school may seem a bit daunting. “To move on mentally and socially, take part in activities on campus,” Kirsch suggests. “Go to networking events, join a club of like-minded people. Perhaps take up yoga or get a gym membership. These things will empower you and make you feel better about your present state.”

    Problem #2: You and your hook-up buddy still need to define the relationship.

    Maybe you met a party, in class, or at the inaugural meeting of the poetry club, but something clicked, and suddenly you’ve been smooching the same guy for four weeks. As amazing as it’s been, you realize that you’re looking for something more serious. Having the “what are we?” conversation can inspire fear even in the bravest of souls, but it’s a necessary talk.

    “Unfortunately, I think hook-up culture results in people spending a lot of time pretending they’re the person in the relationship who cares less, which leads to people being dishonest with one another,” says Beth from Kenyon College. “At the end of the day, it’s important to be completely straightforward and forthcoming. Pretending that you don’t want something more serious will only lead to hurt feelings, and the truth will come out eventually anyway.”

    Try asking him to meet you in a public place - if your current relationship is purely sexual and you’re looking for something more, meeting in a dorm room is probably not the best idea. Lay out how you feel.

    If he’s unwilling to make a commitment, be honest with yourself. Can you stand to be in a relationship that, in all probability, doesn’t have much of a future? If the answer is no, then you need to make clean break. “We teach people how to treat us by what we're willing to put up with,” Kirsch says. “Don't accept something or settle in hopes that he'll change. If you express that you've developed feelings and he doesn't feel the same way, walk away with your pride held in tact and find someone who thinks you're worthy enough that they don't want to lose you.”

    The rules are the same if you’re the one unwilling to up the serious level: be upfront about your desire to remain casual. “If you’re not looking for a serious commitment, it’s equally as important to be honest with them,” Beth says. “People often think what they want to think about what a relationship is, and it’s incumbent on you to be explicit about what you want.” Sometimes, it’s painful to end a relationship with someone you care about, but it’s not fair to either party if there’s a discrepancy in dedication. Know that what you’re doing is, in the long run, the best decision for both parties. He’ll be able to find someone who’s willing to commit, and you’ll be able to keep on keepin’ on.

    Problem #3: Your crush has yet to make a move.

    For the past month, you’ve been sitting next to each other in that Econ class, eyeing one another from across the dining hall, and casually working into conversations your total and complete single status. The level of sexual tension is almost unbearable. But before you start smooching, ask yourself seriously how you’ll feel the morning after. Or the Monday after, in class.

    That being said, there’s nothing hotter than unrequited love becoming requited. If you’re interested in getting to know him better, “start incorporating your crush into your daily life,” suggests Kirsch. “Does he have Snapchat? iMessage? Facebook Chat? Keep him in the loop about what you're up to, how your day was, what a pain you think your teacher is, etc., by using these methods to help build a foundation for a friendship. The benefit of this is that once you exchange messages, you can get a sense of who he really is, not just your superficial impression of him. This will help you decide if he's even worth pursuing in the first place.”

    It happens to the best of us, sometimes crushes do not translate well to an actual hook-up, and you have the rest of a semester to spend together in a class. Take a deep breath. Do not panic. Acting immaturely will just prolong the awkwardness. Freshman year, I completely ignored a failed hook-up for the rest of the class, even though he repeatedly sat next to me. Four years later, he still remembers my cold shoulder and it completely ruined our friendship. That said, don’t feel pressured to have extended conversations or force yourself to become besties. The best you can do is keep your head up, smile, and try to move on. Everyone has embarrassing moments in their love life timeline, and there is no level of humiliation that isn’t helped by a basic level of politeness and time.

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    Unless you’ve been in a devoted relationship since dating apps became popular, then you’ve probably installed a dating app on your phone at one point in time. While some of us are active dating app users, who are constantly checking Tinder for new could-be lovers, we can’t deny that dating apps aren’t for everyone.

    After all, it can be nearly impossible to actually find love when you’re using a dating app in a college town. I mean, clearly every college student is looking for “the one” at 1:30 a.m., right? While you might periodically uninstall your dating apps whenever you get a crude message — so you know, three times a day — there are several factors that should deter you from using them.

    Related: 7 Dating Apps You Won’t Believe Exist 

    1. You’re getting matched with too many jerks

    Pretty much everyone has come across an unhealthy amount of hyper-sexualized pickup lines or crude messages on every dating app. However, if you’re getting too many of these messages, it might be time to consider deleting your profiles.

    Alex McGuire, an alumna from Iowa State University, says, “I ended up uninstalling a dating app because I realized that people were approaching me not necessarily because they thought I sounded interesting, or had things in common, but because they wanted to know what my ethnicity was or where I was from. I’m multiracial, which apparently means you can start off conversations as insensitively as you want. I never felt more tokenized or fetishized in my life.”

    Unfortunately, people use online and app dating as a way to hide behind a screen, which is why some people think that they can just ask abhorrent questions without any repercussions that would happen in the real world, such as getting a drink thrown in their face followed by a swift knee to the groin.

    While one loathsome idiot shouldn’t deter you from using any dating app, it might be time to save yourself from unnecessary abuse if you start to receive multiple derogatory messages.

    2. You would rather build relationships in person

    Although dating apps might seem like a stress-free way to get to know some potential new suitors, especially for introverts or anyone with social anxiety, dating apps can make it more difficult to interact with your match once you meet them IRL.

    Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, explains that while she’s never used a dating app before, her friends have uninstalled their dating apps “to advance relationships through real-life meetings.” This totally makes sense, because we all need to have chemistry in the real world to be able to stand hanging out with anyone.

    We won’t lie, it’s going to be tough to hold a face-to-face convo, but it’ll be worth it. After all, nobody wants to live a life behind a phone.

    3. You’re using them to boost your self-esteem

    Dating apps can definitely give you a temporary self-esteem pick-me-up, because everyone on every dating app matches with you because they like your face (unless they’re one of the two people who actually read your bio). However, this just gives you a pseudo boost of confidence, because you're actually basing your self-worth on validation from other people.

    Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University, says, “I personally quit dating apps because I used them as a quick fix when I was feeling low (break ups, self-image issues, etc). There are better ways to heal yourself rather than seek validation that you are beautiful and worthy through an app.”

    While it might be nice to know that people other than your goldfish (fish are people too) like you, you’re ultimately just going to feel crappy when you swipe right on a cutie only to find out that it isn’t a match. Now, the app that made you feel momentarily great about yourself makes you feel like you’re less than, but in reality you’re a catch and that person is just shallow.

    Not to mention, some people actually berate their matches just because they didn’t message them back within the minute–you know exactly what I’m talking about. They send you some ‘witty’ pickup line, you don’t respond ASAP because you’re being productive, and then they say “that’s okay, you’re fat and ugly anyway.” Gee, I feel so stellar about myself now.

    If you don't believe us that dating apps can negatively impact your self esteem, take it from the American Psychological Association's study on Tinder's influence on self-esteem. Jessica Strübel, PhD, of the University of North Texas, explains, “Tinder users reported having lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies and having lower levels of self-worth than the men and women who did not use Tinder." There are plenty of healthy alternatives to using a dating app. Working on some self-love is a much more fruitful way to make you feel better about yourself, without giving you any forced boost of self-worth. Instead of swiping away your body image woes, get your girl squad together, put on some face masks and watch Netflix.

    4. You’re in a relationship (whatever that relationship might be)

    It should go without saying, but just uninstall your dating apps as soon as things start to get serious — whether serious happens before or after that dreaded DTR talk is up to you — between you and bae. Unless of course, you and your devoted other half are searching for a cat sitter on Bumble or a third person to join you in the bedroom choosing a side in your lovers’ quarrels, then by all means use all of the dating apps known to Android.

    However, if there’s no doubt that you and your SO are dating, you shouldn’t even think about installing a dating app on your phone. I get it, you’re obviously just using it to ‘look at eye candy,’ but just stop yourself before you even start. Just be normal and watch porn to ogle at your eye candy.

    If you and your boo haven’t had the official – but awkward – talk about what you are, but you still feel like you want to devote your time and energy to this person, then you should still uninstall you dating apps. No matter what you tell yourself, if you’re talking to other people in a romantic way when you’re ‘in like’ with someone else, then you’re probably feeling like you’re hiding something from them. Call it guilt or a selfish way to make yourself look slightly less terrible, but it will make you feel better to delete the apps altogether. After all, are you really going to miss getting those creepy Tinder messages every day?

    5. You’re too busy

    While every college girl boss is busy, some are just especially busy. Some of us need our friends to reserve a spot in our Google calendars just to have a five-minute chat about when we can hangout next. If you’re about to have an emotional breakdown because you need to reschedule your itinerary just to make room for a 15-minute coffee date, then don’t do it. You could just use your dating apps to find a FWB, but you still have to find time to fit them in your schedule. Don’t fret, a vibrator is a busy girl’s best friend. Hello, multitasking!

    Unless of course, you find a fuckboy who’s willing to hook up while you’re editing your thesis stellar guy who’s willing to watch Netflix while you comb through your hundreds of emails. If that’s the case, you better lock that ish down.

    Otherwise, stop dreaming about unicorns and remove every dating app from your phone. If you know deep down inside that you don’t have time for a fling or a full-blown relationship, then don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can make time to go on a few quick dates.

    6. You’d rather be single

    In a society that seems obsessed with finding your other half, it might be difficult for anyone to fathom that there are people who just aren’t content with being single, but who live for being single. Regardless, we do exist.

    Whether you just want to be single for the moment, the next ten years or the rest of your life, you shouldn’t download a dating app if you aren’t feeling it. After all, the whole point of a dating app is to talk to someone new and eventually meet them, so don’t put yourself through the stress of combing through prospective dates if you don’t want to date. Seriously, think of everything you could accomplish if you stop yourself from wasting time looking through prospective FWBs soulmates on Tinder. After you uninstall all your dating apps, you can use the time that you would have wasted on judging peoples’ shameless selfies on Tinder by practicing some self-love.

    After all, nobody is really alone, unless you live in a controlled environment and don’t talk to anyone at all, under any circumstances. Most of us have friends. Even if you don’t have a solid bestie that you spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) second with, you should at least be comfortable chilling with just yourself. Let’s face it, you’re the bee’s knees and you should love hanging with your single self, so sit down on your clichéd college futon and binge watch your fave Netflix series (without fear of being ‘interrupted’ by someone who wants to ‘chill’).

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    You’re walking along the sidewalk heading to your next class. It’s a beautiful day and you have plenty of important things to think about: your first major exam, what you’ll wear to that party tonight, etc. You probably make quick eye contact with the people that pass you, maybe smiling at an acquaintance or two. And then it happens. You make slight eye contact, pause for a second, have brain recognition and realize that you’re looking at a guy you hooked up with one night last semester. Awkward! Do you stop and make conversation? Do you quickly look away and pretend you never noticed him? Does seeing him bring back a rush of old memories from your brief encounter?

    It doesn’t matter whether you hail from the biggest of campuses or smallest of private schools—it's impossible to avoid anyone forever. It’s likely that neither of you were expecting to see each other. Since there isn’t some all-encompassing rulebook for this situation, he will feel equally uncertain. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have the advantage and be able to listen in on his thoughts when you both make eye contact?

    Related: 17 Things We Wish We Could Say to Our Exes

    Her Campus talked to 18 guys about how they’d feel if they ran into a former flame back on campus. We asked them about their reaction, your reaction and what they would want to happen after your chance encounter. So next time you find yourself in this potentially uncomfortable situation, you’ll have an idea of what’s running through his head—and how to come away from it with no harm done.

    In his shoes

    Let’s start with what he’s thinking when this all goes down. What’s his initial reaction? What factors affect how he’d react upon seeing you? How can you turn the situation in your favor… or at least make it bearable?

    Almost 63 percent of guys said that they would view running into a former hook-up as an awkward situation. Brian from Washington State University has experienced this firsthand: “Last semester I ran into a girl that I hadn’t seen since the morning [after we hooked up],” he says, “Obviously it’s going to be awkward if the last time you saw each other, she was quickly throwing on clothes and trying to get back to her place. I honestly just sort of did a head nod and kept walking. I probably should’ve stopped and talked to her or something, but I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable either.”

    Several guys, such as Danny from Mississippi State University, have tried to make conversation only to end up making the situation worse: “When I realized that [a former hook-up] had a class with me, I decided that it would be best to talk to her before class started,” Danny explains. “Within a few seconds of conversation, I realized that she was extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed about what had happened. Then, class started and we had to sit next to each other with all of this awkwardness between us until it was over.”

    We agree that these situations sound less than pleasant, but seeing a former hook-up doesn’t always have to be awkward. Almost 25 percent of guys said they would be indifferent if they encountered a hook-up and another 12 percent of guys felt seeing a former hook-up would be nice. Who knows, maybe seeing you on campus will be just the thing that makes his day!

    The factors

    So what is it about running into a former hook-up that has some guys (and some of you collegiettes, too!) on edge? After being allowed to select each option that would be a factor to them, almost 88 percent of guys said not speaking to each other since you had hooked up would make the situation most uncomfortable. “If I were to run into a girl I’d hooked up with but not spoken to since, I would feel pretty bad and that would make things awkward,” says Michael from Southern Illinois University.

    Half of the guys surveyed said that it would be most awkward if they had ended things on bad terms with a former hook-up. Blake from the University of Missouri just wants to move on from the drama:“I hooked up with a girl that clearly wanted more when I clearly didn’t,” Blake says. “I was pretty straightforward about it, but she still was really angry and upset. She basically blew up at me and I haven’t talked to her since. If I ever run into her on campus, it will be awful.”

    Sometimes, though, a run-in with a hook-up can be the exact opposite of Blake’s situation. About 37 percent of guys said it would be awkward if they had wanted the hook-up to turn into something more. In that case, a collegiette could be running into a guy that she had to let down. “I ran into a girl once that I wanted to date when she just wanted to hook up,” says Kyle from Vanderbilt University. “Seeing her was obviously tough because I’d been rejected. I just decided to be polite but get out of the situation as quickly as possible.”

    The key: making a point to amicably end your contact with a hook-up will pay off in the long run. But if things went sour before you cut off communication, it’s always best to just be polite and avoid re-hashing any drama that may have gone down in the past so you can be on your way.

    His reaction

    When it comes to how he thinks he’d actually react in the moment, there was much less of a consensus. The guys we talked to were in a three-way tie for how they thought they’d act if they ran into a former hook-up:

    • He would stop and start a conversation… No biggie!
    • He’d give a quick form of acknowledgement (a wave or head nod) and then move on. OR… He’d find a happy medium and give a short ‘Hello!’ or ‘How are you?’ and then move on.
    • Ben from the University of Missouri prefers a happy medium: “I’d give her a ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ and that’s about it,” he says. “You don’t want to give someone the cold shoulder because that’s immature, but you don’t want to start a conversation either. There probably isn’t much to say and no one wants small talk to get awkward.” 

    In your shoes

    Now that you know how guys think they’d react to running into a former hook-up, let’s turn the tables. How would a former hook-up ideally like you to react if you ran into each other on campus? The answers were mixed, but we’ve ranked them in order of most preferred to least:

    1. You give him a quick ‘Hi!’ and move on (38 percent).
    2. You wave or smile at him and move on (36 percent).
    3. You’d stop and make pleasant conversation (13 percent).
    4. You’d stop and try to make conversation, but you’d be awkward about it (12 percent). 

    Luckily, most guys want the same thing for you as they want for themselves – a quick acknowledgement so that you can both go back to your day.

    You had him at ‘hello’… or not

    This may surprise you, or it may not… Some guys secretly hope that after your encounter, he may turn into something more than just ‘a former hook-up’ of yours. When it comes to rekindling things, or hooking up again, 63 percent of guys said they’d consider it. Danny from Mississippi State University said that he’d be interested in starting things up again with a former flame: “If we had a good time [when we hooked up before] and it wasn’t awkward afterwards, I would definitely consider it,” he admits.

    When the stakes got more serious – we asked whether guys would potentially want to be in a relationship with a former hook-up – fewer of them were interested. About 37 percent of guys would consider dating a girl they’d hooked up with before. Mike from Northeastern University says, “It would be the same as if I were getting into a relationship with any other girl. [I would consider] her personality, future plans and how we were around each other.”

    Blake from the University of Missouri says, “It would obviously depend on whether I had a girlfriend at the time or not. If we had a good connection, we were both single, and we both had time to give it a try, I would [go for it].” The odds of him wanting something more are pretty good if your time together showed potential and you had fun together. However, around 38 percent of guys didn’t think they’d want to, and another 25 percent of guys said ‘Definitely not!’

    So when it comes to having any sort of contact with a former hook-up, what do guys prefer? It’s kind of a toss-up – half of guys said that they keep in touch with a former hook-up but it varies in regards to how often they actually contact them. Most prefer brief communication (a text or saying hello when they see each other) every once in awhile. And if one of you is in a relationship when you run into each other? The consensus was that it’s best to just cut communication: “I wouldn’t want to be rude if I ran into a girl that I’d hooked up with,” says Kyle from Vanderbilt University, “but I’m in a relationship now, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize anything by starting up a conversation with her. I’d hope that my girlfriend would do the same in that situation. Just give a quick hello and keep walking.”

    So there you have it, collegiettes! Next time you find a campus stroll interrupted by a guy that you had shared ‘intimate’ relations with, you will have a good idea of how he’s feeling.By keeping your cool and being concise, you can move right along to your next class (and the next Campus Cutie) without a backward glance!

    Have you ever had a horrifically awkward run-in with a former hook-up? How about a run-in that rekindled a former flame? Tell us your stories in the comments!

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    The beginning of fall semester can be stressful. Everything from making sure your pens from last year still have ink, to picking up your textbooks, moving in to your new room, choosing an outfit worthy of the first day of class and, most importantly, an outfit that shows off how much hotter, tanner and fitter you have gotten over the summer for last semester’s crush. However, an outfit can only do so much.

    Your crush from spring semester may have been a guy you hooked up with a few times but weren’t “hooking up with,” or maybe something a little more serious, or maybe just a love-from-afar kind of crush that you never had the guts to do anything about. 

    While you may be tempted to hide behind the nearest building when you first see him on campus, instead, try some of these effective and, at times, very strategic flirting tips from my two suave friends, a senior at Cornell and a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill (let’s call them Jake* and Sam*). 

    Scenario 1: You end up next to each other in line at the dining hall.

    Do not keep talking to your girl friend and pretend like you have somehow managed not to notice he is standing right next to you; otherwise the next 10 minutes are about to be the most painstakingly awkward moments of your life. Instead, embrace the nervous excitement churning in your stomach and say hello. Have the regular post-summer conversation, like updates on internships and vacations, and at some point casually slip in a compliment.

    Jake suggests, “Compliment him on a summer improvement. If he had a really cool summer job tell him, ‘That sounds so interesting,’ or if he explains he went to the beach, say, ‘I can tell, you look really tan.’ If you can’t think of anything creative, just genuinely smile and tell him ‘You look good!’ Then he will walk away from the conversation thinking about you and how you thought he looked good. It will definitely turn him on and get him thinking about your chemistry last spring.”  

    Scenario 2: You walk into your classroom and discover him sitting in the third row.

    As endless weeks of steamy study sessions and excuses to meet up before and after class start flashing before your eyes, compose yourself and focus on finding a strategic seat.

    Jake's advice for big lecture classes is to sit behind your crush. He says, “Sit behindhim a few rows back and a little to the side, so you can catch him checking you out. On the first day of class, guys love to sit and watch all the girls coming in to the classroom and get excited about all the new hot girls they will have excuses to spend time with.”

    Plus, if you sit in frontof him, you will most likely feel extremely self-conscious and imagine he is staring at your love handles or that stain on the back of your shirt you thought no one would notice. After class, text him something like: “I noticed we have [blank] class together. This should be a good semester.” It will have him excitedly wondering if you meant “good” because of him, or because of the syllabus.

    If it’s a smaller, more intimate class setting like a seminar, Sam says, “You definitely want to be in the same row and within conversation distance. It would be awkward if you sat too far away because you will obviously both acknowledge each other’s presence. Have a friendly conversation and act really excited to have a class together, and shoot him flirtatious smiles throughout the class whenever the professor says something funny or interesting.”

    Scenario 3: You wave to each other crossing the quad but it’s too awkward of a distance to have a conversation.

    This is the perfect time for a first text. A few minutes after you saw each other, text him: “Too bad I missed you. We should catch up soon.” You don’t need to be overly flirtatious here, and you may be tempted to add a smiley emoticon for an obvious clue that you still like him.

    However, Jake has pretty strong feelings about emoticons: “Emoticons are boner killers.” This might not be the same for all guys, but a smile is insinuated without a colon and a parenthesis. Hopefully he will text you back, and if so, follow the tips explained in Scenario 4.

    Scenario 4: He texts you out of the blue.

    Don’t freak out, but this may be the single most important thing to ever happen to you. Just kidding—sort of. The fact that he texted you without any stimulant on your end shows that he has been thinking about seeing you and is excited you are both back on campus. Ask a question back to maintain the conversation, and after a couple of texts, stop being so vague about your summer and start being specific, telling jokes and flirting.

    Sam explains, “Don’t talk about academics or your internship; talk about fun, unusual and adventurous things you did over the summer that will make him interested and have the conversation continue for a long time.” Hopefully, it will end in one of you suggesting meeting up over the weekend or for a meal.

    Scenario 5: You run into him at a wild first-weekend-back party.

    This scenario will require some constraint on your end. In your drunken haze, you will think to yourself, “Darn it, what were those tips in that great article on Her Campus?” – or something along those lines. Here is the key point to remember:

    DO NOT hook up (no making out, nothing) the first night you run into each other coincidentally. You don’t want him to think of you as the surefire hookup for a weekend. However, both Jake and Sam agree that you also do not want him to think, “Oh my god, why didn’t she want to hook up with me? Is she over me?” 

    Instead, the ever-strategic Jake suggests you create a false time constraint. “Casually work into conversation that you promised your friend you have to stop by this other party. If he wants to come with you he will follow you there, or you should text him later and invite him: ‘Hey this party is really fun. You should come.’ That way, he will think ‘She didn’t hook up with me because she had to go somewhere’ rather than ‘she wanted to run away from me because she doesn’t like me anymore.’” If he ends up coming to the party, then it’s clear he still likes you and the serious flirting can start. Then, it’s up to you if you want to hook up.

    (Note: Don’t freak out if he doesn’t fall into your trap and come to the other party; it’s possible his friends convinced him to go elsewhere, or countless other events of an unpredictable night at college.)

    Scenario 6: You look up from your laptop in the library and realize he is doing homework at a desk right near you.

    Now, there are two choices: you either wait for him to notice you and come up to you, or you make the move. If you are lucky, you will catch him staring at you and give a little wave or a smile and nod.

    If you want to make the move, Jake tactfully explains, “You want to walk past him as an excuse for conversation, but you can only do what your surroundings present you with for a destination: a friend, the printer, the bathroom, the water fountain. Walk towards the pretend destination and act surprised and happy to run into him, and have a quick and friendly conversation.” Remember, he might be caught up with homework and will probably only be receptive to a short yet flirtatious hello.

    Scenario 7: You are with a group of girl friends and run into him with his group of guy friends at the go-to Sunday breakfast place. 

    We saved the trickiest situation for last. When we were talking to Jake and Sam, they both admitted to being stumped for the perfect way to handle it. Jake admits he “hates the showdown of the crews,” because groups of friends get in the way and make this first encounter more awkward than it should be. It’s good to note that guys are just as uncomfortable in this situation as girls are; friends can be intimidating and might throw you off your game.

    Amidst the rounds of polite hugs and overly-excited “Heys!” between groups, make sure you hug him a little tighter, and flash him a brighter smile, and have a slightly longer greeting than you do with all his friends so he realizes you are more excited to see him. Later shoot him a text about the encounter: “It was great to see you at [blank], maybe next time we can run into each other on purpose,” or anything that implies you should have more coincidental run-ins in the future.

    Keep these flirty tips in mind for the first week of fall semester, and hopefully you will feel well prepared and resist the urge to hide when you suddenly cross paths. Love is a battlefield, and sometimes it requires a little strategy to nudge it in the right direction.

    *Names have been changed.

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    We constantly hear that sacrifice is the key to having a healthy and successful relationship. Perhaps that means waking up an extra 10 minutes earlier to make your SO a cup of coffee, dedicating one night a week for date night–or coping with their rotten mood after a really rough day at work. Even though being in a healthy relationship does entail many expenses from both sides, but when does it cross the line? All too often it seems as if relationships diminish the passions and opinions of one side (or both) because of the other’s assertive behavior. Here are four signs you are too passive in your relationship.

    1.You lose your own opinion  

    If you are too passive in a relationship it is very likely that your opinion about certain topics is consistently being over shadowed, even so much that you stop voicing your opinion all together. Isabella Santos, sophomore at the University of Miami, experienced this warning sign firsthand in one of her past relationships. As a girl who had always been very assertive about her opinions, she found herself changing outfits for a night out with friends simply because her boyfriend didn’t approve of it. Without hesitation, she switched into an outfit he was finally content with her wearing. Isabella explains how your voice can easily be lost in an unbalanced relationship. “You don’t realize you are being passive in the relationship until you are completely out of it,” she says. “I let him make decisions for me that I have always made myself, but gosh does love truly blind you or what?”

    Making decisions together is a great way to strengthen your relationship and build trust, but when it comes down to your partner making decisions about you as an individual, a problem arises. This type of control that your SO may have over your decisions is a red flag that it may be time to break the relationship up. it Speak your own opinion, but be sure to listen to their thoughts as well–it’s all about two-way communication!

    2.You always feel inadequate

    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Repeat that a couple times per day, then there is a big chance you’re being too passive in your relationship. This sign is loaded with a lot of anxiety and insecurity. You might always be thinking of ways to make your SO happier, despite the cost on your end. You no longer prioritize your personal mental state and happiness, but feel it’s your obligation to do everything you can to make them happy. If your relationship is in a healthy place, you both want the best for each other. It’s not about proving who’s better at the relationship, rather it’s about wanting your partner to be as comfortable and happy as you are.

    3.You distance yourself from the important people in your life

    It’s extremely important to stay connected to your family and friends even while being whole-heartedly in love. "I eventually gave up trying to merge my friend group with my love life due to the obvious disconnect between my boyfriend and friends,” Isabella explains. “This eventually turned into hanging out with him and his friends for the majority of the time and seeing my friends only occasionally.” This is a very common issue in relationships since it’s usually quite difficult to balance your time between your friends and partner adequately. It is completely understandable, but when you rarely see your friends at all and realize you spend more time with your SO’s social group simply because of their desire to do so, you might have gone too far.

    4.Your goals? Gone

    Ignoring your previous life goals and aspirations is a sign that you might be letting the relationship take over your life–and not in a good way. It shows you no longer see the point of working hard for personal success because you are just “hanging on for the ride” of their successes. Molly Bolton, a sophomore from the University of Florida, says it’s “extremely important to work toward your own goals in a relationship so that you can grow as an individual rather than a couple.”

    Ignoring your own long-term desires will result in a sparse life lacking your own interests. Both individuals should motivate each other to reach their goals, not dwindle them.

    Losing yourself in the midst of love is a very easy thing to do. We sometimes become so infatuated with our SO that the only thing that seems right is giving our whole selves to them, despite sacrificing our own needs and desires. The healthiest relationship is when both individuals can enjoy each other’s qualities without overshadowing one another. It is absolutely possible to be a supportive and caring partner while maintaining your own individual needs with good communication and a well-balanced relationship. 

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    The first week of college is full of opportunities to meet new friends (and SOs!). You’re entering a social scene where you know few (if any) people, and that means the dating pool is a whole new ballgame. From the vast number of guys you’ll meet during orientation week or first week of classes, you’ll probably find a few who pique your interest. But before you go wild with the new selection of guys and girls at your disposal, beware of these love don’ts that many freshmen commit during their first few weeks at college, and remember these love do’s so you can make the most of your college dating experience!

    DON’T Get too Serious About the First Person You Meet

    You met a cute guy or girl! Now you’re wondering when he or she will text you back, what he’s doing this weekend, and if the two of you will end up dating… but hold up! While being open to a relationship is a good outlook to have, remember that you’re only one week into college. Is your new crush really that amazing, or are you attached to the idea of security and familiarity that comes with being in a relationship?

    If you do feel a real connection, that’s great! Continue dating or hanging out (or whatever you want to call it), but Adam LoDolce, dating coach and Founder of Sexy Confidence, says that you shouldn’t close yourself off to other options too soon, even if you’ve hooked up. “You've just been introduced to a whole new world—you’ll limit yourself if you settle down too quickly,” he says. There are plenty of people on campus you haven’t met yet, and college is a time to develop and explore multiple relationships—not just the first one you establish.

    If you realize that you’re only attracted to the idea of this guy, then tone it down. You can stay in touch and remain friends with him, but give yourself some distance and time to get to know other people. Even at smaller colleges, you’ll be meeting new people all the time, so don’t feel compelled to attach yourself to the first guy who catches your eye.

    DO Say Yes to Actual Dates

    Yes, real dating does exist in college! “When a guy you may be interested in asks you out on a date (like, actually asks, ‘Do you want to go out to dinner?’ or, ‘Can I take you on a date?’), say YES,” says Marni Battista, founder of Dating With Dignity. She recommends girls accept the gesture over more common dating techniques in college, such as the casual party invite (because, for all you know, the guy could have texted many girls the same thing). When a guy tries to get to know you on a personal level (outside the party scene), it shows genuine interest that likely goes beyond physical attraction.

    However, be cautious and sensible when dating new people. “Make sure you know the guy you’ve agreed to go on a date with, and make sure the place you’re going is near other people and not too far from home,” Battista says.

    DON’T Compare Your Love Life to Your New Friends’

    Is your roommate staying home every night to talk to her boyfriend? Or are a group of your new, single friends on the hunt for flings? It can be tempting to seek an active love life if everyone else is, but remember that you’re responsible for shaping your own college experience, and you should do whatever is best for you.

    “Peer pressure is the name of the game, so don’t fall for it and stand your ground,” says Battista. It’s perfectly fine to move at your own pace when dating or choose not to date at all. Socialize in a way that you are comfortable with, for your own reasons and on your own timeline. Incoming freshmen hail from all backgrounds, so don’t feel pressured to copy someone else’s lifestyle.

    If you’re feeling down because your friends all had a crazier night than you during Welcome Week, Battista says, “Trust that the amount of regret and/or hangover you’ll be feeling tomorrow will be minimal compared to your friends.”

    DO Set Clear Boundaries

    The first week of college is unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean your hook-ups have to be. Don’t think you have to push the boundaries of what you’re comfortable with just because other people in college have more experience than you, or you think it’s “what everyone does in college.”

    “People (especially men) are testing the boundaries of what they can get away with. Your job is to set your boundaries and establish a personal comfort zone with the other sex,” Battista says. So before you even put yourself in a hook-up situation, set your boundaries so you can clearly express them to a guy when you’re in the moment.

    “If you don't want to go too far physically, let your guy know your limits in advance,” says Briana Morgan, a senior at Georgia College. In your normal state of mind, this sounds manageable. However, many college hook-ups begin at parties where alcohol is involved, and that affects how articulate you are. If you plan to drink, do so responsibly, because too much alcohol can also impair your judgment and compromise the boundaries you set earlier.

    DON’T Expect a Relationship From a Random Hook-up

    So you ended up going home with the hot guy or girl you were flirting with all night—score! But a few days have passed and he or she still hasn’t contacted you. What gives?

    We hate to break it to you, but maybe your hook-up was just that: a hook-up.

    The college dating scene is no stranger to miscommunication (and straight-up players), so prepare yourself mentally and emotionally if you do decide to hook up (being physically safe is a given). If the idea of a no-strings-attached hook-up doesn’t sit well with you, don’t hook up. Nothing can ruin your arrival at college like being depressed over a crush (we’ve been there!). The post-hook-up lull is distracting and can discourage you from putting yourself out there again to meet people who are actually worth your time.

    Briana Morgan, a recent graduate of Georgia College, says, “If you're interested in more than just hooking up, make that clear from the beginning.” By being clear and upfront about your intentions, you’re saving yourself time, effort, and potential heartbreak.

    DO Make Yourself Approachable

    It’s kind of hard to get someone’s attention (let alone flirt!) if he or she is glued to his phone. You wouldn’t want someone to close himself or herself off like that, so return the favor and leave your phone in your purse when you’re in a social environment. If you’re always looking at your phone screen, you aren’t able to use one of the easiest ways to break the ice: eye contact! Without a distracting screen in front of you, you’re more likely to be aware of your surroundings and make a connection with someone. “If I could go back now and repeat orientation, I would make sure I wasn't on my phone texting all the time. It probably turned a lot of people off,” says Shira Kipnees, a senior at Franklin & Marshall.

    Another way to make yourself approachable is to break free from your girl posse. A large group of girls can be intimidating to approach, so occasionally stray away to give that cute guy a chance to talk to you!

    DON’T Cling to Your High School SO

    In the first few weeks of college, a long-distance SO can be both a gift and a curse. On one hand, he or she acts as a source of security while you’re far away from friends and family. On the other, he or she can prevent you from seeking other opportunities to socialize. “One mistake that I learned from my freshman year was that I spent a good part of orientation texting my boyfriend or Skyping him or talking to him on the phone,” says Shira.

    Even though you’re not pursuing other guys, a high school sweetheart can still limit you in areas outside of the dating world. Shira says even though she did make great friends when she started college, it took time because she was really shy. Instead of getting out of her comfort zone to make friends, she would turn to her SO.

    Our best advice for balancing a long-distance relationship and college life is to accept that you will be uncomfortable when you don’t know many people yet—but you shouldn’t use this as a reason to retreat to your beau. In fact, embrace your independence! It means you’re making yourself available for new experiences and new friends. Sure, texting your boyfriend is a safer option, but do you really want your college experience to be the same as high school?

    DO Make Some Platonic Friends

    Remember that not every acquaintance has to be in the running to be your next SO. Learn to appreciate the company of people as they are, not based on a “boyfriend material” checklist. And, who knows—if it’s really meant to be, maybe a “friends first” situation can eventually turn into something more!

    Caleb Frank, a senior at Kansas State University, says that guys look for a female friend who they can talk to and trust. “She needs to be somebody who is fun and energetic,” he says. He adds that it doesn’t hurt if the girl is willing to be a wingwoman for her guy friend. (Besides, isn’t that what all good friends do?)

    The first year of college is a great time to establish those lasting friendships. Soniya Shah, a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, says, “Do take advantage of everyone being so friendly! This is a great time to meet as many people as you can, whether it's in the dining halls, at orientation activities or just around the dorms.” LoDolce suggests that you try and talk to at least five new people per day. The more people you meet, the better your chances at finding that go-to friend!

    DON’T Put Dating Before Schoolwork

    It’s easy to get carried away in the fun, new dating scene of college, but remember the main reason you’re at college: to get an education! It may seem like easy sailing at first when your classes haven’t really gotten difficult yet, you’re going to parties multiple times a week, and you’re meeting new guys, but as soon as your first exam or major assignment pops up, you’re going to wish you had adopted a better work/fun balance. It’s fine to enjoy yourself on the weekends—just make sure it is not cutting into your study time!

    The first week of college is a scary and exciting time for all freshmen, so we hope these do’s and don’ts will make navigating the college dating scene easier. If you do find yourself in a dating disaster, know that it will eventually pass and that there will be plenty of other campus cuties to pursue. So best of luck on your search, collegiettes, and above all else: have fun and stay safe!

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    Think you’re prepared for college romance? Until you can spot the most notorious campus couples,think again! Read below for HC’s guide to the top ten duos you’ll get to know in your four years at college.

    1. The Couple Who’s Already Booked the Campus Chapel

    These “romantics” are engaged or soon-to-be. They lovingly refer to the children they do not have, and they’ve already spent at least one year of major holidays together (including, but not limited to, the Fourth of July). If they seem on a different track than most couples, it’s because they are. Expect them to skip out on fraternity ragers for quiet weekends at (ugh) bed and breakfasts.  But hooray for true love, right guys?

    2. The Sorority Sweetheart and the Frat Star

    These Greek gods have all the social connections and one or both of them is most likely a chapter president. They’re pretty—like, J.Crew catalog pretty. And while there’s always underlying drama with these two, you’ll never see them miss a big social event!

    3. The Activists

    Remember way back when Summer got all vegan-y on the last season of The O.C. and started hanging around that Che guy? THEY WERE THIS COUPLE. They always have a cause, and it always involves wearing really similar pants. Find them planting sustainable foods in the campus garden, having sit-ins to stop deforestation in order to build new dorms and, most importantly, biking everywhere.

    4. The All-Americans

    Imagine if David Beckham and Hope Solo dated...this is the couple with enough athletic scholarship money between them to finance a comfortable suburban home. These two are gifted in the abs department. My one request? Stop working out at the gym together—it just makes everyone else want to give up.

    5. The Reality Show Drama Couple

    Okay, so maybe they don’t have a reality show, but they break up and get back together enough times to make one happen. Find them at the bar, alternatively slurring insults at each other and furiously making out. Don’t even THINK about trying to get mixed up in this one. Remember what happened when Ronnie tried to hook up with other girls behind Sammi’s back on The Jersey Shore? Yikes.

    6. The Power Couple

    They’ve got matching ambition and the 4.0’s to prove it. This is the couple who will go from trading notes in the library to trading notes on the Senate floor. If you end up in a class with them, expect that they will dominate—they are each other’s biggest competition. Like the Obamas or the Clintons (though some of these romances work out better than others...).

    7. The High School Sweethearts

    Every freshman floor has at least one girl pining away for her high school boyfriend. They Skype constantly, and he comes to visit about every other weekend. When they’re together, expect them to hibernate in her dorm—when they’re not, expect her phone to be attached to her hand at all times. This couple often bids their relationship adieu over the notorious Thanksgiving Break (“The Turkey Dump”), but some manage to stick it out for the long haul.

    8. The Orientation to Graduation Couple

    These crazy kids met the first day of college and have been dating ever since. They were among the few freshmen to pair off right away and are among the even fewer who stay together.  While they may not keep dating after college, they're certainly tagged in an obscene amount of Facebook photos togetherwhile it lasts.

    9. The Law Student and the Co-ed

    There’s always one sorority girl who finds her frat boy counterparts to be too immature. Enter the older law student/med student/local businessman who’s still into 19-year-olds! While their love isn’t traditional, it is mutually beneficial. You can find them out at nice dinners and swanky bars. Just don’t call him a Sugar Daddy!

    10. The Best Dressed Duo

    Even if they go to school in the middle of Iowa, they dress like it’s New York Fashion Week every day. They shop together, and they probably both have really good hair, seemingly without trying. Find them around campus looking like they’re posing for a fashion shoot. You will never find them repeating outfits.

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    You’ve done your research, read a few Judy Blume novels and replayed your favorite sex scenes over and over again on Netflix (@Gossip Girl fans we're looking at you). Bottom line: you’re fully ready to lose that v-card. But before you drop your pants, let us drop some knowledge on you: whoever is going to be by your side while you’re on your side (or back, or front—whatever works for you) is going to be a significant player in your conversations about sex for the rest of your life. Whether you’ve been dating for five years or you met five minutes ago, run through these red flags to make sure you know exactly what you shouldn’t be getting into—or who shouldn’t be getting into you.

    Here for a good time, not a long time

    SPOILER ALERT: the possibility of your first time being zero to 100 back to zero real quick is pretty high. But we’re not talking about speed of the act itself, but the speed at which your first-time lover decides to get out of your bed/tree house/high school locker room.

    Moriah Raisis, a junior at Southern Methodist University, can attest to this issue well after losing her virginity to one of her first college friends. “All he wanted to do was talk about sex before we even did it, and I was in such a hurry to get it over with that I didn't even notice,” she says. “The worst part? Afterwards, he said, "Hey I don't wanna sound rude but...could you please leave?"’”

    You may be eager to throw your virginity out the door, but you probably want to make sure you’re not being thrown out right behind it. Make your expectations clear about the time you want to spend together—if you and your supposed special someone aren’t on the same page, you might want to keep those pants buttoned.

    Related: You Will Not Be Able to EVEN with These First Time Sex Horror Stories

    He’s just not that into you…or you’re just not that into him.

    Your first time can come with some serious emotional attachment. While it’s pretty hard to tell how you’re going to feel before you get between the sheets, you can usually get a good read on things by figuring out if you and your partner-in-sex feel the same way about each other.

    Katie Short, a senior at SUNY Oswego, comments about deciding to hold off on losing it to her close friend who she had been hooking up with. “He started to develop feelings for me,” she says. “I told him we couldn’t continue doing what we were doing because it was disrespectful to him and would only hurt him, and after some reluctance on his part, he agreed with me to just be friends and to not continue hooking up.” Acknowledging that sex is going to hurt one of you (and not just physically) is an important, mature step to saving you from either serious guilt or serious heartbreak down the road.

    Under pressure

    You’ve told your ideal person that you’re down to get down, but, ever since then, you haven’t heard anything from him or her other than talk about doing the deed. Suddenly, your first time has become the only focus of conversation, and you feel like you need to just rip off your clothes so you can finally change the topic.

    If your relationship with someone has changed just because you started talking about having sex, then it’s probably bound to change even more once you get around to it. It’s possible that this person is super excited about the possibility of kicking your physical relationship up a notch, but it’s also possible that you could be another notch on his or her belt.

    Next time sex comes up in conversation (which, inevitably, won’t be too far away), make sure you set things straight about your intentions. If getting laid is the only thing keeping you together, maybe it’s time to break apart.

    Related: 29 Thoughts Every Girl Has the First Time She Has Sex

    Easy cum, easy go

    Birds do it, bees do it, but now it seems like everyone is doing it. You’re ready to make moves with literally the next person you see, because Trojans are beyond #trending right now and you’re not trying to be stuck in last season. Pump the brakes before you put it in–love may be blind, but lust is absolutely blackout.

    Rachel, a recent graduate from James Madison University, saw her friends getting busy and wanted to join in. “I thought about doing it with an older boyfriend at the time (he wasn't a virgin), but I wasn't 100 percent convinced and was really only thinking about it because I wanted to have sex, not because I wanted to have sex with him,” she says. “If you're more into the idea of it than the person themselves, it probably isn't the right person!”

    FOMO and quick access to a quickie shouldn’t be the driving forces behind your first choice in bedmate. If “I was down and he was there” is the only explanation you can give, you might want to shut your legs and open your mind to some other options.

    One-hit wonder

    You’ve only been to first base, but it’s really good. Like amazing good. So good, that the minute you start kissing you’re fully ready to strip. Great kissers must be great in bed, right?

    Take a look at that logic. That’s like saying people who are great at simple algebra are equally outstanding at astrophysics. Or that people who can microwave Easy Mac have a shot at an Iron Chef title. Or that your Instragram getting more than 400 likes makes you the next Annie Leibowitz. Just because this person may have mastered the most basic level of physical pleasure, you shouldn’t jump to any grandiose conclusions.

    Kayleen Parra-Padron, a senior at Florida International University, knows this feeling well. “My ex and I had been dating for about a month and I was literally crazy about him because he was really good at making out," she said. "Of course, good kissers always lead to possible regrets afterwards.” And honestly, she was right. She held off on getting off and he dumped her.

    We’re not trying to tell you that a good kisser is a bad choice. But just because someone has the lips of an angel, you shouldn’t be expecting some heavenly lovemaking.

    Related: The Truth About Virginity in College

    Your first time can be a super exciting milestone or a humorous anecdote for future parties. Needless to say, you’re not going to forget it—so make sure you’re losing it to someone who you want to remember. Good luck, collegiettes, and make good choices!

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    Say so long to your high school guys, and hello to college boys. As a freshman girl, eligible cuties seem to be everywhere, and guess what? They’re all looking at you. The attention can be fun, but when it comes down to it, the dating game in college is one that you’ll learn a lot about as time goes on—you might not be a pro right off the bat. To get started, Her Campus has put together a list of the DOs and DON’Ts of college dating. Who, you ask, knew there was such a science behind college guys, anyway? Aren’t they just a bunch of sex-hungry dudes? Well, maybe, but there might be a little bit more to it. Here are the guidelines of how to deal with the ones who are, and the ones who aren’t. Read ‘em and weep, girls.

    DO make friends with the guys on your floor.

    These guys will be super fun to hang out with once they get to know each other well, and you’ll be the cool girl who can get in on that action when you need a break from girl drama. On top of it, you might really connect with one of them.

    DON’T rush into anything, though.

    Hooking up with one or two of your hallmates within the first few days of school, however, is a definite no-no. When tempted to engage in “dormcest,” remind yourself that you’re going to have to face him—as well as everyone else on your floor, because they’re going to find out—for the rest of the year, no matter how good or bad your hook-up was.

    DON’T write anybody off too soon.

    Just because he’s sitting alone and doesn’t speak to anyone in the class doesn’t mean he’s a total lunatic. If you’re interested, all it takes is a slow pack-up-and-hang-back after class to initiate conversation.

    DO go out to meet people.

    Find out where the hot spots are each night of the week(end), and make sure to show up every once in a while. As a new student, you’ll get a feel for student life and get exposed to every kind of guy—frat boys, athletes, pre-meds, business students and artsy guys, too.

    DON’T stay in talking to your high school boyfriend every night.

    If you’ve broken up, there was a reason, and now is the time to move on. Your freshman year is meant for new beginnings, not dwelling on old relationships. Phone calls between Texas and Massachusetts won’t bring you back together—it’ll only keep you from meeting new people that are just beyond your dorm room door.

    DO start off slowly if you’re not used to dating or just got out of a relationship.

    Study hall or dining hall dates count, too! As casual as these settings are, it can be a great place to get to know a guy or meet someone new. Take it easy if you’re just getting your feet wet with the whole dating game, and don’t feel a need to rush into anything intense.

    DON’T go out every single night.

    A little mystery never hurt anyone… and it’ll do wonders for your grades, too. A mother’s wisest words—if guys see you going out night after night, how will they ever get to miss you? Show face as often as you can without being that girl that everyone expects to run into.

    DO look around your classes for guys.

    If they’re showing up for class at all, then you know they’ve at least got something going for them. And hey, maybe he’s even smart and organized enough for you to make him your “study buddy.” Study dates are pretty much the best dates most college girls can hope for within the first month or so of school (news flash: college guys are usually cheap).

    Related: 7 Classy AF Dates That Won't Break the Bank

    DON’T make him think you’re interested if you’re not just because you don’t want the perks to go away.

    It’s not fair to the guy if you’re just not that into him, but you keep him around because he’s, like, obsessed with you. The puppy dog thing will get old after a while, leaving him feeling stupid/angry and you feeling unfulfilled, annoyed and guilty – not to mention that other guys you might actually become interested in will get the wrong idea.

    DO engage in a random hook-up (safely), if you want to.

    They’re part of the college lifestyle, and you can choose if you want to engage in them or not (certainly, you can avoid making out with the guy you’ve been dancing with all night if you’re just not that into it). It’s up to you to decide if that’s your style, but know that it happens and it doesn’t have to be scandalous or “slutty”—but just, in fact, kind of fun. As long as you’re not going crazy by swapping saliva with every guy you lay eyes on, random hook-ups can be fun and can lead to date parties, formals and maybe even a real date! If nothing else, at least you can get an exciting night or two out of them—just make sure to stay safe and keep your friends posted on your whereabouts.

    DON’T count on them turning into anything serious.

    Most of the time, dance-floor make-outs (DFMO’s) start and finish on the dance floor and only go as far as a phone number swap. Take these experiences for what they are, and don’t think he’s fallen in love with you simply because he’s been attached to your mouth all night.

    DO accept invitations/initiations from older guys.

    Attention from upperclassmen is surely a plus in any freshman’s book, because they’re seasoned. They know what’s up in this whole college world, and it can be quite nice to have a hot, older guy show you the ropes – he’ll let you know what parties are happening, bring you to date parties, introduce you to his friends and be a pretty face to show up in your tagged pictures on Facebook. That said, don’t feel the need to hook up with him purely because he’s “older and wiser…” because he may just turn out to be pretty stupid.

    DON’T feel pressured to have sex.

    No, we can’t be certain that what all guys are looking for is sex, but that’s definitely a part of college hook-ups. He might want it and he might even ask for it, but if you’re uncomfortable, it’s not up to you to give it to him. Know your boundaries and ask him—whether you know him well or not—to respect your boundaries. If he doesn’t, walk away.

    DO avoid those guys that hook up with your entire group of friends.

    There are always the guys that have no qualms about coming in between a group of girl friends just to get some action. He has no problem with hooking up with each one of your friends by jumping from one to the next. He might have no idea that what he’s doing is hurting your relationships with your friends, but it’s up to you guys to stop him by cutting him out of the equation.

    DON’T get too attached to said upperclassmen.

    He’s graduating sooner than you are, and he knows it. Upperclassmen usually aren’t in it for the long haul when they seek out a freshman girl that they’d like to hook up with. Just because he’s lent you a bunch of attention one night, don’t assume that he’ll be chasing after you for the rest of the semester.

    DO be open to going on dates with anyone.

    That is, of course, presuming that dates aren’t obsolete anymore. While a lot of guys don’t even have the courtesy to take a girl out for dinner – or even coffee?! – there are some who like to kick it old school and go for the dinner and a movie. If you’re looking for companionship of any kind, there’s no reason to refuse a casual invitation to lunch or dinner.

    DON’T expect him to take you out to fancy meals all the time.

    But at the same time, know that college culture is changing, and going out on the “dates” we see happening in movies or the ones we hear about from our parents simply doesn’t happen anymore, for the most part. These guys are most likely on a budget, so fancy dinner dates aren’t always an option. There’s nothing wrong with a nice fro-yo in the quad, though!

    DON’T count on finding a boyfriend right away.

    Keep in mind that as many hotties as you see on a regular basis, most of them aren’t right for you. It’s about finding the right one that’s interested in having the same type of relationship that you are, no matter what type that may be. Also, be wary of becoming BF-GF with someone on Day 1 of orientation. Do some exploring before you settle on one guy to get hot and heavy with right away.

    DO start a relationship if you find someone special.

    Maybe you’ll find him on day one of classes, or maybe it’ll take until senior year for you to realize that the guy you’ve been friends with all along suddenly seems like he’s ready to take the plunge with you. But if it feels right, don’t hold back, and find a way to make it work.

    DO know that people move on quickly in college.

    Hook-ups last for any length of time – you can be attached to one particular guy for several months, or only for a matter of days and it can still be considered “hooking up.” Go figure. At any rate, don’t be surprised if a guy has eyes for you on Thursday and then you spot him spitting game to another girl on Saturday. Don’t get jealous or crazy and be that girl who slaps him in the middle of the party. Instead, try to figure out what he’s interested in before you hook up with him, so you know what to expect from him after the fact.

    DON’T hold back if you want something more out of a hook-up.

    If you silence yourself, you’ll only end up unhappy and wasting your time. He may not be taking your relationship as seriously as you wished he would if it started out as a random hook-up. If your feelings intensify and you want to take it to the next level, let him know and don’t make him guess. If you’re afraid of scaring him off, leave your feelings on the table and the situation open-ended. This is his relationship too, and you don’t wish to monopolize it, so ask him what it is that he wants out of it. Chances are that otherwise he won’t just guess that you want to be treated to romantic dinners and you’ll just end up getting frustrated and angry.

    DO try to meet guys without a gaggle of girls surrounding you.

    While girls’ night out is always one of the best nights of the week, do try to distance yourself from your pack of besties for a little bit each night. No guy wants to approach you if your six best friends are by your side eyeing him with those girly judgmental glares.

    DON’T get left places alone or go home with a guy you don’t know…and having made out with him all night doesn’t make him any more familiar.

    If you do manage to separate from your girlfriends for a few minutes, keep in touch with them to make sure they’re not leaving the club/bar/party without you. It’s risky to leave with a guy you’ve just met – especially if one of his friends who “didn’t drink tonight” is driving – even if he seems genuine. Exchange numbers instead, and stay with your girlfriends.

    College will open doors for you in the way of the dating scene, but it always helps to take things slowly and be wary. Stay grounded and always question people’s intentions, while making sure that your own are as clear as crystal. Your future boyfriend is out there somewhere, whether he’s sitting next to you in class or isn’t even enrolled at your school. And you’ll find him, too... you just may have to kiss a few frogs first and have a lot of single and mingling fun.

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    Whether it’s the cute baseball player down the hall, the artsy English major one floor up or the lacrosse-penney-sporting-Natty-drinking bro just two doors down, let’s face it: your college dorm is teeming with hotties of every race, creed and hair color. Incoming freshmen get ready: living with guys is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. But is it wise to tap into this veritable meat market knowing there’s a risk of bumping into a foiled hook-up every time you want to walk down the hall to take a shower? Have no fear, darling co-eds. Use these fixes for common dormcest pitfalls and you’ll be plunging headfirst into intra-dorm relationships before you can say, “Hey, I live on North Campus too!”

    The Pitfall: Mismatched Expectations

    It’s going to be tempting to jump into romance as soon as you get on campus and realize you have hot guys living next door—even the girl with the most self-control can have trouble resisting such romantic convenience.  But take it from Kelsey*, a collegiette who got involved with a guy in her dorm right off the bat: it’s better to wait.

    “Right away I thought Tyler* was cute. After our first meeting, I started to see him all the time around the dorm. We ‘hung out’ quite a few times in the next couple of weeks, but it was nothing more than friends with benefits. One time, we were messing around and he wanted to have sex but I said no.  He understood, but after that incident we were completely awkward around each other.”

    When a gal gets involved with a guy quickly, it can be difficult for both parties involved to know what the expectations for the hook-up are.  It’s especially important to get these straight with a guy in your dorm—the possibilities of after-hookup awkwardness are that much greater (think a 24/7 Walk of Shame). 

    The fix?  Spend a couple weeks just getting to know the guys in your dorm before you take it to a physical level — you’ll have a better sense of what they’re looking for (and what you’re looking for too).  And hey, there is no crime in looking!

    Related: How to Navigate Welcome Week Like a Pro

    The Pitfall: He Sees You at Your Best . . . and Your Not-So-Best

    You know the feeling you get when you decide you’re interested in a guy: you’re consumed by the constant compulsion to touch-up your lip gloss, you put your girlfriends on a 24 hour “crushwatch” (so you can look like you are NOT trying at all times) and you actually start waking up to shower before class.  While we’ve all succumbed to this Secret Girl Behavior (which we guess is no longer secret), living with the guy you’re interested in poses a whole new set of challenges.  Your same-dorm stud will without a doubt see you at least once in each of the following situations:

    1. walking to the shower in your towel, acne medication (or worse) in hand,

    2. coming upstairs to your room at 3 am with a huge pepperoni pizza and no visible friends to share it with, and

    3. having a loud and embarrassing phone conversation with your mother in the stairwell (“MOM, I told you I do NOT EAT TUNA FISH!  STOP SENDING IT TO ME!”)

    The fix?  Well, there really isn’t one.  Living in close proximity to the boy of your dreams means that he’ll get pretty comfortable with your less-than-perfect habits pretty quickly.  Learn to crack a joke when he catches you, and at least this way there are no surprises about you in store for him down the road.

    The Pitfall: Non-Exclusivity and Shared Living Space

    So you’ve started getting busy on a semi-regular basis with a hottie on your hall.  Congrats!  While a late-night rendezvous is much more convenient when only a few yards separate you from your boy-du-jour, there comes a time when you (or he) may long for a romance outside the dormitory walls.  So what do you do when your dormcestual dude catches you coming back with another guy?  Or you see him coming back with another girl?  Without the promise of exclusivity, these can be quite the sticky situations.

    The fix?  If you see your guy bringing back another girl, you’ll want to quietly and calmly go back to your room, or better yet, a girlfriend’s room.  This is not the time for loud, confrontational displays a la The Bad Girls’ Club.  If in the morning you find that you are still disturbed by the thought of your non-exclusive guy with another girl, it may be time to grit your teeth and have "the talk."

    Now if your guy sees you coming back with, well, another guy, be prepared for him to be upset.  Again, try to avoid any scenes.  You’re not technically in the wrong, so leave it up to him to say something later—but know that he may not have anything to say to you at all.  Remember that the proximity inherent in dormcest can be a cost as well as a benefit, since there’s really no avoiding each other.

    The Pitfall: Keeping Dormcest Relationships Fresh

    Real, exclusive, dormcest relationships can and do work.  But they require a bit of an extra effort to reach normalcy.  For example, it’s not normal to move in with a guy after dating for two weeks, but when you already essentially live together, it can be hard to find that separation you need in the early stages of the relationship.  Ava* reveals that her biggest problem with her boyfriend who lived in her dorm was that “we went from zero to living together in the span of about a week.”  Charlotte* echoes her sentiment: “Being in the same dorm meant the only time my boyfriend and I had to spend apart was when we had class.” 

    It’s easy to get caught up in such a convenient romance, spending Friday nights cuddled up with your guy watching Friends reruns while your actual friends are out wondering if you’ve chosen to study abroad this semester without telling them. 

    The fix? Make an effort to develop friends and interests that take you out of the dorm—that way if your romance ends, your life won’t!  Relationship expert Dr. Shoshanna advises against falling into “dead routines” in a relationship.  If every Saturday you and your guy spend the afternoon playing video games with his friends on his hall, eat dinner in your dorm’s attached dining hall and watch movies in your room at night, break out!  Take a walk around campus in the afternoon, try a new restaurant, go to a party you normally wouldn’t attend.  It will keep you and your romance fresh!

    Related: A Freshman Girls Guide to College Dating

    The Pitfall: Dormcest Doesn’t Last Forever

    If your dormcestual relationship has an unhappy end, it can be tricky to navigate the post-breakup waters.  If you’re close to the end of the year, congrats!  You won’t have to awkwardly co-habitate much longer.  But if you’re not so lucky, seeing your ex-flame at (literally) every turn can really take a toll on your psyche.

    The fix?  Throw yourself into activities outside the dorm.  Do the same things you would do at the end of any relationship, but especially try to put yourself into situations where you won’t be spending excessive amounts of time wallowing in your room, only to bump into your ex walking to the vending machines to get a soda when you venture out of your room sporting your rattiest sweatpants and mascara tears.  If you’ve really got to do the full-on waterworks-while-watching-The-Notebook-and-eating-a-pint-of-Ben-and-Jerry’s routine, consider moving the party to a girlfriend’s room in another dorm. Speaking with a friend earning their counseling degree might also be helpful. Above all, keep your head up, and know that there are infinitely more eligible bachelors outside your dorm than in it.

    Now, perhaps you’re thinking, with all these pitfalls, why would I ever want to brave dormcest territory?  Girls, it really can be sweet, all risks aside.  Here are the top five perks of dormcest:

    1. Your fingers will never freeze in sub-zero January temperatures on your way to see your boy-toy.

    2. You probably have a lot of the same friends that live in your dorm, thus, making social plans together is easy.

    3. Good day, bad day: He’s always going to be down the hall (or up the stairs).

    4. If your man is of the Spencer Pratt variety, it’ll be much easier to keep tabs on him.  (But please don’t put up with these shenanigans in the first place.)

    5. You’ll never have to do the Walk of Shame across campus.

    *Names have been changed.

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    All relationships have different stages of developing. Many of us have heard about the honeymoon and puppy love stages, but what about the commitment stage? This period of stability and seriousness in young couples seems to be fleeting with the rise in popularity of casual sex and low-key relationships. Because of this, people are either too embarrassed to have "the talk" to define the relationship or they tend to stay with people who are just never going to fully commit. If one person is expecting much more than the other, it's going to lead to massive disappointment from the lack of progression in the relationship. Here are some ways to know if you’re with someone with no desire to be your long term serious bae.

    1. They only contact you to hook up

    This is one of the clearest signs someone is not interested in a full-blown relationship. The difference between hooking up and committed relationship is a mutual understanding that you care about each other and want to spend time with one another outside of the bedroom. Sorry, but sending a “u up?” at 1:50 a.m. might mean they only want one thing, and it’s not a relationship.

    2. Going on dates is out of the question

    In conjunction with the reason above, dates are obviously not a priority to the noncommittal person. Both planning and showing up to dates requires time, energy and money that this person is not willing to expend. However, you’re allowed to have certain expectations.

    Sarah*, a sophomore from Lehigh University, understands this quite well. “I used to hook up with this guy who would only try to hang out in his bedroom or mine,” she says. “He was clearly only interested in sex and not going out more. I moved on.” That’s an explicit example of someone who is simply not looking for something serious, or not looking for something serious with you.

    3. They're not interested in meeting your friends or family

    Perhaps you thought things were going well and maybe it would be appropriate to invite your hookup buddy to a family gathering or even a friend’s birthday brunch. But instead of attending the function with you, your offer has him or her running for the hills instead. This could be a sign that you’re either moving too fast for them toward a relationship, or they’re simply not interested in taking this step altogether. Healthy relationships involve making memories together and reaching milestones that everyone is comfortable and excited aboutDragging your hookup buddy to meeting your parents they don’t even want to meet is quite the contrast to something wholesome and relationship-worthy.

    Getting to know your SO's parents and family is a big deal and should not be taken lightly since these are the people your girlfriend/boyfriend grew up/spends time with. For example, It's normal to have your significant other's parent's phone number once you're in a committed relationship. By the same token, your significant other should want you to meet and get to know the important people in his or her life as well. Committed people are immersing their lives together, and that usually involves meeting the people they spend time with on the regular.

    4. Spending holidays together will never happen

    As holidays approach, it starts to become a bit clearer if someone is interested in being with you long-term. Spending a holiday together might seem like a harmless offer, but it might be too big of a step for them to handle. Perhaps getting drunk together at a 4th of July barbecue seemed casual and non-committal at first, but having your family ask them what they want to do with their life might scare them away. Sophie*, a sophomore at Lehigh University, says she once "went to a holiday party with a guy who ended up crying about his ex saying he needed to figure himself out before fully moving on." She thinks the act of spending holidays together was a step taken too soon. Even if it’s a simple event, holiday parties are typically somewhere you can show off your SO–which is definitely not a place a person not willing to commit would want to go.   

    Related:5 Signs You Really Are Afraid of Commitment 

    5. They only communicate through Snapchat or text

    In a world where connecting and conversing has never been easier with the help of smart phones, avoiding committed relationships have also become a norm among young millennials. Rachna, a freshman from Dartmouth College experienced someone who only “texted or Snapchated but never wanted to meet up in person.” The famous beginning stage of relationships known as “talking” – where both parties are communicating mainly through their phones – is common in this day and age, but when this stage never evolves into more intimate meetups, couples tend to fall into a lingo of remaining “together, but not like dating.” You want to avoid this if you’re looking for a relationship. Hint:it’s not that romantic to get a text first if that’s all you get from them.

    6. Conversations are mostly about hooking up

    Maybe you do extend your conversations outside of the realm of Snapchat and iMessage, but what is the actual quality of your discussions? Is the content mostly about sex and the next time you’re going to do it? If so, remember that a healthy relationship has a lot to do with caring about the well-being of the other person. There’s much more substance to learn about your SO than just their sexual preferences, and if someone is not willing to learn about that, then they are probably not willing to be in a relationship.

    7. They send you mixed signals

    Maybe you don't resonate with the obvious signs of noncommittal reasons above, but something still doesn't feel right. One day your significant other is saying how he can see you in his future, but he doesn't bother taking you to his brother's wedding. Phoebe, a sophomore from Lehigh University experienced this early on when a guy "said cute things one day and I thought it was flirting, but then the next day he'll treat me like a bro. And the next interaction is flirty again. It's like the most confusing thing until I finally realized it wasn't going to happen." If what he says doesn't measure up exactly to how he's treating you, it's a sign that he has no intention of a serious relationship.

    8. They are scared of typical relationship milestones

    This one is a big one for people who are technically "dating," but one person's needs are not being met entirely. Partially to blame is the #goals tag on Instagram filled with couples holding hands in exotic places and kissing expensive jewelry together. Contrary to popular belief you don't need to do this! However, it's perfectly normal to post pictures online of you and your SO. It's 2017! Not only should you feel comfortable sharing photos of your relationship, but your significant other should be comfortable with it as well. No one should feel the need to validate their relationship online, but it's quite normal to create memories together in a healthy manner. Some normal committed relationship behavior involves taking photos, planning future trips, buying gifts in advance. Basically, it's a good sign if they're not afraid of seeing you in their future plans. If your partner tends to back away when things get too relationship-y and public, then maybe it's a sign they aren't looking for a serious relationship after all.

    Relationships are about being comfortable and happy with the arrangement. If you’ve read this feeling defeated that you or your potential SO is probably not looking for a relationship, don’t sweat it. Sometimes the timing – or even the person – isn’t right. There is no perfect way to enter into a relationship, but there are healthy habits. If you’re experiencing any of the above and you’re not happy with it, it’s okay to speak your mind. Good luck!

    *Names have been changed.

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    Since I never actually told you how I felt, I guess it’s more my own fault than yours. Everything was too complicated and it wouldn’t have made a difference, so in the end I just didn’t say anything. But on the other hand, I didn’t really try to hide it, either. At least, I didn’t think I did. Maybe how I felt wasn’t as obvious as I thought it was, but every time you looked at me I just hoped you’d realize. 

    It sucks watching the person you love give his love to someone else. In my mind she’ll never be the one for you. She couldn’t be—because I am. In my mind, you’re making a huge mistake. So I thought about fighting for you, thought about biting the bullet and telling you how I felt, thought about the way you might tell her you were sorry and that she's great but you were in love with someone else. I thought about it, but didn’t do it.

    Maybe what’s meant to be really will be, and maybe she makes you happier than I would, so I tried not to think about you. I tried to act like it wasn't killing me to see you with her, like it didn't affect me. I tried to ignore the lump in my throat every time your mom brought up her name or the feeling in my stomach when I saw you two together. I thought that maybe if I ignored it, it would go away.

    It hasn’t gone away.

    I’m at a loss. I can’t decide if I should try to wait it out or try to move on. Even the prospect of dating anyone else seems impossible. It's unfair—you have me wrapped around your finger, and you have no idea.

    It just doesn't make sense to me. How can someone who makes me feel the way you do be meant for somebody else? When I asked you what your type was and you described me to a T, did you even realize? How can all of our shared laughs, and car rides, and singing along to country music in your truck, and lingering looks and hesitant touches not mean anything at all? How does all of that add up to a relationship with somebody else?

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    Forget about first exams and getting to know your randomly picked roommates…one of the most intimidating things to navigate as a newly enrolled freshman collegiette is the on-campus dating scene. In high school, it was easy to meet guys who already lived in your hometown. But in college, the dating rules are different, and it’s not always so easy to meet guys. Where can you find them? How do you impress them? How do you avoid being dismissed by them as just another frat party-hopping freshman girl? We’ve asked girls and guys across the country about the first-year college dating scene to bring you this tell-all guide on how to meet guys as a freshman girl(and how not to be that freshman).

    Where to meet him:House parties

    Maybe it was his slick dance moves or his mad flip-cup skills, but whatever it was, it’s thrown you head over heels for this Campus Cutie. So how do you get his attention? Katie King from Western Michigan University says that steering clear of the row upon row of frat houses and opting instead to hit up house parties can be a great way to meet older college guys and stand out from crowds of freshman girls. “A ton of freshman girls go to the frats, but that is what kind of makes you stick out as a freshman,” Katie says. “Talk to tons of people and try to go out with them. House parties are usually the best place to meet older guys.” House parties tend to be a more intimate setting for meeting guys: there are usually fewer people there and so it’s easier to chat up that cutie!

    How to impress him

    Be fun and flirty! Just remember that there’s a fine line between being the life of the party and being “that party girl” (LiLo, anyone?). Zachary from Wake Forest University says you should be careful about hooking up with too many guys too quickly or you’ll end up with a reputation that reaches all the way to the upperclassmen. “I guess if hooking up is what you’re all about, then have at it,” Zachary says. “But it doesn’t make you look good when you’ve hooked up with all my friends by the end of fall semester.” In other words: keep it classy, collegiettes!

    Related: 7 Common Myths About Your Freshman Year

    Where to meet him: Tailgates and games

    Sure, we’re all swooning over the quarterback of the football team or the captain of the ice hockey team, but what about that cute friend of a friend you meet while tailgating? Tailgates and sports games can be the best places to meet guys (the ones who aren’t sweating up their uniforms)!

    How to impress him

    If there’s one thing that guys love to talk about, it’s sports, so why not strike up a convo about the game, the teams playing, and the players on the field? Even if you know zip about the sport, take that as your opportunity to chat him up for info like Emily from the University of Mississippi did. Emily met her freshman year boyfriend through her sorority sister at a tailgating party. “Tailgating is big down here at Ole Miss,” Emily says. “But it’s funny, because coming from New England, I really didn’t know a whole lot about Southern football teams. So he tried to explain what was going on out on the field, we ended up talking for the whole game, and he asked me out. We’re still dating three years later and now, tailgating is our favorite thing to do!” If all goes well, you'll have a date for next game! And even if he’s from another nearby school and you’re rooting for opposite teams, that only brings up the opportunity for you to use this perfect betting line: “If my team wins, you’re taking me to dinner!”

    Where to meet him: Dorm halls and study lounges

    If you’re looking for guys, what better place to start than with the guy next door? Kema Christian-Taylor from Harvard University says that the common room in the dorm was always a hotspot for scoping out hotties. “I would always go down to my dorm's common room, no matter what the hour!” Kema says. “It was rarely ever empty, and def a hot spot on Friday and Saturday nights after everyone had finished partying, but didn't want to go to bed yet!”

    How to impress him

    The great thing about dorms – and especially dorm lounges – is that there is always something happening right down the hall, whether a group of your guy hallmates are watching a movie or playing a video game (in which case, you can show off your mad gaming skills at Mario Kart playing as Yoshi)! Dorms are a great way to meet, get to know, and hang out with other guys who are living in your dorm.

    Where to meet him: Classes and labs (or in-between)!

    If that broodingly handsome cutie in your chemistry class is making eyes at you across the lecture hall, spark some chemistry of your own by approaching him in class. Amelia* from the University of Michigan says that even waiting in between classes can be a perfect time to approach guys. “I would grab a quick bite to eat in between classes sometimes and random guys would come sit by me,” she says. “One time I was reading a magazine and a guy approached me and said, ‘[T]alking is more fun than that, right?’ I laughed and let him sit with me. Although it never went anywhere, I did enjoy talking to him.”

    How to impress him

    There are plenty of ways to approach a guy in class. Nab him as your lab partner, work on a group project with him, or, as Claire from Ohio State University suggests, “Ask for his notes!” Offer to study for the upcoming exam with him. While you’re at it, offer to meet him for coffee post-cram sesh or pre-lecture. As girls, we can be intimidated by asking a guy out, but being upfront and confident is always sexy. “There’s no harm in making the first move, ladies!” says Bill Feldman from Emory University.

    Where to meet him: Student clubs and off-campus activities

    You might be the shy type, or maybe you’re not into the party scene on campus. It’s still easy to meet guys thanks to student clubs, sports teams, and other extracurricular groups. Odds are that you’ll want to start writing for your college newspaper, or maybe you’ll want to try your hand at juggling – either way, there are countless different groups for you to join, and freshman year is the perfect time to do so!

    How to impress him

    Joining as many social organizations as you can is the best way to meet guys who already share the same interests as you. You’ll know that you’ll have at least one thing in common and you can impress him with your skills. Even if that first date with him doesn’t work out, you at least found a group where you can do something you enjoy (and possibly where you can meet other guys who love dancing, foreign films, or kayaking just as much as you do).

    What’s most important to keep in mind about freshman year is that as a freshman, you should experience all that the college dating scene has to offer. When there’s so much to discover about being a new collegiette on campus, serious boyfriend-hunting shouldn’t take a big priority. And if you do snag a Campus Cutie your first year, don’t be distressed if the relationship doesn’t work out. It can be limiting being tied down in a relationship, anyway, and college can be the best time in your life to live it up as a single lady!

    *Names have been changed.

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    With another fall semester here, it’s time that we take a good, hard look at ourselves (and our love lives). Whatever mistakes we made last year are in past semesters—we’ve got the chance to revamp our romances, so let’s not waste the opportunity by falling into the arms of yet another sleazy frat bro! Whether you have a nasty habit of choosing guys who were going nowhere or you were too much of a wallflower last spring, we’ve got the right advice to help you change your ways.

    1. Your Social Life Revolved Around a Guy

    It starts off innocently enough: you want to hang out with your fun, new hook-up, so you decide to spend a Saturday night with him and his friends. But then a single Saturday night becomes an entire weekend, and before you know it, you’re making plans to fit his schedule (and ditching your friends in the process).

    Why is it such a bad thing? “Most college relationships don't last forever, so when the relationship ends, you don't want to be left behind by friends who are disgruntled that you have been neglecting them when you had something ‘better’ going on,” says Kathleen Bogle, author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus.

    Shira Kipnees, a senior at Franklin & Marshall College, had to change her habits when she started making sacrifices for her boyfriend of three years. “We're long-distance during the school year, so we try and Skype every night,” she explains. “However, some nights he would have something [going on] and would not be able to Skype me until right before I'd be going to bed. I'd stay up waiting for him to be done and to Skype me, sometimes sacrificing an earlier bedtime just to talk.”

    Eventually, Shira talked to her boyfriend about the issue and they settled on a “five minute” system. Right before she’s going to bed, she asks him if he’ll be able to Skype soon. If he responds, “Yes, I have five minutes left,” she stays up. If he says, “Not in the next five minutes,” she says goodnight and goes to bed.

    It’s all about compromise. By being direct and bringing up the problem like Shira did, you and your guy can figure out a way to spend time together that doesn’t make anyone feel left out or taken advantage of. If you’re long-distance, try setting a specific day and time to Skype and stick to it every week. If you’re on campus together, set aside a girls’ night each weekend—no boyfriends allowed!

    2. You Hooked up With a Guy Knowing He Didn’t Want More (& Hoping You Could Change his Mind)

    Like many collegiettes before you, you’ve probably fallen into the ever-alluring, fixer-upper hook-up trap. Here’s how the story goes:

    1. You hear of his illustrious bed-hopping reputation and vow to never be just another notch in his belt (no matter how cute he looks from across the quad).
    2. You run into each other at a party, one thing leads to another, and you discover that this boy knows how to kiss. Like, Gone with the Wind, sweep-you-off-your-feet-style kissing.
    3. You decide to make an exception.
    4. He tells you he doesn’t want a relationship, so you unwittingly agree to a FWB situation.
    5. You tell yourself that once he gets to know you better, he won’t help but falling for you.
    6. He doesn’t.

    Here’s the thing: it’s not that you aren’t the most amazing, talented, intelligent girl he’s ever been with. You probably are. But when he tells you he isn’t looking for anything serious, chances are he’s set on living the single life in college—or worse, rebounding from a rough break-up.

    Connie Chan, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, found herself in this exact situation. “I've hooked up with a guy before knowing we weren't on the same page,” she says. “As much as I enjoyed his company, I was really wasting my time waiting around for someone who couldn't give me what I wanted. He was nice enough to end things instead of stringing me along, but I wish I had done it myself—and much earlier!”

    To save yourself from this tough situation, make some hard rules and resolve to live by them. If he tells you he doesn’t want anything serious (or you hear he’s a heartbreaker), ask yourself where you want to be by the end of the semester. If you envision yourself living the single life or open to hook-ups, then by all means, give him a shot. If, however, you’d prefer to be able to snuggle up with a guy and a mug of hot chocolate come wintertime, keep looking for someone who’s interested in more than midnight booty-calls.

    3. You Hooked up With a Guy You Weren’t Really Into

    Almost everyone has a past hook-up that they would rather forget, but what if that hook-up also happened to be with someone you didn’t even want to hook up with in the first place? There are plenty of reasons not to hook up with a guy, and this is high on the list.

    “Junior year, one of my roommates pushed me to start hanging out with her guy friend, who was best friends with her boyfriend, after he expressed an interest in me to her,” recalls Amy*, a senior at Boston College. “I started going out on double dates with the guy, mostly because I wanted to make my roommate happy. However, once things got physical with [him], I immediately became uncomfortable. I realized that I had never been into the guy since the beginning, as much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, and ended things as best I could.”

    It’s a tricky spot to be in: you want to be there for your friend, but you’re just not feeling the spark. Remember that just because he’s a friend of your friend’s boyfriend doesn’t mean he deserves any preferential treatment—and definitely no undeserved kisses! If your friend is pressuring you to give him a chance, sit her down and explain that you want to find someone that makes you as happy as her boyfriend makes her, and you can tell that this guy just isn’t Mr. Right. Plus, does your friend really want to deal with the mess you’ll make when you break things off with her boyfriend’s buddy? Definitely not—so remind her of the repercussions!

    On the other hand, you might find yourself going for a guy you’re not into simply because you’re lonely, you want to be physical, or you feel left out as the only single girl in your group. (Why rom-coms make the single lady life seem like an awful thing is beyond us.) Bogle’s advice: don’t settle! “There is no upside to hooking up with someone when you don't really want to,” she says. “There are enough guys out there that you will actually be interested in, so focus on them.”

    Related: How To Handle Your Casual Hook-Up On Valentine's Day

    4. You Chased After Guys Who Were Unavailable

    We all want what we can’t have: guilt-free carbs, Carrie Bradshaw’s closet, and, of course, unavailable guys. You’d think that we would have evolved to lust after the single ones—after all, they’re much more likely to return the favor—but unfortunately, we collegiettes are constantly crushing hard on the taken ones.

    “If you only want what you can't have, you have to ask yourself why,” advises Bogle. “Are you afraid of being hurt? Do you like the thrill of trying to attain the unattainable? Does the thought of getting someone who is hard to catch boost your ego?” If this is becoming a theme in your life, she says, you need to look inward for the reason why.

    Once you figure out why you’ve been chasing taken guys, you need to try to make some changes. Don’t go to a party that you know your elusive, taken crush will attend. Instead, spend your time meeting new (single) people. Accept an invitation to hang out with people outside of your usual crowd. Even if there aren’t any guys there the first time, you never know which fantastic boys they might be friends with! Plus, the excitement and nerves of getting to know new people will take your mind off any unattainable flings.

    5. You Made an Enemy of Your Ex

    It can be hard to use good judgment when feelings get in the way—particularly when those feelings are of the “I need to dump him” variety. Whether he got on your nerves, let the spark fizzle, or played tonsil-hockey with someone else over the weekend, you knew you had to end it. The question was: how?

    Briana Morgan, a recent graduate of Georgia College, regrets the way she ended things with an ex. “I was too afraid to have ‘the talk,’” she recounts. “Instead, I avoided him whenever I could. Finally, he showed up at my dorm because he was worried about me. Then, we had the talk. I wish I'd come clean sooner instead of dragging the whole thing out. It wasn't fair to him.”

    To avoid making the same mistake twice, try to put yourself in his shoes. Would you want to be strung along, hurt and confused for weeks? Nope, and neither would he, so be honest with him.

    If you weren’t the one doing the dumping—but you dealt with the break-up badly anyway—you’ll want to take a different tactic. There’s nothing worse than running into an ex on campus who has heard you say bitter things you came to regret. And you definitely don’t want to be known as that girl who starts rumors about old boyfriends (or hooks up with their best friends immediately post-break-up).

    This fall, keep your distance from former flames. If you’re with someone and he ends things—which means he’s lost his mind, of course—think before you speak. You may not care much for his feelings in that emotional moment, but keeping in mind how any potential awkwardness could affect you in the future—like in class, at parties, or at club meetings—will help you hold back any nasty insults.

    6. You Turned Down a Guy Who “Wasn’t Your Type”

    Sometimes, it can be hard to spot a truly nice guy, but Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them, explains that a lot of college girls actually avoid good guys—but not on purpose. “They’re afraid to be with a good guy who wants to get close because they're afraid if they get close, the guy will hurt them or abandon them,” she says.

    Instead of giving nice guys a chance, most of us collegiettes write them off as “not our type.” We then head straight for the notorious ladies’ men, because deep down, according to Lieberman, we think there’s no risk of getting attached—or hurt. (Spoiler alert: This plan always fails. Always.) That subconscious fear might be to blame for that just-not-into-him feeling you’ve got in your gut when you come across a nice guy.

    “I went on a date with this great guy last semester, but I just felt like there wasn’t any chemistry,” recalls Jessica*, a junior at Skidmore College. “I basically put him in the friend zone. Of course, by the end of the year, I ended up wanting him. I’m giving guys a two-date minimum chance next year!”

    Give the nice guys a chance, even if they don’t seem like “your type” at first glance. Don’t force yourself to go on more than one date if you really aren’t feeling it—especially since it’ll probably turn into a notorious first date disaster—but ask yourself what it is about the guy that makes you think you don’t have chemistry. Does he seem too predictable? Too interested? If he’s coming on way too strong, keep your distance. But if it’s just that he’s more direct and friendly than the bad boys who’ve kept you guessing in the past, he deserves a shot! Use these seven foolproof ways to tell if he’s a good guy to see if he’s worth your time.

    7. You Let Your Crush Slip By

    We get it: cute boys are intimidating! They’ve got those dreamy eyes, that fresh cologne smell... it’s a wonder we don’t all start stuttering mid-conversation. If your nerves got the best of you last year, making you more of a wallflower than a flirt, now’s the time to turn things around.

    “You only live once,” Bogle reminds us. “If something doesn't work out, fine. But, you will sleep better at night if you know you gave it a shot. Don't sit on the sidelines and watch someone else steal your crush!”

    Instead, get in on the action. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. If you see your crush in class, casually ask him to remind you of your latest assignment. Then, ask how he likes the class. The conversation should flow from there!

    If you get to the point where you’re on talking terms but he isn’t making moves, he might not realize that you’re interested. Turn up the flirt factor by asking him to hang out for a one-on-one coffee on campus to get him in a dating mindset. Never underestimate the power of body language, either; putting a hand on his arm for a second after he’s told a funny joke is one of the best ways to signal that you’re open to something more.

    Don’t fall back into bad habits this semester. You may not find love on your first day, but by making these changes (and avoiding these seven love mistakes), you’ll be seven steps closer!

    *Names have been changed.

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    Growing up means experiencing a lot of new things and learning more about yourself, which often entails discovering your sexual orientation. Sometimes that can be confusing to figure out, but with all the resources we can access (thank you internet and technology), it should be an exciting time, not one to stress about. You’re already a badass college student taking on the world so discovering your sexual orientation should be more fun than worrisome. Here are a few ways and resources to help guide the process.

    1. Understand the different sexual orientations

    There are many kinds of sexual orientations. The most commonly known ones are heterosexual (people who are attracted to the opposite sex), homosexual (people who are attracted to the same sex) and bisexual (people who are attracted to both men and women). Although these are all typically the most known on a widespread level, there are actually ten different sexual orientations. Don’t let that overwhelm you though. Sex therapist and counselor, Christina Spaccavento says, “We are all unique individuals and no one person is the same, so I recommend that each person be free to define them self in a way that fits with them and their unique set of personal experiences and emotions.”

    When it comes to sexual orientation expressions she explains, “There are various terms for people’s sexual orientation such as straight, gay, lesbian, bi, queer or asexual and any of these terms may fit well for some people. But for others, these terms can be limiting. If this is the case, it can be helpful to use terminology that allows more space for exploration such 'open' or 'fluid.'”

    2. Take your time

    This discovery process is personal to you and can take as long–or as little–as you feel comfortable with. Ms. Spaccavento encourages, “Firstly, it is important to know that it is normal to have feelings of attraction to the same gender or sex. Doing some reading and research about alternative sexual orientations can be really helpful (only use trusted and reputable sources such as local community group and government sources).” This is extremely important when discovering sexual orientation because the more time and research put into the discovery, the less confusing and more confidence boosting it will be!

    Another way to make this process easier is to acknowledge your feelings and accept the way you’re feeling. Autumn Dube, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, says, “It can be both scary and frustrating when you start to question your sexuality. One of the best things you can do is to not fight what you're feeling. It may seem easier to try to deny your emotions or tell yourself it's just a phase, but in the long run this denial does more damage than good.”

    She adds, “It's natural to question what you're feeling, but it's not healthy to stuff down your emotions. You will learn to accept yourself as time passes, and you will find incredible support along your journey, but just remember it's okay to be confused from time to time. Your feelings and sexuality are valid, whatever they may be.”

    3. Talk to someone

    One of the best things to do when you’re confused is talk to someone! Ms. Spaccavento recommends, “Making contact with local community groups that offer support and discussion groups and events can be a great way to start to meet like minded people as well as explore any feelings of confusion that may arise. And of course, if you become distressed or confused, reaching out to an experienced and trained therapist can be a safe way to begin to explore your feelings…Talking to trusted and safe friends that have alternative sexual orientations can also be really helpful and of course, getting out there either in-person or online to meet others can also be a great way to explore.” Getting to know other people in the LGBTQ+ community can be so beneficial. Some might be going through the same thing as you while some might be past that point and could pass along advice or stories of their own experiences.

    Throughout this time, the most important thing to remember is that this is completely normal. Almost everybody questions their sexuality at some point in their life and understanding those feelings is only going to make you feel even better about yourself. Self-acceptance and having patience with yourself is going to be a key part in your journey. Go forward with pride, collegiettes!