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A Collegiette's Guide to Life
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    Having a crush sucks. It sucks even more when you don’t know how to tell them how you feel. If there are serious friendships at risk, mutual friends who you don’t want to involve, or any weird ex situations, telling someone you like them can put the weight of the world on your shoulders. But it shouldn’t have to. Telling a crush how you feel, dealing with possible rejection, or getting out of the friendzone can be tricky for everyone involved but it’s best to take a minute to strip the situation of any unnecessary dramatics and handle it properly for the best case scenario. Whether you end up with a date or an unsoiled friendship, addressing a crush can actually be painless.

    Skip the lines

    Nobody likes getting the dreaded “We need to talk” text, so don’t send one. You won’t enjoy writing it, and they won’t enjoy receiving it. The same goes for in-person conversation starters. Having a crush is not that serious, and the conversation will be way more relaxed and easy if you don’t exaggerate. Bringing up the subject can be as simple as “Is it weird that I kinda want to ask you out on a date?” or “I’ve been thinking about asking you out, as more than friends.” It sounds scary, but it’s way more comfortable than unexpectedly pouring out your feelings and they’ll appreciate the casualness. Whether you opt for a quick text or an IRL moment, simplicity is key.

    Related: What It's Like to Text Your Crush

    Ask them out instead of dancing around it

    Sitting someone down and laying your heart out in front of them will probably come off a little too intimidating than how you’d like. Instead of planning any sort of dramatic conversation with a big emotional reveal at the end, just ask them to come out with you. If you’re already friends with this person, why not make plans as per usual and simply suggest that you treat it like a regular date? If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. When my girlfriend asked me out for the first time, I barely knew her and she was already deep in her feelings. I accepted her offer and, oops! Now I’m in a committed relationship. Just shoot your shot; the worst they can say is “No.”

    Don’t get anyone else involved

    It’s likely that you two have some mutual friends or maybe some sticky ex situations. We know you’re dying to talk to someone about how you feel and ask for advice from as many people as possible, but, on the off-chance that things get a bit awkward, you really don’t want too many people involved. You’re free to confide in anyone if you want to, but this is your business and it’s best to keep the rumor mill at bay. Read some think-pieces (kind of like this one!), do some reflection, maybe confer with your closest confidant, but don’t blow the situation out of proportion. The whole thing will go much more smoothly.

    Related: 17 Reasons Why Having a Crush is Absolute Torture

    Prepare yourself

    We’re sure you’ve spent many nights imagining the excitement and romance of the best case scenario, but it’s also smart to stay humble and prepare for what’ll come next if your person of interest is… not interested. If you two have already got a working friendship, remind yourself of how much you value that friendship and prioritize that over anything. Let them know that your platonic relationship means more to you than your crush and that staying friends (if they don’t share your feelings) is more important than endless awkwardness. Remember that rejection is not the end of the world and that you’ll encounter many, many great loves in your lifetime. Don’t sweat it. And, if they do reciprocate your feelings, pour yourself a tall drink and celebrate.

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    My girlfriend and I have been together for just over seven years now (we started dating in January 2009), and we haven't once celebrated Valentine's Day. We accidentally went out to eat on the 14th a couple years ago because our college roommates were out of town and we just wanted sushi, but it wasn't intentional. We started laughing the moment we saw that the restaurant was filled with couples and there were red roses on every table.

    We usually spend our Valentine's Day doing absolutely nothing. We have our anniversary in January and our first kiss anniversary in February, and then in March, we celebrate my birthday. February 14 never had any special meaning to us, so we didn't celebrate. It seemed like a commercial holiday that other couples were over-hyping.

    This year, we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day with all the stops and find out how we felt about it.

    The Experiment

    When I first proposed the idea, I was half certain I'd be shot down. Typically, our February 14 is spent mocking all the cheesy parts of romance that we don't like, and we're both very sarcastic people. To my surprise, my girlfriend loved the idea and thought it was sweet of me to want to try something new. To avoid any rom-com-esque drama, I let her know immediately that I'd be writing about our experience. As much as I love watching it on screen, I didn't want to have to chase her through an airport with a flash mob and a thousand yellow daisies and any other combination of getting-you-back ploys that happen at the end of a social experiment rom-com where the partner discovers the truth. 

    I warned her that if we were going to do this, we had to really do it. The day would be spent on a cheesy date where we were not allowed to mock Valentine's Day in any way, and we had to give each other the kinds of traditional gifts couples often do, like flowers, chocolates and stuffed animals. 

    Related: Why We Shouldn't Base Our Lives Off Rom Coms

    The Planning

    Right away, we were faced with all sorts of questions. This year, Valentine's Day was on a Sunday. We had no idea if couples normally went out to dinner on the Saturday before, or still celebrated on Sunday despite early restaurant closings. So we consulted several of our friends who are in relationships, and they all confirmed: people celebrate on the Sunday. 

    Planning our adorable date didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped. We were all set to take the over-two-hour trip to Connecticut to go to Mystic Aquarium and Red Lobster, but when sub-zero temperatures were announced for New England, this changed our date idea. Mystic has a few outdoor displays, and with my poor blood circulation, we didn't want our date to end at the hospital. This also meant that taking the train anywhere was out of the question, which is a difficult task if you live next to Boston.

    Driving became our best bet, so we opted for the Museum of Science and dinner at Outback Steakhouse, because we knew they had lobster tails and filet mignon, which is almost as good as a full-on lobster restaurant. 

    The Gifts

    Because we'd decided to exchange gifts in addition to going out, I had more pre-planning for February than I normally do. My girlfriend and I usually stick to three gift-giving occasions a year: the Christmas/holiday season, our individual birthdays, and one made-up "summer gift" that we give each other just because. I wasn't used to shopping alongside all the other sappy couples, which made it weird.

    For weeks, I scoured the Valentine's Day displays at every store. I was still determined to make this cheesy holiday perfect for us, so I immediately bought my girlfriend a new Moleskine notebook. She keeps one in her purse at all times to jot down writing ideas, which is something we were taught in our early days of journalism and creative writing. Her old one was almost out of room, so I figured this gift really said, "I know you."

    I couldn't do it without chocolate, so I made two separate trips to Godiva to spoil her with two heart-shaped containers and a selection of handpicked favorites from the chocolate counter. Godiva is our go-to destination at the mall, so it was pretty easy to make a pit stop there while we were shopping.

    I also felt it wasn't truly Valentine's Day unless I was scrambling to find a few add-on gifts last minute, so I got her a stuffed fox just days before the main event and bought her a dozen white roses just the evening before February 14.

    It wasn't easy hiding all this from her in our small apartment, but luckily, I also have a car, so I just threw a bunch of it in my trunk and said, "Don't go in there."

    The Execution

    The day finally arrived, and it was colder outside than I could've imagined. I layered up in five pairs of thermal leggings and kept fur-lined Ugg gloves with me all day. 

    We decided to do gifts and notes before we went out, because our plans were a daylong event. Unfortunately, my bouquet wasn't much of a surprise because I needed to put the flowers in water ASAP, but they still made my girlfriend smile.

    She surprised me with plenty of my favorite Godiva chocolates, a Hermione Funko Pop bobblehead I've been dying to have, a stuffed cat from Kiki's Delivery Service and a cheesy-but-lovely Valentine's Day card with a letter written inside. 

    After we exchanged gifts, we headed out to the Museum of Science. We weren't the only older people in attendance, but there were so many kids that we spent a lot of the date laughing about how old we felt, which always makes for a great time together. We already are always talking about how simultaneously old and yet not-at-all-adult we feel and it was a great way to bond.

    We couldn't get tickets to the butterfly garden because they were sold out, but we were given stamps on our admission tickets so that we can reuse them and come back for free one time in the next six months. We also sprang for tickets to a Michael Jackson laser show in the planetarium, because why not.

    After several hours of learning (and reminiscing about our childhoods and why we hate math so much), we headed out for part two of our evening: dinner and drinks. Like the classy people we are, we went to Outback Steakhouse. Our logic? We actually get sushi so often that it has become not special anymore, so she got filet mignon and lobster and I got ahi tuna and lobster.  

    We ended the night back at our apartment with drinks and television watching. While we've been seriously binge-watching How to Get Away with Murder for a few weeks, but it didn't feel romantic to us, so we decided to watch some classic '90s cartoons like The Magic School Bus to continue our nostalgic theme. There is nothing millennials like more than talking about how everything was better circa 1990 to 2005, so it brought us closer together and we ended our night laughing.

    The Posting

    Like all couples do, I needed to document my day extensively via social media. This meant using Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook for more romantic bragging than I'm usually comfortable with. I tend to save my sappy posts for one or two times a year when really necessary.

    I didn't mind telling the world what we were doing through the use of photos, because I actually really love Instagram. But I did feel a little weird posting my obligatory photo of all my gifts. It reminded me that there are probably couples out there who wish they could give their significant other a nice gift, but simply can't afford to. And that's not what love is about, or what Valentine's Day is about. It's about spending time with the people you love.

    The Results

    I wasn't sure what to expect from forced romance, because I've always had it in my head that Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday meant to encourage people to buy things. By that logic, though, the same can be said for most holidays, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up my eternal love for Halloween.

    My girlfriend also pointed out that Valentine's Day actually does have romantic history behind it, and I remember celebrating the holiday with my mom when I was growing up. Bonus points for the nostalgia factor, especially because I grew up when kids exchanged cards with their entire homeroom class on February 14. I'd be lying if I said I didn't at least once give my elementary school crush a super cheesy Valentine in the hopes of blossoming romance. 

    We learned a few things about Valentine's Day. We learned that just because other couples do something doesn't make it a bad idea. (It's never stopped us from wanting to plan a grand wedding, has it?) We also learned that even an over-hyped, cheesy holiday can be a personal event if you plan it in a way that'll make you happy. As one of our close friends recently said, "Valentine's Day is about the two people involved." So we made it our day. We hung out at a museum and ate lobster and watched old cartoons. February 14 wasn't inherently special to us, but it gave us a reason to make it special, when we normally would have spent it like just another Sunday, grocery shopping and obsessively binge-watching the dramatic lives of law school students.

    Related: The Best & Worst Valentine's Day Dates College Girls Have Had

    Because we forced ourselves to look at Feb. 14 like a special day, it became one. We didn't "hold out" for a special occasion, and instead of ordering sushi yet again, we had lobster tails and a nostalgic date. I don't think there's anything wrong with turning a regular day into an occasion. Living with your significant other has its perks—Netflix and chill really returns to its literal meaning, there are many nights of eating raw cookie dough, and there's always someone to come home and complain to—but we never want it to get boring. We made a commitment to have our life together be a permanent adventure, and sometimes that means trying things you're completely unsure about. 

    To be honest, I'm not sure if we'll celebrate Valentine's Day again next year. It didn't go horribly and there were very few moments where I wanted to laugh at us for being sappy. It was actually kind of nice. 

    The one thing I do know for sure is that if we do, we're totally making the trip to Mystic next time. I really want to pet a stingray.

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    You’re probably like “whaaaaat?!” Internalized sexism is so not affecting my dating life. My spirit is half Beyoncé, half Tavi Gevinson, and I only date feminists or else. Well, even the best woman warriors find it hard to get through the day when your Netflix shows, classmates, guys at the gym and even parents are unknowingly reinforcing sexist ideals all around you.

    Internalized sexism is involuntary and occurs on an individual level. It means you’ve been exposed to messages that tell you women are inferior, and you’re now a byproduct of a society that shames and devalues you and others who share your gender. It’s infectious, invisible as air and lets you reinforce oppression without even choosing to.

    Maybe you’ve developed body image issues because you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Maybe you’ve spent too long trying to be the “cool girl” who fits in with men. Internalized sexism manifests in various ways for different people. From something as subtle as believing women are fussy and emotional, to outright thinking of yourself as nothing more than a sexual object, it happens. Internalized sexism can arise from multiple influences (ie. the mother f**king patriarchy andprivilege). You could have picked it up from watching your mom stay at home and be the primary caregiver, or just not seeing enough women as actresses and news anchors on TV. The commercial side of America is terrible for reinforcing gender stereotypes, and when we’re exposed to it every day, it can be hard to get back in to a Betty Friedman mindset and slay the patriarchy.

    Obviously internalized sexism is dangerous for yourself, other women and society as whole, but you may not have considered how significantly sexist oppression plays a role in your dating life. The basis of our male/female relationships is backed by sexist, heteronormative gender roles, and because of that, misogyny manifests in these three sneaky ways.

    1. You’re hyper focused on your femininity

    Raise your hand if you loathe shaving your pubes but do it anyway because you think it makes you more beautiful. SAME. That’s internalized sexism for you! We aren’t born with the instinct to shave our body hair, but body policing make us fear that our man will mouth-vomit and call us nasty if he sees some hair down there. If you’re hyper-focused on fitting the mold of an ideal feminine woman, and feel like nobody will be sexually attracted to you if you aren’t physically perfect, then a problem is happening.

    We’re talking dieting, going to the gym in full makeup and thinking of all the ways to be bae’s perfect arm candy instead of focusing on the fact that you’re smart enough to work at NASA. There is no shame in valuing the sexy, feminine parts of yourself. But if you and your partner place no value on your intellect, personality or skills, then you’re perpetuating sexism. Sexism says that a woman must be pretty, quiet and nothing else. Operating outside of sexism means you see value in yourself beyond your looks, and want your partner to see that too.

    Brown University alumna, Suzannah Weiss, is a well-known writer that covers relationships and gender issues, and holds a degree in cognitive neuroscience and gender and sexuality studies. When it comes to internalized sexism and femininity, she has a lot to say. “Women strive toward feminine qualities at the expense of their wellbeing,” she says. “For example, being small is considered feminine. When we take pride in ourselves for being thin, we're conforming to the ideal of women as unimposing and ascetic and conventionally beautiful, not because that's how our body just is. We are perpetuating a standard of beauty that harms us.”

    Fun fact: You don’t have to fit a societal ideal to be desirable. That’s a toxic message which will inevitably lead to low self-esteem because beauty standards are not attainable or realistic. Primping isn’t in itself internalized misogyny, but if you feel anxious not doing it then it’s problematic. If your face and body are the basis of your romantic relationships, you should do some revaluating. Love yourself more than that, and find a partner who does too.

    Related:10 Things You Do For Yourself, Not Guys 

    2. You always feel guilty

    Do you find yourself apologizing often for the way you are? AKA feeling embarrassed when you share a controversial opinion, interrupt someone or, god forbid, eat a large meal. Shaming yourself and feeling guilty for totally reasonable behavior shows that you’ve definitely internalized sexism, and you’re not being fully authentic or free in your relationship.

    Carly, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, shares her own struggle and realization at the way sexism has made her feel guilty in her relationship. “I’ve had countless men and women tell me not to speak up,” she says. “From being little in class and raising my hand, to being in college and trying to share thoughts I think are valuable, I live in a society that wants me to be quiet. For years, I internalized this and didn’t realize it. In my first serious relationship, I found I had trouble speaking up in bed or talking to my boyfriend if he did something that hurt me.”

    Carly continues, “Eventually I had a breakdown and spilled the beans that I felt being honest about my feelings and speaking openly would make him mad at me. He was really sweet about it, and basically told me that being a good girlfriend doesn’t mean being a quiet girlfriend. I only realized that a lot of times female guilt is internalized sexism last semester when it was directly addressed in my gender studies class, so now it’s something I’m actively thinking about and trying to reshape.” 

    You should never exert pressure on yourself to act a certain way while dating, because that is the world telling you your natural self isn’t good enough. You are not inadequate because you are a real live woman with feelings and needs. Doesn’t the “sorry, not sorry” mantra of your sisters mean anything to you?

    Related:5 Feminist Dating Dilemmas (& How to Deal)

    3. You unreasonably elevate your partner above yourself

    When you’re battered with sexism on the daily, it’s hard not to see your male partner as supreme. This could come out as sacrificing your plans for his, being submissive to his wants, letting him win the fights and generally seeing your opinions as less valuable than his. If you're graduating soon and planning to move to be with him instead of the other way around, something is wrong sister. Relationships built on inequality can leave lasting emotional damage. We’re here to tell you that you should never minimize your own value or let a gender bias convince you that you’re worth less than someone with a penis.

    Whether you’re in love or just really vibing your bae, it’s difficult to notice when sexism is creeping into your interactions, and it likely falls under your radar. It takes perception to notice when you let your partner be in control of you.

    Weiss, our gender and relationships guru, has more to share. “The balance of power in your relationship becomes sexist if what you want is constantly pushed on the back burner,” she says. “If it’s subtle then it’s usually him not being invested in you and you’re making more sacrifices than he is. But if it’s harsh then it could be as severe as him not asking for your consent and belittling aspects of your gender. If the sexism in your relationship isn’t ever addressed, his power grows and yours diminishes. That’s really dehumanizing for women.” 

    Freeing yourself from internalized sexism takes a lot of personal strength. Not medication, a detoxifying juice cleanse or mass amounts of chocolate can cure it. What you can do is recognize cultural practices that lead to internalized sexism, and re-channel thoughts that harm or set limits on yourself.  You can engage in dialogue with your partner about your suffering, hold them accountable to treating you as an equal and in turn, have them hold you accountable to empowering yourself. Addressing sexism in your relationship is a cause very worth your time, and it can only lead to your value, happiness and being surrounded by better people. You should also absolutely collaborate with and support other women. They’ll be the readiest to talk about male privilege and fight dominance with you. Good women sharpen each other, and we believe you can have a romantic life where you are in control of your choices and feel how truly worthwhile you are.

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    It’s cuffing season, so put your hands up single ladies because this article is for you! Some of us who belong to the single population get sick and tired of being on our own. But who says it has to be this way? Through a few simple steps you can learn to either thrive as a single person or put yourself out there in new ways that will have you well on your way to changing your Facebook relationship status.

    1.Ask yourself why you’re single

    To understand why you’re on a single streak, it’s best to identify why so you can take steps to move into a relationship if that’s what you want. Being single isn’t a bad thing, and this question isn’t to tear yourself down but rather to analyze where you are in your life and where you see yourself going.

    Maybe you spend a lot of time by yourself or need some tips on how to let people knowyou’re into them. So whether you’ve just been working on yourself for the past few months, focusing on school or taking a break from guys, think about what the best steps are for moving into a relationship.

    2. Don’t lower your standards

    No matter how much you want to be in a relationship, make sure you never lower your standards. Now these shouldn’t be ridiculous like your future SO just has to have blue eyes and dark hair, though that’s great if it works out that way. Say it’s important that your future SO has goals and aspirations. Don’t settle for someone who has no idea what they plan on doing and aren’t even trying. Find out what’s important to you and don’t compromise.

    3. Understand that it’s okay to be single

    The longer you’re single, the more time you have to develop yourself to be an amazing person when you are in a relationship. And if you’re sad about being single, that’s okay too. Acknowledge and accept your feelings for what they are, but remember to look on the bright side when you’re ready.

    4. Make yourself (more) awesome

    Being single can be an opportunity to improve the current you. Take the time you might be spending in a relationship and devote it to making a cooler version of yourself. Go kayaking, learn to cook an amazing dish (for yourself) or volunteer at the local shelter. Find something that will help you reach your goals in the future and make you a more interesting person.

    5. Immerse yourself in learning

    Finding ways to engage in self-learning encourages you to enjoy developing yourself and loving who you are. Join a book club or learn how to teach Pilates all on your own. The confidence you’ll gain in having this new knowledge will attract others who will be relationship material.

    6. Work on your other relationships

    Investing in non-romantic relationships is essential to your mental health. Plan a girls’ night in with your squad or have a long phone call with one of your siblings. Reconnect with a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Whether it’s growing in your faith or strengthening your friendships, recognizing that an SO is not the only source for human intimacy and closeness will help you be a mature individual and a better SO to someone else in the future.

    Related: 5 Little Ways to Show You're Into Him

    7. Go do things by yourself

    One of the best things you can do as a single person is learn to be happy independently. Visit your favorite book or record store just to browse. Head to a coffee shop with only your own company. Try and find ways to relish being on your own doing what you love. If it’s the right moment, a fellow record collector might just get your number.

    8. Force yourself to be social

    This may be counterintuitive to the above suggestion. But having the ability to be comfortable both on your own and in social settings will help in starting a relationship. If you’re typically the grandma or awkward turtle of your friend group, ask one of your fun-loving, social friends if you can shadow them for a night out. If going out isn’t your thing, join a group or club to meet new people. The more people you engage with, the more likely you are to create a network that contains someone you’re compatible with.

    9. Ask around

    Ask your girl or guy friends if they know any people who are looking to date. They just might be willing to help you out. It could be that your friends have no idea you’re trying for a relationship and you just have to let them know. Your future SO could be a mutual friend away.

    10. Step up your flirting skills

    Still not sure how to flirt? Maybe the guy you like just doesn’t know you’re into him. It might be time to brush up and get some professional tips to get you past level zero in flirting.

    11. Get online

    Many girls are just not into online dating. And while it can have disastrous results, it can also be a new way to find your future SO. You may even find your true love.

    12. Make the first move

    I am a firm believer that at least once in every woman’s life, she should make the first move. If you see someone in class you think is just too cute to ignore, ask them to study and maybe text them later to see if they want to go out for coffee. Guys are often just waiting until a girl shows interest before they start pursuing a relationship.

    In the end, you need to know that the right person will often come at the time you least expect it. All you can do is try not to freak out in between and be the most amazing single person possible.

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    If you’re a hesitant, nervous person, the thought of having to undress and be sexy in front of another person can be downright terrifying. The pressure is most definitely on. Not only is there pressure to pleasure someone else, but the pressure of looking good and being good can be daunting as hell. Whether you’re nervous about looking silly in bed, or you’re afraid of rejection, we hear you. If you relate to these stages below, continue reading to learn how to overcome these insecurities, and gain control of your sex life.

    1. The initiation

    While things seem to be heating up, you can’t help but be nervous in wondering if your partner wants to take things to the next level. Should you make the first move? Should they? Or are they not ready? Are you even ready? Your hesitancy could also be taken as a sign that you don’t want to have sex, or you’re unsure of being with that person at all. In these moments, you wish you could just know what you want and take action, and we’re sure your partner would too.

    “It’s so hard to tell whether someone wants you to make the first move or not,” says Sarah*, a freshman at Lehigh University. You don’t want them to judge you for whether or not you’re ready.”

    The first step to overcoming this shyness is to be with someone you are comfortable with. If someone is pressuring you into doing something you do not want to do, then this is not the right person to be sleeping with. This person should also be willing to hear your concerns about your sex life so that you can both move on without the nervousness.

    Try to remind yourself that there is a reason you have made it this far with this person. If you are in the position of deciding whether or not you want to sleep with someone, your partner is making that same decision as well. It’s scary for both parties! If you do need some reassurance, however, verbally ask them if they want to have sex! It’s not as scary as it seems and if your partner is as into you as you are to them; they will be happy you spoke up.

    Related: 6 Things Everyone is Insecure About When It Comes to Sex

    2. The pressure to pleasure/be pleasured

    Eventually, your body language says what you truly want. However, you can’t help those intrusive thoughts. Your nerves are on edge. Are they enjoying themselves? Are you enjoying yourself? Are you allowed to ask to mix things up and change positions? You’re too nervous for their response, and as a result, you rarely speak up. You may even be afraid to express yourself, and as a result, you’re focused more on your insecurities than the naked person in front of you. Marty Klein, a sex therapist and author of Sexual Intelligence, says, “Sex isn’t about what bodies do – it’s about how people feel. So do sexual things that will make you feel the way you want to feel – close, graceful, naughty or safe – not what you think 'real sex' or 'normal sex' or 'cool sex' involves."

    Communication does not need to stop once the sex begins. Meaning, you’re allowed to speak up and ask for something in bed. Sex is a two-person activity that should result in both parties giving and receiving. You are not a selfish or bad person for wanting to feel good. Do not be shamed by your sexuality. Pro tip: You can definitely tell what kind of person your partner is by their response to your sexual requests.

    And if you’re unsure of what you want in bed, tell your partner this as well. It’s okay to take things slow to ultimately understand what feels good and what doesn’t. You and your partner can explore together. Sometimes because of someone’s cultural background or societal expectations, they feel ashamed to talk about sex openly. Understand that sex does not come easily for everyone, and that is perfectly normal. The bedroom should be and remain a judgment free zone.

    3. The Awkward Pillow Talk

    If you haven’t slept with this person before, you could be nervous for the awkward encounters after the actual act. Whether or not this is a first-time hookup or a start of a relationship, shy people are always nervous of what is expected after sexy time. If this is just a hookup, you’re wondering if you/they can spend the night. All the logistics of the time you’ve spent together begin settling into your mind. “What did that hookup mean to them?” You start wondering if the sex was as good for them as it was for you. If anything, the aftermath of the intimate time can be the most challenging for shy girls who are not sure of where they stand with the other person.

    Jessica*, a freshman at Lehigh University, says, “This part of hookups is my least favorite in college because it means something different depending on the guy. It’s hard to tell whether a guy genuinely likes you or just your body. Worrying definitely takes away from the experience.”

    As far as enjoying your sexy time goes, a rule of thumb is to feel more and worry less. The more you limit intrusive thoughts and consider your sensations, the more you’ll enjoy yourself. Whether that means it’s an intimate act, a fun pleasurable time, or both, that is entirely up to you and your partner. The only way to definitely know what your partner is thinking is to — brace yourself — ask your partner. Without verbal communication, your guess is as good as mine as to what your sexy time means. After all, sex is what you make it. Good luck!

    *Name has been changed

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    Being in a relationship can be an amazing experience. But being in a relationship can also feel like a real burden when one or both of you feel like you might be holding each other back. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are, plus it can be a difficult conversation to have. More than that, though, sometimes you care about your SO so much that you don’t want to believe that he or she might keep you from pursuing bigger things. No matter how you might be experiencing it, it’s a tough topic, so we’ve spoken to some collegiettes about how you can tell if your relationship is holding you back.

    Your relationship is holding you back if…

    1. You’re so focused on your SO that you can’t focus on yourself

    It’s totally normal to focus on your partner in a relationship, but when it gets to a point where you can’t focus on yourself anymore, there is a problem. “I was in a relationship for three years, and the main reason it ended was because we both felt we were holding each other back,” *Jordan* says. “I was super invested in his world that I never focused on myself. After it ended I realized I had no clue what I was doing with my life.” Jordan says that after she and her SO split, she was able to discover so much about herself that she wasn’t able to do with him. Of course, when you’re dating someone you should be invested in their world, but you shouldn’t lose yourself in it. If you find you can’t focus on yourself and your goals in your relationship, then you should consider spending some time apart.

    2. You’re losing yourself

    Going along with that, losing yourself in a relationship can be a big red flag alerting you that your relationship might be holding you back. “If you’re at a point in your relationship where you’re sacrificing things you enjoy, it’s time to move on,” Rachel Petty, a recent graduate of James Madison University, says. “I was dating a guy who didn’t like to go out as much as I did. He’d beg me to stay in, and I’d miss out on nights with my friends. If the person you’re with is causing you to be less like yourself, they’re holding you back.” It’s important to strike a balance between doing things your SO likes to do and things you like to do, but if you feel like you’re starting to change yourself and what you like to do to fit your SO, then like Rachel said, it might be time to move on.

    3. You and your SO have two very different life paths

    It can be incredibly difficult when you realize that you and your SO have two different life paths, primarily because you are pursuing two different careers. “I've been in a relationship for five years with a guy since sophomore year of high school, and I'm coming to realize our career paths (and life paths) are going to be so different,” *Laura* says. “Pre-med and business don’t really seem to have the same life path.” When one of you is staying in school for another four years (or longer) and the other wants to start their career in a different place, you might end up holding each other back because you’re now in two different places in life, which means it might be best for you to focus on yourself for a little bit.

    Related: 3 Little Things You Should Stop Doing For a Healthier Relationship

    Your relationship is not holding you back if…

    1. You can communicate successfully about what you both need

    You’ve heard it before: communication is key. And it truly is, especially when it comes to determining if your relationship is holding you back. “Ultimately it comes down to: do you want to be together and make it work?” Jackie* says “If you do, you have to work through it like (my SO and I) did. We said, ‘Okay, this is what I need to do in order to get to where I need to be and if it means we don't see each other for a few days or speak heavily, that's what it needs to be.’” Jackie says it’s definitely not an easy conversation to have, but if you genuinely see a future with your SO, then it’s a conversation worth having, especially so you two don’t end up holding each other back.

    2. Your SO is your biggest cheerleader

    If your SO is your biggest supporter, always encouraging you to go for your dream, and you do the same for him or her, then you guys are probably not holding each other back. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it does mean it will be worth it in the long haul. Emily Veith, a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, says her boyfriend is a big supporter of hers. “He supports me doing the things I love, and is there cheering me on when I walk into interviews for legislative offices (I want to work in legislature.)” she says. “Also, he gives me time to focus on me. For example, when I was trying to complete my senior project before I graduated in June, he stepped aside and said I needed to focus on my project so I could accomplish my goal.” Her bottom line: “When your SO stands by your side and supports you and your dreams and helps you to accomplish those dreams, that’s when you know they are a keeper.” We couldn’t agree more.

    Of course, what works for everyone in his or her own relationships is completely individualistic. But it is important to look within yourself to figure out if you can accomplish what you want in life while also being with your SO. Whatever the answer might be, it’s okay. What’s important is that you’re doing what’s best for you right now, and sometimes that’s not what other people want. At the end of the day, though, you have to take the best care of you and your dreams as you can, even if that means you’re riding solo for a little while. Your dreams are worth it.

    *Names have been changed.

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    Spring Break is a time of relaxation, throwing back a few frozen drinks and getting a nice tan, and while there are plenty of citiesin the nation that are extremely LGBTQ+-friendly, we can’t exactly soak up the sun in New York City this March. Instead, grab those sunglasses, some sunscreen and your partner and hit up one of these spring break destinations that are both warm and queer-friendly.

    1. Houston, Texas

    Home to numerous bars, hotels and restaurants, Houston is one of the top LGBTQ+ tourist destinations in the country year round. Texas is known for its young crowd and bar life, but Houston is where it’s at to have the perfect date night with your partner. Walking the streets of Houston, you’ll see that rainbow flag painted onto the sides of bars like Barbarella and Blur Bar, not to mention hanging out of businesses’ windows, too!

    2. San Francisco, California

    Any local of San Francisco can vouch for the city’s love of the LGBTQ+ community. Spending a week here might not be the wild party you would find yourself at in, say, Cancun, but the bar-hopping possibilities and scenic views make it the perfect getaway for two. Inns like the The Parker Guest House make their guests feel at home, with a judgment-free vibe and ideal location. Looking for some adventure? Go skydiving or go on the Golden Gate Bridge Walk!

    Related: The Ultimate Spring Break To-Do List

    3. Key West, Florida

    As every collegiette knows, Florida is practically the definition of spring break. From Miami to Orlando, young people flock to these sandy beaches from all over the country. But where should you and your partner go to enjoy yourselves, completely stress-free? Alexander's Guest House is a great resort that is exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community! All around there are hotels, bars and restaurants that are 100 percent accepting of all couples so everyone can enjoy their vacations in peace.

    If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, try a romantic sail around the shores of Key West! Or if you’re one of those couples that likes to be adventurous and active together, take the walk up the 88 steps of the Key West Lighthouse! 

    4. Curaçao

    Even though the flight can be measured in many Netflix episodes (read: it’s long), Curaçao is absolutely the best place for the LGBTQ+ community to go to this spring break! With its “live and let live” motto, Curaçaois one of the most encouraging and supportive vacation spots around. It wanted to show its support so much, many hotels and resorts are now proud members of the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association). With so many activities to do in the Caribbean (like snorkeling, parasailing, scuba diving, etc.) and the happenin’ nightlife, anyone who doesn’t vacation here is missing out.

    Maelous Molendijik, hotel ambassador for the Floris Suite Hotel, says, “We feel it is all about inclusion, like our Rainbow Lounge happy hour. Gay and straight getting along in harmony. The guests are very diverse and open-minded. One cannot necessarily pinpoint who is what. And that is just fine. It is all about inclusion and acceptance.” Sounds like a great time!

    5. Panama City Beach, Florida

    Panama City Beach is quite literally the Spring Break capital, so if you’re looking for that all-out rager with your partner, this is the place for you. Checking out the Tiki Bar at the Sandpiper Beacon and Coyote Ugly bar should top your list of things to do while spending your week there, but the list only continues! Between the numerous amusement parks and restaurants to choose from, you honestly couldn’t get bored. The Splash Bar, among many others, is known for its LGBTQ+-friendly service and feel-good, Spring Break vibe!

    No matter where you decide to go, and whether you and your partner go with your friends or just go together, make your spring break memorable. Go the romantic getaway route or the Girls Gone Wild way – the choice is yours!

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    Relationships are hard at any age, but for many young people, college is when you enter your first grown-up relationship. Say good-bye to the good ol’ days of group dates at high school football games, and hello to handling real-world issues. You might be having mature conversations about intimacy and the future of your relationship. And as your relationship moves forward, you are exposed to new aspects of your SO’s life, which likely means you will be interacting with your SO’s parents more and more frequently.

    If you are lucky, while you may not be best friends, you will have a healthy and pleasant relationship with your SO’s parents. But, that’s not always the case. Even though you are amazing, it can be easy to get off on the wrong foot. Maybe you didn’t make the best first impression, or maybe you all just have very different views on major moral issues. Either way, disagreeing with your partner’s parents can add a new level of stress to a relationship.

    And while it can seem like not getting along with your SO’s family could kill any future your relationship may have, relationship experts agree, that disagreements don’t have to be the end of the relationship. Your relationship can be salvaged, and become even stronger, if you and your SO work together to mediate the conflict.

    1. Don’t tackle the problem alone

    Experts across the board agree that if you are having a problem with your SO’s parents, you and your SO need to tackle the problem together. Jasbina Ahluwalia, a relationship expert and matchmaker, and the founder of Intersections Match by Jasbina, encourages couples to pursue open communication to best tackle any problem.

    “Open communication is extremely important in a mutually fulfilling relationship. That said, ‘open’ is not a license for insensitive. Balance openly expressing yourself, while maintaining sensitivity for your SO’s bond with their parents,” Ahluwalia says.

    It can be tricky to tell your SO, that you’re not really meshing with their parents. But when the time comes, take a deep breath and try to explain your feelings, avoiding emotionally charged language. If you know you want to work through this problem, make it clear to your SO that you are open to looking for a solution.

    2. Identify the specific problem

    It can be easy to make a sweeping statement that you ‘just can’t stand your SO’s parents.’ But if you are looking to make this relationship last, it is worthwhile to try to identify what is causing your negative feelings.

    Ahluwalia suggests using a team-oriented approach to find the problem. “A good start is identifying the precise behavior which affects you instead of registering a dislike for [your SO’s] parents.”

    It can be difficult to dig into your emotions and past actions to discover the root of the problem. But discovering the nature of your feelings can help you develop an action plan. If you realize the dislike stems from a bad first impression, you can remedy that through future interactions. If you know that these feelings originate from disagreements about social issues, you can simply avoid discussing them.

    Related: How To Tell If It’s Just An Argument or the End Of Your Relationship

    3. Decide if it’s worth broaching the subject with your SO’s parents

    You may want to just pretend like everything is okay, but it can be tempting to address the issue with your SO’s parents. But, Dr. Jenn Mann, author of The Relationship Fix, cautions that it’s not always beneficial to bring up the problem.

    “If morally and philosophically you don’t see eye to eye, it won’t benefit you to bring up the problem,” Dr. Mann says. “But, if it is communication style that is the problem, it could be productive to address it.”

    If you can bring to the table, a specific problem, such as, “I don’t like it when you address me with that tone,” you can have a concrete issue to resolve. But if you can only speak in vague generalities like, “I just don’t like talking to you,” you can do your relationship more harm than good.

    4. Know if the problem is a deal breaker

    As much as you don’t want to think about it, there may come a time when you need to end your relationship. And while you may hope that the honeymoon phase will last forever, in the end, you have to be honest with yourself about what your deal breakers are.

    “Most people have good instincts about what their deal breakers are,” Dr. Mann says. “You have to look at whether you are on the same page morally and philosophically. If the two of you are too far apart, it’s a deal breaker.”

    Ahluwalia believes that it is essential to know that you have support from your partner in a difficult situation. And not having support can make a struggling relationship falter further.

    “Resentment can kill relationships,” says Ahluwalia. “I think that any issue which is super important to one partner cannot be dismissed by the other partner without compromising the relationship.”

    So, if your SO is unwilling to listen to your feelings, or if you know that you will never be able to have a polite conversation with their mother, it may be time to part ways.

    Related: What To Do Once The Honeymoon Phase Is Over

    5. Have a strategy to cope if you are going to stick it out

    If you decide that a disagreement with your SO’s parents isn’t a deal breaker, it can be wise to have a plan on how to handle future interactions. Megan Mann, a graduate of Purdue University, hasn’t directly experienced this problem, but her boyfriend has.

    “[My boyfriend]’s never really seen eye-to-eye with my mom or my sister and even after four years, he tends to keep his distance,” Megan says. “He deals with it by picking and choosing when to be around them. He limits what he’s willing to talk to them about, as he doesn’t agree with the way they treat me. It’s all about picking and choosing when to be around them.”

    Going into family situations with a game plan can make life easier for everyone. So, if you know your dad and your SO don’t get along, consider having them socialize in different groups or sit in separate areas. If you know a certain topic sparks disagreement, steer conversation in a different direction. It can be challenging at first but will pay off when everyone’s happy.

    While it can be immensely difficult to handle a problem with your SO’s parents, approaching the problem with your SO in a healthy and productive manner can only make your relationship stronger. In the end, remember that you all do have some common ground: both you and your SO’s parents love your SO. And that’s all that matters.

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    The quest to find prince charming on a dating app, namely Tinder, has proven to be a daunting task. College-aged guys on Tinder range from the serial right-swipers to the guys so analytical about the types of pictures and bio you post. If you haven’t given up hope on finding a connection on Tinder, we asked seven college guys what makes them automatically swipe right on a girl. Their answers may (or may not) surprise you.

    1. A clever bio

    It’s hard to determine how much or how little information we want to reveal about ourselves on Tinder. However, for guys who claim that they are looking for more than just a hookup, they like to know who you are beyond a face.

    Michael Grayhand, a junior at Georgia Southern University, wants to know the basics about the girls he swipes right for—age and/or school, favorite quote or witty statement and their passions. 

    “While I don’t expect a girl to lay out her whole life story, I want to know something about her to see if there is something we connect over right off the bat,” he says. “So please don’t leave it blank! Or be basic and say ‘I love kittens.’ And? So does everyone else.”

    So if you’re comfortable, let the dating pool know what makes you unique.

    2. Being passionate about something

    Attraction is a big part of what initially draws someone to you, but according to guys, seeing a woman who is driven makes her ten times more appealing.

    Parker Lanza, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, met his current girlfriend on Tinder and was immediately drawn to her passion for dancing.

    “My girlfriend is a professional salsa dancer, and I remember seeing pictures of her dancing on her Tinder,” he says. “Not only did she look beautiful dancing, it was so attractive that she was showing off her working hard.”

    So whether it be a sport, your job or volunteering that you’re passionate about, a worthy guy will take interest in what makes you tick.

    3. Seeing you alone in pictures 

    It’s safe to conclude that guys don’t want to have to think too hard about swiping. They want to get a definite feel of what you look like easily, which is why they will left swipe on a girl with too many group pictures.

    According to Rashad King, a senior at Kentucky State University, even if you are potentially the girl of a guy’s dreams, guys won’t think twice about swiping left if they can’t tell which girl you are in the picture.

    “I don’t want to have to investigate who the girl is in the picture,” he says. “One group picture is cool, but I’m looking to hang out with you, not your four best friends. So why are they included?”

    P.S. Guys could definitely benefit from this tip too!

    4. Having a variety of pictures

    The hardest part of creating a Tinder profile is picking what pictures to post. Guys want to see you in a variety of different settings.

    Chris Colfer, a sophomore at Kennesaw State University, likes to see potential Tinder matches in many lights – dressed up, chilling out and maybe a selfie or two thrown in.

    “It’s weird to me if a girl only has selfies in her bathroom,” he says. “So if you’ve traveled abroad or are always at this certain coffee shop, it’s cool to see.”

    So even if your best pictures are from your birthday, don’t post all of them at once.

    5. Sports gear

    As typical as it may seem, guys like when a girl is into sports (surprise, surprise). Xavi LaCosta, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, gives brownie points to any woman supporting a sports team.

    “Even if you’re just representing your school, seeing a lady in a jersey does something to my heart,” he says.

    However, if you aren’t into sports, don’t go out and buy a jersey just for a guy. It’s not worth it!

    From guys strictly NOT looking for relationships…

    6. Pictures of you partying

    Some women refrain from posting pictures of us partying in fear of looking “trashy,” but some guys on Tinder actually want to see that. Gio Ramos, a junior at Kennesaw State University, likes seeing girls at bars, fraternity houses and generally having a good time.

    “If I see a girl that likes to go out, I’ll swipe right,” he says. “Maybe that turns some guys off, but I’m looking for someone to go out and have a good time with me.”

    So if you’re looking for a drinking buddy, don’t worry about having to tone down how you look on Tinder. There's no shame in going out and having a good time, so if you're the type of girl that likes to live it up, don't be ashamed. 

    7. Full body pictures

    This screams degrading, but guys admitted to swiping right on girls with full body pictures, and those who show off their body.

    Austin*, a junior at the University of Georgia, views Tinder as strictly a hookup app. “If a girl is cute, has a nice body of course I’m going to swipe right,” he says.

    Let’s not pretend we’re surprised, though.

    While keeping these suggestions in mind, remember to just be you. Never pretend to be someone you aren’t to impress a guy. Tinder is an experience full of lows and highs, so happy swiping!

    *Name has been changed

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    As much as graduation should be one of the happiest times of your life, moving on to the next chapter often means that some people will be physically left behind. When the job offers come rolling in, you’ll find yourself weighing the pros and cons of moving. One of the cons will always be leaving that special someone behind. How much of your move should be influenced by your SO? The short answer is that there is no right answer. Here are five things to consider if your SO is heavily influencing where you’ll land after graduation. 

    1. The unpredictability of the future

    One thing is for certain in this lifetime, and that’s that the future is uncertain. Some opportunities only come once in a lifetime. If you pass up on a chance, who is to say another equally amazing chance will come along?

    Anna*, a senior at Georgia State University, recalls the time when she sacrificed a full-ride scholarship to her dream school on the opposite side of the country to be close to her boyfriend. “Although it was on a much smaller scale, I still think about what my life would’ve been like if I left,” she says. “I kept justifying [the decision] by telling myself a better opportunity would come, that another school would give me money… but they didn’t.”

    Moral of the story is, no matter how gifting the universe is, second chances are never guaranteed.

    2. Knowing what love means

    Love means supporting your partner’s dreams and ambitions, even if that means spending time apart. Yes, the wait to see them may feel agonizing at points, but if you and your SO are confident in your relationship, long distance can work when you see the bigger picture in mind.

    Louisa Farron, a senior at The George Washington University, says that while LDRs are never ideal, they are possible. “You learn a lot about yourself and self-improvement when you’re apart,” she says. “Plus it makes the moments together that much more special – gives you a lot to look forward to.”

    If it meant to be, you’ll get all that time apart with your SO back. All the nights spent apart will make sense when you’re shacked up with your sweetheart. Long distance is meant to be a temporary solution, not permanent. At some point, one party will have to move to the other one. However, that’s not a decision you would have to make right off the bat.

    3. Know yourself

    However, as much as LDR's can work if you are willing to put the work in, some  people aren't willing to put in the work. Be honest - are you the type of person that can handle the separation? It's not a bad thing to admit that you may not be able to handle it. You may be someone who misses their SO after just seeing them hours ago. We all speak different love languages, and if you're someone who values quality time and physical touch,a LDR may do more harm than good. 

    Posie*, a gradate of University of Tampa, knew herself well enough to know that LDR simply wouldn't work. "After four years together, I know that we are building a strong foundation for our future and a LDR would throw that off," she says. "So after much thought, I turned down an awesome job offer – but not my dream job – to stay closer to my boyfriend. I knew my skills were sought after, so I know more jobs would come along, and they did. That won't be the case for everyone, but you really have to know yourself and what your relationship can handle."

    If you are leaning towards sticking around, don't feel like you're putting yourself in a bad position. You are hireable! Maybe that dream job is waiting for you a few years down the line and not right out of college. Therefore, it's okay to make a few adjustments before you reach that point.

    4. “Are they the one?”

    Let’s say your mind is almost completely made up. You are turning down a job offer to stay near your SO. Relationships naturally ask you to sacrifice parts of yourself for your SO. However, even sacrificing something as a big as a career opportunity could only possibly be considered for someone who is “the one.”

    Despite your history, regardless of how long you’ve been with your SO – be honest with yourself and ask if you see a comfortable safety net in your SO or a long-term future, specifically marriage.

    If you do not see the big commitment in your future, it may be time to end things on amicable terms. Even if things are going smoothly with your SO and there are no obvious problems, life could be calling you two in very different directions. But if you know in your heart that they are the one and are deciding to stay closer to them, the time to have the super serious talks about the future is definitely arising. 

    5. What’s best for you

    Depending upon your dream job, certain careers may call you to live in a certain location. Does the place your boyfriend lives allot beneficial career opportunities that you’ll be able to apply for?

    *Laura, a senior at Stetson University, currently is battling following her heart and being realistic. “As much as I would love to stay closer to my boyfriend, my dream is to a powerhouse journalist,” she says. “I can’t do that here. The big city is calling my name, to challenge me.”

    Don't stay comfortable in your college city because it's comfortable and what you know. If you have a feeling in your heart, go after it.

    Although it’s a lot to consider, start having the difficult conversations with your partner sooner rather than later. The right person will be willing to fight through the most unpleasant circumstances for your relationship to work. Keep your focus and finish out your semester strong, while making the tough decisions that will be the best for you - whether that be love oriented or career focused. 

    *Name has been changed

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    Rattlesnakes make us shake in our combat boots. Skydiving shocks us, bombed midterms haunt us and getting a job after graduation just straight-up scares us. These things are, without a doubt, terrifying. However, many collegiettes would face all four of them in a heartbeat if it meant skipping out on being the first to take the great leap of L-O-V-E faith.

    Saying “I love you” for the first time may seem particularly petrifying…but it doesn’t have to be! So go ahead—shout it from the rooftop, sing it to the world or, at the very least, whisper it to your SO. Read on to remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with telling him or her how you really feel. 

    1. There are no set rules

    Your syllabus tells you that you must submit your 10-page paper by midnight on Monday. Your internship supervisor requires you to show up by 7 a.m. on Fridays. But who or what decides when it’s the right time to drop the L-word? Well, that’s all you.

    College of Charleston senior Marissa Myhill dealt with this inner dilemma while trying to determine whether or not to speak up. “I did not say I love you first, but I had told him I was falling in love with him,” she says. “He responded with: ‘Well let me be the first to say, I love you Marissa.’"

    Although Marissa was the first to mention the subject, she didn’t think she could commit to it entirely. “I wanted to say it, but I think what held me back was I felt like it was too soon or we hadn't been together long enough to say it,” Marissa says. She also points out that it wasn’t the first time she’s felt restricted by the rules we’re led to believe exist. They’re not real, so don’t let them run (or ruin) your love life!

    2. When you know, you know

    Remember when Karen from Mean Girls recognized there was a 30-percent chance it was already raining because she could feel it in her boobs? While we assume/hope your romance radar is just a teensy bit more accurate, the same idea applies.

    It doesn’t matter when—or where—you feel the love. Whether it’s in your head during a date, your shoulders mid-kiss, your knees after a weekend trip or your toes on a random Tuesday, the sensation has a way of making you hyperaware of its presence. So, unless you want to deal with tingly toes until your SO finally takes it upon himself or herself to say I love you, you’ll be better off if you go with what you know.

    3. It’s easier than waiting

    Good things do come to those who wait. Whoever said that first wasn’t wrong. But even better things come to those who ditch the waiting game and speak from the heart. In the words of Temple University senior Leah Wenhold, “Being the first to say I love you is better than being the last!”

    Instead of sitting on a seriously strong “I love you” because you think the hands of some imaginary clock are pointing to the wrong time, stand up and stop being so overly patient that it’s silencing your ability to share your feelings!

    Related: 6 Pros & Cons of Being Someone’s First Love 

    4. Your SO probably feels the same way…and is probably nervous, too

    The fear of rejection is real—so real, in fact, that we’ve all been there. “It may seem daunting if it's the first time you've ever said I love you,” says Stephanie Huynh, a freshman at Lehigh University. Stephanie may be spot-on about the intimidation surrounding our three favorite words, but what she says next really gets to the heart of the matter. “If you can tell they feel the same way and they're just as nervous, I don't see any problem with ‘exposing’ your love first. Chances are, they feel the same”

    Belmont University sophomore Sarah Self experienced this firsthand. “My boyfriend and I had been long distance for about six months, practically the whole time we were dating,” she says. “I was so chicken about saying it because I'd never told anyone I'd loved them in that way before. Finally, I just worked up the nerve and kind of half said it. I hinted in a text, saying ‘Well, that's not the only thing I love about you.’ When he asked what else I loved, I said, ‘You.’” Sarah was beyondnervous throughout the time it took for her boyfriend to respond. He then told her he felt the same way. As Sarah puts it, sharing her feelings “was so worth it.”

    While there is no official right or wrong time to say I love you, there is (or will be) a right time for you. You’ll know exactly when it strikes, and, though you should never feel pressured into talking before you’re ready, we hope you find comfort in your freedom to reveal how you feel whenever the heck you please. 

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  • 02/28/18--11:00: 5 Ways to Get Out of a Date
  • The modern dating world isn’t exactly filled with romance and deep conversations anymore. From swiping right to double tapping, affection seems to be shown online more than any other way. Sadly, this doesn’t exactly get our hearts beating as fast as a bouquet of unexpected flowers could. The romantics in us still believe true love exists and are hopeful more meaningful encounters will make a comeback, but here are a few ways to get out of a date — ya know — just in case.

    1. Tell a white lie

    White lies are what make up the majority of excuses we have listed below. Zara Barrie, Senior Sex and Dating Writer at Elite Daily, explains why telling white lies are sometimes necessary. "If you need to get out of a date and you don't want to hurt their feelings because they're kind people and rejection sucks--I think telling a white lie is okay,” she states. We can definitely get behind this idea of sparing someone more heartache than they deserve. From blaming it on minor family problems to an impromptu work event, there’s always room for a little kindness when it comes to letdowns.

    2. Say you’re sick

    This seems to be the go-to, classic way to get out of a date. Rachel Petty, a senior at James Madison University, says, “It always works to say you aren't feeling well or came down with something. No one wants to risk getting sick!” This can be true for many people — nobody has time for a cold.

    But on the other hand, Barrie believes this particular lie can backfire if you truly don’t wish to date this person at all. She explains, "Don't tell a fleeting lie, like 'I'm sick.' If they like you they will try and reschedule with you.” So, if you’re feeling desperate and need to get out of a date ASAP, saying something like you’re sick (maybe even providing gross details) is a good way to shut down a situation, no questions asked. But if you really want to end this possible relationship, and not see this person again, you’ll need to be more honest with your reasoning.

    Related: 15 Things Only People Who Love Being Single Understand

    3. Tell them you’re focusing on yourself right now

    This is better than “I’m sick” if you’re trying to end all ties completely. Barrie suggests saying something like, “I'm actually not in a place to date, right now. I thought I would be honest with you. I'm focusing my energy on cultivating a healthier relationship [with] MYSELF." Preach! We are all about self-love and inner happiness. After all, there’s nothing better than loving yourself first and then entering a relationship.

    If you’ve already been on a date with this same person, however, it can be a tad trickier. This is where you can try saying, “I thought I was ready to date, and I enjoyed our time together, but I’ve realized I’m truly not there yet and I don’t want to waste your time.” This is more upfront, which is good, and it alludes to the fact that you need to spend more time alone.

    4. Say you’re still not over your ex

    Similar to not being ready to date, you can blame your sudden lack of interest on your feelings for your ex that haven’t quite faded away. Barrie recommends saying, "I think you're an amazing person, but I'm still a bit hung up on my ex, and I don't think it's fair to you," which is very true. Being upfront now will save both of you a lot of disappointment down the road. It can be difficult to compete with an ex sometimes, especially if you’re still not over them, so why drag someone else into your unfinished business?

    5. Just be direct

    Of course, there’s always the option of true honesty. Olivia Hennedy, a senior at Bishop's University, shares her thoughts: “It’s always difficult to let someone know that you aren’t feeling the same way about them as they are about you,” she says. “But at the end of the day, it’s always best to be honest with yourself and them. It’s not fair to string someone along especially if you’re unsure about how you feel.” We couldn’t agree more. Letting someone down doesn’t have to be harsh, but it’s better to be upfront than give them false hope.

    We hope you ladies find an SO worthy of you and all you have to offer. In the meantime, keep putting yourselves out there and enjoying your time alone. Dating can be fun if you give it a try, just be sure to stay safe and be courteous of other people’s feelings, which may include telling a white lie from time to time. Happy dating, collegiettes!

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    We can all admit that one of the first things we do when we find a new crush is to stalk their social media. Of course, we never really intend for it to happen but every once in a while we may run across a certain ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend that they shared a photo with. One thing leads to another and somehow we end up six years into their past. As harmless as this seems, it may actually have a bigger effect on you than you think. If you still think it’s a good idea, here are five reasons why you should stop immediately:

    1. You might find yourself knowing too much

    One of the most obvious but overlooked reasons is that you may accidentally say something about something you shouldn’t know about. In casual conversations it’s often easy to speak without thinking and this is definitely not a situation you want to be in with a new crush. Although it may not seem too creepy to know all the details of their romantic trip to Canada, it’s probably not the best topic for a first date.

    Heather Peart, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that this is definitely a possibility. “I don't think you really realize how much you know until someone else points it out,” she says. “When you’re going through anyone’s Instagram in general, you almost get a summary of who that person is. It becomes just common knowledge and you really can’t keep track of what you should know and what you have to pretend you don’t know. “

    That’s a pretty good way to put it if you ask us. You don’t want to seem like the crazy, paranoid girlfriend/boyfriend before you even start dating. Even if you think you’re being careful, it’s easy for something to slip. 

    2. It may affect the way that you act

    If you’re busy studying up on your crush’s past relationships, you may feel the need to be more like his/her ex. It may seem like it’s unlikely, but you may find yourself subconsciously thinking about the photo they posted of her reading and feel the need to show him/her that you love to read too. We all know how crazy we can get when it comes to impressing someone like. It’s all the little things we tend to focus on to get their attention. However, this is the last thing that you want to happen. Even if you’re oh so positive that they are gonna be the love of your life, you want to make sure that the relationship starts off as honest as possible. You want to show this crush your true self instead of who you think they want you to be.

    Elyza Bailey, a sophomore at Southern Methodist University, couldn’t agree more. “You shouldn’t try to be someone that you’re not,” she says. “I know people say that all the time, but sometimes you don’t even realize that you’re doing it. When you study someone that you know your crush liked and dated, it just seems safer to be more like them.”

    We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. A little inspiration is never a bad thing, but you never want to copy someone else, especially if you’re trying to impress someone else.

     3. You could find yourself comparing yourself to them

     Even if you’re not trying to copy how their past significant other was, you may find yourself mentally comparing yourself to them. Whether it be the way that they look or the things that they do, you may start to think that you’re not good enough. While we all make occasional jokes about how we will never find love because there’s too much competition, we never want it to actually get to our heads. It’s important to remember that Instagram is a reflection of only the best version of a person, not who he or she is entirely. People rarely go around posting their crazy moments, bad angles and horrible habits. When people post an Instagram photo, they make sure to spend ample amounts of time to make it the best that it could possibly be. However, if you compare their moments to your worst, it could really take a toll on how you view yourself.

    Vanessa Le, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, says that this is a big problem in today’s society. “There have been multiple studies showing that looking through Instagram can make people unhappy because they find themselves comparing themselves to them,” she explains. “I think in the case of an ex of a crush, it’s even worse because they’re real instead of a celebrity.”

    That’s a good point. Many people find themselves feeling like they aren’t good enough because of the standard that photos on Instagram may set. However, it’s important to remember that they’re probably as much a mess as you are behind the camera.

    4.  You may get worried when he/she doesn’t treat you the same

    Even if you don’t find yourself getting jealous of who the ex is as a person, you may start to get worried and paranoid when he/she doesn’t seem to treat you the same way that they treated their past significant others. We know, you’re probably wondering how in the world could you tell so much by just a couple Instagram photos right? Well it’s important to take into consideration that the app is much more than just the photos. They also show comments. If your crush was the type to comment words of affection on every single photo and they don’t immediately do the same, it may create unreasonable expectations. Even if they don’t comment anything, even a picture of a bouquet of roses they may have received from your current crush could make you worried. These things may seem petty, but we never want to underestimate a boy or girl in “love.”

    Ellie Butler, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, says that you should never look back when starting a new relationship. “There comes a point where you realize an ex is an ex for a reason,” she says. “If you're going to be a meaningful part of their future, you need to stop focusing on their past.”

    5. Social media distorts the truth

    One huge reason why you should not get caught up in researching the ex of your newly found beau is that social media never tells the whole story. This could apply in a variety of different ways. For example, people don’t show who they really are on social media. Whether it be editing a photo or simply picking and choosing the best ones, social media only shows the side of people that they choose to show. When you see the perfect Instagram photo of the seemingly flawless ex, you’re only judging their appearance. We know, it’s hard to put appearances completely aside but at the end of the day it is true that looks will only get you so far.

    Thalia Carrillo, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin agrees that she’s had similar thoughts. “I feel like it’s hard to remember that things like Instagram are a way to advertise the best sides of a person,” she says. “Of course, no one is going to admit their flaws on such a public platform. I’ve found that stalking my crush’s exes has only created a false image of them in my head. It makes me overthink about how their relationship might’ve been and that can really eat you up.” We’ve all been there.

    Furthermore, the pictures they may have posted during their past relationship probably only highlights the best parts of them. We highly doubt that they would go around posting pictures of the endless arguments, crying, and fighting that may have gone on in the background. Either way, stalking the ex is only showing the ex’s point of view of the relationship. No matter how perfect the relationship may have seemed from the ex’s side, it may have been a total wreck from the side of your crush.

    Related Article: 10 Common Long-Term Relationship Mistakes & How to Fix Them

    At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you are not anyone other than yourself. The person that you choose to love should love you for being you’re own perfect self. We know, it’s about as cliché as it gets, but there’s a reason that it is such a popular idea. It’s always tempting to do a little bit of research on the person you’re potentially going to date, but you should never delve too deep into trying to get to know the person. Remember, the best way to get to know a person is by having real, in-person conversations with them.

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    Flirting, tanned skin, no responsibilities, a chance to finally sit back and relax: spring break is exactly what you’ve been waiting for after a strenuous semester! With spring break right around the corner, you’re probably anxious to leave your schoolwork behind for a little bit of fun in the sun, and, more importantly, an unrestricted sleep schedule. You’re probably also anxious to leave behind the myriad of love interests at your school who just really aren’t doing anything for you anymore.

    You’re most likely at the point in the semester where meeting someone new would do you some good, and spring break may be the perfect time to search for some worthy prospects. The only problem is, you may not know where to look or how to approach them!

    Have no fear, because Her Campus is here to help! Whether you’re taking an exotic trip with your best friends or you’re simply venturing back home for the week, here’s how you can make a spring break fling happen for you.

    If you’re going home

    If you’re going home for spring break this year, your romantic prospects may be looking a little bleak. Unless you want to hook up with an ex or have a casual fling with the person who sat behind you in math for three years in high school, it probably seems that you’ll have to spend your spring break flying solo.

    But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. There are probably tons of cuties from your hometown who’ll be home for spring break—you’ve just never met them!

    Where to look

    Going home for spring break has the potential for a casual fling, or even just some new flirtatious friendships, as long as you make the effort. While it may be tempting to spend your entire break raiding your fully stocked fridge, if you really put yourself out there and try something new, the potential for meeting some new candidates skyrockets.

    If you’re super athletic but haven’t seen anyone worthy at your local gym, use spring break to try some new activities. See if there’s a fun exercise class or race happening nearby or even give rock climbing a try.

    "I’d always wanted to do a mud run, so when I heard there was one in my hometown over spring break last year, I immediately signed up," says Caitlin, a sophomore at Gonzaga University. "There were a ton of hot guys there, and I even kept pace with this one really cute guy named Matt the whole time. We started talking a little bit before the race started, and he was really easy to talk to. I definitely had to run a little faster to keep up with him, but it was worth it because he gave me his number once we were done!"

    If athletics aren’t really your thing, then there are plenty of other places you can go to meet some at-home hotties. Take a trip to your local community pool with your friends or hit up the beach if you happen to live within driving distance. Just because you’re not in an exotic location doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun!

    There are bound to be other people from your high school who are home for break as well, and there may even be a party or two to go to. If you have a mini high school reunion with all your friends who are home for break, there’s a good chance that they’ll bring some of their new college friends with them.

    "Last spring break I went to a party with a bunch of my old friends from high school and one of my best guy friends brought his roommate home with him," says Natalie, a sophomore at the University of Oregon. "I had seen Facebook pictures of him before and I thought he was super cute. I really wanted to talk to him, so I pulled my friend aside and asked if he’d casually introduce us. We ended up talking for a good majority of the party!"

    How to approach them

    Spring break is way too short to wait for the guy to approach you, so don’t be afraid to make the first move! Ask your friend to introduce you to her good-looking friend from college, or single out a cute guy and ask him to spot you while you climb the rock wall at your gym. You never know what kind of cute boys will be waiting for you when you decide to try something new!

    It’s not a bad idea to figure out which of your friends are going to be home for the break. It’s an even better idea to find out which ones are bringing home cute friends with them. Your friends will definitely be your best assets when it comes to making a spring break fling happen, so don’t hesitate to ask them! If you let a friend know you might be interested in her cute friend, she’ll definitely pass along the message.

    The best part about an at-home spring break fling is that if you two really hit it off, there’s a good chance you can turn your fling into the real thing once you go back home for the summer!

    If you’re going on a trip

    So you and your best girlfriends decided to take the plunge and hit up one of the popular spring break destinations for some week-long fun. When you pick a well-known spring break location, there’s bound to be a ton of people who are looking to have a good time, so finding someone cute to flirt with should be a piece of cake!

    Where to look

    The beach is one of the best places to search if your spring break destination happens to be warm and tropical. Whether you’re tanning during the day, going to a bonfire at night or taking a long stroll through the sand, there will always be something going on and plenty of new people to socialize with.

    "I went on a trip to Cancun with all my friends last spring break, and there were a ton of people partying on the beach at all times," says Hannah, a junior at the University of Washington. "We would all wake up, immediately throw on our bathing suits, head down to the beach and usually stay there all day. That was definitely the place where everyone wanted to be. It was really fun!"

    If you need a break from the beach, you can also look for local events happening in your area, like concerts or carnivals that you can attend. You’re bound to find a group of cuties who would be willing to tag along to an outdoor concert or accompany you on a fun day trip to a local tourist attraction. TripSmarter.Com is a great place to search for spring break concerts and activities as well as good restaurants and local hot spots!

    Be on the lookout for people who are staying in your hotel as well. The place you’re staying at will probably be swarming with college kids who are all looking to have a good time, just like you. If you meet someone attractive in the elevator on the way down to the lobby, don’t be afraid to ask them if they know of anything cool going on later that night. They may have the inside scoop on which club is having the best dance party that night, and they might even invite you and your friends to accompany them and their friends!

    Maybe warm beaches aren’t really your scene, so you’re heading to a prime ski destination, like Vail or Salt Lake City, for your week-long break. Sunscreen and beach volleyball won’t exactly work in this location when trying to get attention, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend your break skiing the slopes solo. Whether it’s a group of college snowboarders or a hot ski instructor you talk to, there’s plenty of potential for some flirty fun.

    If you’re hitting the slopes, you may be able to find someone cute to help you navigate the bunny hill or give you a hand when you totally eat it on your snowboard.

    How to approach them

    While the atmosphere will most likely be incredibly social, you may still need an excuse to approach someone. Ask them to join your beach volleyball game or see if they can put some sunscreen on that one spot on your back that you can never seem to reach. When you’re on a spring break trip, you don’t even really need a legitimate excuse to approach someone, but it’s always nice to have one just in case!

    "There were a ton of college students there [Cancun]," Hannah says. "It was pretty easy to meet guys. Everyone was very social and just looking to have a good time, so you really didn’t need an excuse to approach anyone. The guys were just looking to hook up and the girls were just looking to flirt. Everyone knows the drill, so there’s really no awkward introductions."

    If you’re somewhere where the weather is a little more on the chilly side, then you and your friends can invite a group to take a late-night dip in the hotel’s hot tub with you, or scope out which ski instructor is the cutest and sign up for a lesson! Don’t be afraid to be a little flirtier than normal, because once the week is over you’ll probably never see these people again!

    Related: A Step-by-Step Guide to Turning a Spring Break Fling into a Relationship

    "I go skiing and snowboarding at Schweitzer [in Idaho] all the time with my friends, and there’s always a ton of hot snowboarders there," says Katie, a sophomore at Gonzaga University. "Last time I went, there was this guy who was doing some really cool moves that I hadn’t learned yet, so I just went up and asked him if he’d teach them to me. He was more than happy to show me because I think it just gave him an excuse to show off. We had a lot to talk about, though, because we both love to snowboard so much!"

    If your skiing/snowboarding technique isn’t quite Winter Olympics status, don’t let that deter you from striking up a conversation. Maybe they won’t be able to teach you any insane snowboarding tricks, but you can always ask them to help you with the essentials, like how to stop or how to move five feet without face-planting in the snow.

    Whether you’re at home or at an exotic location this spring break, there’s a ton of potential to meet some total hotties. Time to put yourself out there and perfect those flirting skills–make this spring break one that you’ll never forget! 

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    Let’s face it, ladies — if you're straight and sexually active, chances are you’ve probably encountered a situation where the guy you were hooking up with couldn’t get hard. We know how it feels. For all of us, it’s bizarre, frustrating and quite honestly, can make us feel self-conscious. What the hell is happening?

    First off, if you’ve ever questioned, “Is it me? Is he not attracted to me?” Rest assured, you aren’t the cause of his impotence. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which a man is unable to get or maintain an erection, thus preventing him from engaging in sexual intercourse — and it affects nearly 30 million men nationwide. Read below for five causes of ED for a little more clarity the next time bae can’t get hard.

    1. Consuming too much alcohol

    This one is well-known, so we wanted to get it out of the way right off the bat. “Whiskey dick,” as it’s most commonly known, is actually grounded in a lot of scientific fact. According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, alcohol is the leading cause of impotence (and other issues that come with sexual dysfunction).

    Sexual dysfunction as a result of alcohol dependence refers to a range of issues, including decreased sexual desire, sexual aversion disorder, difficulty in erection, difficulty in orgasm and premature ejaculation. The study notes that this dysfunction is probably due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant, which slows down brain and spinal activity.

    So, the next time you come home from the bar and your boyfriend has “whiskey dick,” cut him some slack — his current condition is totally temporary.

    2. Smoking tobacco

    While smoking any type of drug is a personal decision, tell your guy friends who smoke tobacco that they might want to put down their cigarettes. If lung cancer wasn’t reason enough for them to quit, maybe impotence will be.

    According to this study by the Health Priorities Research Group at the University of California, Irvine, there is a higher prevalence of impotence in men who smoke versus men who don’t smoke. This doesn't mean that everytime a guy smokes, he won't be able to get hard. It just means that overall, smokers are more likely to have issues with impotency.

    3. Taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs

    It’s probably not surprising that prescription medicine could potentially affect a man’s ability to get hard, but it might be surprising to hear that some over-the-counter drugs can interfere with erection, too. What’s more, what kind of drug causes impotence varies from man to man.

    Some medicines that may cause impotence are: Benadryl, Zantac, Dramamine, Tagamet, Vistaril, Antivert and Axid. Antidepressants can also lead to impotence, and since depression affects a surprising number of  young adults, we can assume that a decent number of college men are prescribed them. If your boyfriend is having trouble getting (and/or staying) hard for a consecutive period of time, it can’t hurt to ask him if he’s on any medication that could be triggering his ED. 

    4. Mental health issues

    A number of psychological issues can cause ED. While they’re harder to identify and treat, the three most common are anxiety, stress and depression — and in the context of male college students, this makes sense. After all, young adult college students experience increased levels of all three.

    Don’t go and self-diagnose him with one of these disorders just because he struggles to get hard on occasion. However, if you truly feel that he might be struggling with a deeper issue, you should reach out to someone in his family, a close friend or a medical professional for help.

    Related: 6 Things Everyone is Insecure About When It Comes to Sex

    5. Problems in your relationship

    Although we started this article off by claiming it “isn’t you” who’s causing your boyfriend's ED, in some instances, you could be a part of the problem — but it has nothing to do with how attracted he is to you. An unhealthy emotional relationship will also affect your sexual relationship.

    If you and your significant other have intense arguments, trouble communicating, anger issues, and/or some other rift in your relationship, it very well could lead to issues with sexual desire and function. Problems in a relationship, especially at a young age, are never good. Try and work through your issues together, and be sensitive to his impotence.

    Whether it be caused by a medical problem, a lifestyle choice or a psychological issue, ED is a real thing that affects many young men across the world. The next time you’re hooking up with a guy and he can’t “keep it up,” try and sympathize with him — and don’t insult yourself in the process. Chances are, the issue has absolutely nothing to do with you.

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    Flowers don’t have to be the only thing blossoming this spring; romance can, too! A week off from boring classes, huge textbooks and 12-page papers, spring break is the perfect time for dating. Whether you’re traveling, catching up on your favorite Netflix series at home or staying on campus, this stress-free week can become a whole lot better by going out with a campus cutie or two. Since there are so many ways collegiettes like to spend spring break, we’ve got great date ideas for you no matter where you are!

    If you’re at the beach

    Take a stroll on the boardwalk

    Spend all day on the boardwalk, where you can sample tasty ice cream flavors and get lost in souvenir shops while enjoying the smell of the ocean. Most boardwalks have plenty of rides, shops and restaurants for you and your date to enjoy together. You can also play some games; hopefully they’ll win you a prize!

    Go stargazing

    Take a blanket out to the beach after dark and get ready for a romantic night. Under the moonlight, you and your date can spot constellations and get cozy together. For extra brownie points, don’t forget your partner’s favorite bottle of wine if you’re 21 or older!

    Go to a bonfire

    A bonfire on the beach is the perfect date that’s both relaxed and fun. All you need is a bag of chips with dip and two beach chairs. It’s a great way to get to know each other and way more fun than your typical dinner date.

    Go to a beachside bar with live music

    Try out a new place that comes recommended by a friend, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go to a new place that neither of you has heard of. There’s nothing better than watching a live performance with your toes in the sand. Who knows, you might find a hidden gem!

    If you’re stuck on campus

    See a band perform

    Local bands love to play around college campuses, which usually results in free publicity for them and a free show for you! Find out where you can watch a performance and spend the evening belting out song lyrics together. Chances are it won’t be far away, so you won’t have to worry about transportation.

    Set up a beach date in your dorm room

    If you can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to you! Go to your nearest Target and pick up tiki lights and a few inflatable beach toys, like palm trees or beach balls. Decorate your floor with towels and seashells, and for the perfect finishing touch, grab a few helium-filled dolphin balloons! Be sure to invite another couple to join the fun and make it a double date.

    If you’re abroad

    Go hiking

    Hiking is a great way to explore and discover new places, especially if you’re in a tropical area. Choose a scenic trail, and for added romance, be sure to stop at a waterfall along the way!

    Have a picnic

    Go to a market together and fill up your basket with a variety of local, specialty foods, then have a picnic with all of your choices. You’ll get to experience exotic flavors of tons of fresh food!

    Visit a historical site

    There’s nothing better than visiting old places in new countries. Look up the most romantic spots in the country and go on a tour with your date. Whether it’s the “Love Lock” bridge in Paris or Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy, romance is in the air!

    If you’re at home

    Play a board game

    Spark up some friendly competition with a few of your favorite childhood board games. You could even invite some friends over and compete with other couples. For a romantic spin on the game if it’s just the two of you, have the loser give the winner a massage!

    Create a scavenger hunt

    Make a list of different places that you’ve been together and write down romantic clues or riddles to each one. You can include the first place you kissed, your first date, etc.

    Meghan Gibbons, a senior at Boston College, made a scavenger hunt for a group of friends. "Although I knew the path we were going to take, it was a lot of fun to see my friends remember the places and all the memories we had there," she says. It’ll be even more fun and romantic with your significant other!

    Take advantage of your spare time during spring break by setting up some fantastic dates. With warm weather on the rise and so many options to choose from, say goodbye to winter coats and hello to the great outdoors. Love is definitely in the air this spring!

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    Not every relationship you experience leads to happily ever after. You can’t mold someone into your idea of prince or princess charming — sometimes two people just don’t work out. Whether you can sense the shakiness in the beginning of the relationship or years down the line, sometimes it’s best to trust your gut feeling. Here are six telltale signs that the relationship you’re in won’t last long term.

    1. You mistake comfort for love

    While it’s important to feel comfortable in your relationship, comfort is one of the key reasons why people stay in relationships that have long passed their expiration date. It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself in the dating pool again, and it’s even easier to hold on to a relationship because of the history you and your SO have. If you find yourself recounting the reasons of why you guys are together and the main reason is because “you’ve been with him for a long time,” you should realize that complacency does not lead to happiness.

    Lauryn Higgins, a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, knew that her long-term relationship wouldn’t last just because of the longevity.

    “I was in a three-year relationship and when a friend said to me, ‘Would you want your daughter dating the guy you’re with?’ And my first thought was, ‘I would want more for her,’ I knew I had to start having a conversation with my SO,” she says.

    Evaluate if just feeling okay within your relationship is where you want to be. Love should be the most gratifying feeling in the world and should never be confused with complacency.

    2. You feel like a secret

    On the contrary, there’s the classic “situationship,” which we’ve all been in or witnessed. Just like you can’t mold a person into your version of perfection, there is no way to force someone into a relationship they don’t want to be in.

    Ashley Drayton, a Georgia State University graduate, knows that your relationship will remain at a standstill without a few key elements.

    “If he’s content with having a situationship, staying in the house instead of going on dates, he seems to be hiding you or parts of his life, and he doesn’t put a lot of effort into things regarding you, it’s not going anywhere,” she says.

    At this point in life, if someone wants you to be a part of their life, it will be clear to you. You shouldn’t be left guessing whether or not you might have a chance of working out.

    3.  You give and give, and they take and take

    Sacrifices and compromises are a part of any relationship. However, they should not be coming from only one end. It’s not a good sign if you give so much of yourself to someone with little investment in return.

    You can easily burn out early on in a relationship if you are constantly giving. Megan Scavo, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, knows from personal experience that selfishness can cause a relationship should go downhill quickly.

    “If your SO expects you to plan your entire life around them, such as school, work and friends, it’s not going to last too long,” she says.

    If you find that you are the only one sacrificing up your time, money and energy, recognize that that is not normal.

    4. Your friends and family can tell it won’t last

    Nobody is in your relationship but you and your SO, so sometimes it can hard for outsiders to judge your relationship. However, the saying “Mama knows best” may not be so cliché in this case. Love can blind you enough to the point that you don’t recognize warning signs.

    “If your friends tell you they don’t see you with him forever or that he’s not the one, listen,” Megan says. “Your friends know you better than you know yourself sometimes.”

    You may have that one friend who doubts every relationship you get into, but if the overwhelming majority of your friends and family do not see things working out for the best, you should at least listen to them as to why. They have a more objective view of the relationship. Plus, if they know you well enough, they can tell when things just click and when they don’t. 

    Related: 5 Ways to Let Go of a Relationship That Ended Before it Started

    5. You try to justify bad behavior

    Your SO is not immune from making mistakes. It’s completely understandable to forgive small mistakes, but your SO should not get a free pass on everything.

    Something that should be immediately addressed is any form of abuse. “If he says rude things or degrades you, even if it’s out of character when angry, that’s a definite red flag,” Megan says. “Way too many women put up with that too long.”

    Rachel Petty, a senior at James Madison University, advises women to trust their gut feeling when it comes to a bad feeling about a relationship.

    “If you find yourself making excuses for your SO and letting big things slide, that’s a sign you should probably end things,” she says. “If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”

    You can't shake off your intuition telling you something is wrong forever. In many cases, our feelings of uneasiness are justified. 

    6. Your core values do not align

    Opposites attract in many cases, but in some cases they cannot work long term. Having differences with others is what makes humans unique, but some differences may be too big to ignore.

    Alyssa*, a junior at Kennesaw State University, could not look past a difference in religion between her and her SO.

    “I am religious and my ex was not,” she says. “At first, I looked past this difference. But when he became comfortable enough, he would essentially make fun of me for believing in something. That’s where I had to evaluate if I could handle that intolerance for years to come.”

    The important thing to remember is even though you and your SO have differences, there should be mutual respect for each other’s beliefs. You should never feel ashamed or scared to practice your beliefs because your SO believes the opposite.

    Envision your future a few years down the road. If you cannot see your future with your SO and their current behavior, it is time to have a conversation with them. Whether or not you chose to end things or work on things is up to you, but know that you do not have to put up with behavior that doesn’t mesh with you. 

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    Spring break: a sunny week filled with drinks, friends and flirty guys. If you’re looking to have a little fun this spring break but don’t want to say goodbye to your hottie once the week comes to an end, you’re in the right place. If you play your cards right, you could turn your spring break fling into a relationship in no time. We talked to Dr. Ish Major, board-certified psychiatrist and author of Little White Whys to give you a step-by-step guide on how to turn a spring break hook-up into a relationship, if you’re really falling for your fling. Get ready for an awesome break—and potential new partner!

    Step 1: Make your intentions clear

    If you go into spring break knowing you want a relationship out of it, be sure your hook-up is on the same page. Try saying something like, “I can’t wait to hang out when we get back!” or, “It’s awesome that we live so close at home.” If he knows you aren’t just looking for a hook-up, he can either let you know it isn’t going to work or keep his sights set on you. Letting him know how you feel up front will prevent heartbreak or potential awkwardness later on.

    “I think the first [and] most important step is to be honest with each other about whether [a relationship] is something you both want to pursue,” Dr. Major says. “While you’re in the moment, it might be hard to figure that out, but shortly after, once some of the party dust has settled just a bit, that can be a conversation that you both have. The key part is that you both agree to pursue it.”

    Dr. Major also mentions that your fling may not be looking for the same thing as you: “Keep in mind, it is spring break, and he may not be interested in anything beyond hooking up today or tonight or for the rest of the trip, so an idea like that may turn him off. But this is about you feeling good about what’s happening, so if a relationship is what you’re looking for then claim that, stand in that dream and don’t back down from it.”

    Step 2: Get to know each other

    The atmosphere of spring break (read: so many shirtless men and margaritas) can make it hard to focus on reality. If you’re serious about turning your fling into a relationship, it’s crucial to be sure you really know the person. Your crush may seem like your perfect match amidst all the drinks and fun, but outside of spring break, he or she could be totally different. “Getting an idea of where he’s headed or wants to go in life will give you a really good sense of how well your lives will mesh together once your back home,” Dr. Major says. Try going out to dinner—just the two of you—to see how much you have in common. If you really know what you’re getting into and still feel the same way about him or her, you can take the next step in becoming a real thing.

    “People are often a lot ‘different’ when they’re on vacation than when they’re at home in their normal routine,” Dr. Major adds. “So the person you met on spring break may not be the person he is when he’s in his natural environment. That’s where the ‘getting to know each other’ on a deeper level beyond the break comes into play. The sooner you can ask some deeper questions and have more meaningful conversations, the sooner you’ll be able to figure that out.”

    If the person you’re with is the guy who hasn’t worn a shirt all weekend, always has a Natty Light in hand and is constantly flirting with other people, it should be pretty clear that he or she isn’t S.O. material. Find someone who you have a lot in common with and like for their personality, not their abs.

    Step 3: Have “the talk”

    If the end of spring break is rolling around and you’re still crazy about your crush, you two should have a serious talk about what’s next. If you’re both on the same page about wanting to continue the relationship, decide when you’ll see each other next. If you go to school close to one another (or even at the same school), it shouldn’t be hard to schedule a date or time to hang out. If you don’t go to school near one another, you have to be sure you’re ready for the commitment of a long-distance relationship.

    So, how do you approach the conversation? Dr. Major suggests: “You can say something like, ‘Wow, I’m having such a really great time with you. I really don’t want this feeling to end. I know it might be hard, but I wish there was a way to keep this going,’ then wait for a response. That way, you’ve made it okay and not awkward to talk about the elephant in the room. You may or may not get the response you were looking for, but at least you can feel good about being brave enough to go for it!”

    He also says, “It’s a spring break fling, so chances are you’re probably not from the same place, which means anything long-term may have to be long-distance for a while. If that’s the case, then you both have to be willing to put in that effort.”

    Be sure to have this talk before spring break ends so you aren’t left with any confusion or misunderstandings. Having closure will leave you feeling confident about returning to normal life without worrying about where you and your spring break fling stand.

    Step 4: Stay connected

    Communication is key in any relationship, and it will be the deciding factor in whether or not your spring break fling will last. Continue talking to your guy after break and make sure you both still feel the same way once normal life has resumed. If you keep in touch and can see one another, your relationship is off to a good start. If there’s a lack of communication and you aren’t on the same page, things may begin to go downhill.

    Try Dr. Major’s tips for staying connected beyond the break:

    • Keep in frequent contact via text/Skype/calls.
    • Set a definite date to see each other again soon.
    • Talk about the fun you had over break and see if there were some things that they saw/heard/did that you didn’t. Share different perspectives of that shared experience.
    • Talk about the people you know and the places you’ve gone. Chances are you may have some people/places and things in common that you didn’t expect!
    • Give each other a glimpse into your ‘real worlds’ and your real-world selves. Spring break is a different setting; now it’s time to get to know each other in your natural settings in the midst of your day-to-day routines and see if the chemistry is still there.

    If you aren’t ready to say goodbye to your fling once spring break comes to an end, follow our guide and you can hopefully turn it into a relationship. If your feelings are as strong as you think they are, you’ll be able work on transitioning from spring break to normal life. Be yourself and you’re bound to find the hottie of your dreams. Good luck, collegiettes!


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    Dating has always been hard. How could it not be with all of the “what-ifs” running through daters’ minds? What if we run out of things to talk about? What if he doesn’t text me back? And so on. Those questions, coupled with the nuances of online dating, where the act of swiping right or left is all it takes for getting someone’s number or missing out completely, makes dating seem nearly impossible. Ultimately, the real reason why you’re swiping becomes foggy.

    Ironically, it’s that lack of clarity that’s behind most dating faux pas— not realizing the boy you’ve been texting really only wants a casual fling until you’re too invested, or seeking out what you think is your ideal relationship when that couldn’t be farther from what you really want. According to human behavior and relationship expert Dr. Patrick Wanis, it’s that not-knowing that affects daters the most. “You can be easily influenced down the wrong path when you don’t know which is the right path for you,” says Dr. Wanis.  

    Think about it. We’ve all been there, in one context or another, where we’re left wondering what went wrong in a new relationship or even an old one. For some, the answer is to stop dating all together, or to avoid serious, long-term relationships in favor of those with less commitments. For others, the answer never comes and they’re left muddling over who did what and why. One result that’s almost universally common, is the act of vowing to protect your feelings so they aren’t hurt again.

    To help you avoid making those common dating mistakes, and figure out what it is you’re really looking for in a relationship, we talked to two relationship experts, Dr. Wanis and the founder of Sexy Confidence, Adam LoDolce, to figure out why you might be subconsciously lying to yourself about the type of relationship status you want and need and how you can avoid doing it in the future.

    For starters, it’s actually pretty common among men and women to hide or lie about your true feelings.

    Dr. Wanis has found that both men and women hide their true feelings regarding whether or not they want to be in a serious relationship. “I don’t believe it’s specifically gender-based,” says Dr. Wanis. He’s not alone in this thought either, LoDolce also notes that both men and women are equally likely to hide the reasons why they’re dating. “I think as time has gone by, men and women are a little bit less willing to open up, especially younger people where there’s less of a social contract,” says LoDolce. Sound familiar? On college campuses that relaxed, unspoken open contract regarding dating and relationships can be the reason for dating nightmares.

    This is especially true in an age where hookup culture is prevalent on almost every college campus, making hard to really put yourself out there. So, next time you embark on a new relationship, especially in college, take a minute and think about if this is really what you’re interested in. Digging a little bit deeper, and asking yourself what worked and what didn't in previous relationships may also point you in the right direction. If nothing else, you might realize subconscious feelings you’ve been harboring from previous relationships that are hurting you in current ones.

    There’s more than one reason for why you may be hiding your feelings.

    According to Dr. Wanis, those reasons vary depending on situation. For example, some women may enter into a relationship they don’t want to be in, but hide their true feelings because they are seeking approval from peers. Other women do so to avoid conflict or criticism, isolation or the feeling of being overtly different. One way this might present itself in modern dating is, after starting a new relationship, lying to your partner about the type of relationship you’re seeking. For example, lying to prevent scaring the other person away as a result of wanting a more serious relationship. “Remember, there is a difference between the conscious and subconscious mind,” says Dr. Wanis. “Consciously one might say, I don’t want to be in this relationship because I like my freedom, when really what she means subconsciously is that she doesn’t want to be in this relationship because she fears rejection; she just isn’t consciously aware of that,” says Dr. Wanis. A lot of the time, people aren’t intentionally lying about what they want out of a relationship, so it’s important to take a step back and peel back those emotional layers to make sure you’re not subconsciously protecting yourself or hindering yourself from forming future relationships. Intentional or not, the outcome of a miscommunication in a break-up often has the same effects.

    The outcome of lying about what you’re really looking for in a relationship negatively affects you too, not just the other person.

    “I teach every one of my clients to be honest with yourself and to be truthful to yourself and then be honest and truthful with others,” says Dr. Wanis. This reminder, when you really break it down is reminiscent of the lesson that we all learned early on in life, but often overlooked: to treat others how we want to be treated. But, hurting feelings isn’t the only reason you should be honest with yourself. Aside from the emotional ramifications of accidentally, or intentionally stringing someone along in an effort to conceal what you’re really looking for in a relationship, Dr. Wanis also points out how detrimental lying about what you want can be to your personal health. “If you are hiding yourself from yourself, then you are robbing yourself from life’s enjoyment or the enjoyment of life,” says Dr. Wanis. Simply put, you aren’t just derailing someone else’s chance at happiness, you’re also affecting your own shot at happiness.

    How to avoid lying or misunderstanding what you want out of a relationship in the future:

    “A lot of people do a lot of assuming when it comes to relationships,” said LoDolce. “And the worst thing that can happen, is that all of these assumptions are made, and it’s two or three months of seeing each other, only to discover the other person never wanted a relationship in the first place,” says LoDolce. On college campuses, that plays out more often then not. It’s hard to turn to a guy you met out a few weeks ago ask him where he sees this going. For starters, you don’t want to be turned down or open the door to something more serious than what you were looking for. To avoid these miscommunications, here are three questions Dr. Wanis encourages you to ask yourself, and then ask your partner.

    1. Ask yourself what you want.
    2. Figure out what your values are.
    3. Define your motivators.

    “The point is to get clear about what you really want in life,” says Dr. Wanis. One example according to Dr. Wanis is, “If your current top value is freedom and independence, then you’re not going to get into a serious relationship,”  meaning that you’re able to date, as long as you let your partner know that you want that independence and ability to hangout with your friends, so he or she is clear that he’s not your top priority.

    Dating is hard, but not being honest with yourself about your expectations and wants only makes it harder.

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    Whether you’ve been together for years or only a few months, breakups are never easy. And in some situations, they’re not always for the better. While some temporary sadness is expected after a breakup, ending things with your SO shouldn’t leave you with long-term regret. If you find yourself stuck in one of the following scenarios, your relationship may be one worth reconsidering:

    1. You’re still trying to make them jealous

    Regardless of how your breakup went down, it’s normal to feel at least a little jealous the first time you see your ex with someone new. However, if it’s been six months and you’re still going out of your way to hook up with others in front of them, then you may just be trying to distract yourself from what you’re really feeling.

    “My current boyfriend and I had a really bad breakup a few months back,” says Anna*, a junior at Emerson College. “We clearly weren’t over one another, though, because we kept texting after it ended. We both tried to make the other jealous by talking about other people we had hooked up with.”

    According to Dr. Carole Lieberman, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist and relationship expert, trying to make your ex jealous can be a way of masking the feelings that you still have for them. "It could mean that you do still have feelings for [your ex], though perhaps you don’t want to admit it," she says.

    While going out of your way to make your ex jealous may seem cathartic in the heat of the moment, it could cause further strain in your relationship (even if you remain broken up) down the road. If you’re looking to get their attention while still taking the high road, consider getting together for lunch or coffee to talk things through. Even if you don’t end up getting back together, getting closure can making moving on from a relationship a lot easier.

    Related: 6 Reasons Why Guys Pull Away In Their Relationship

    2. You can’t stop comparing your new dates and hook-ups to them

    If you’re fresh out of a long-term relationship, it can be hard to adapt to life without your SO. However, if you’re comparing every new date and hook-up to those you had with your ex, that could be a major red flag that you’re not ready to move on just yet.

    “If you are thinking that you made a mistake in breaking up with your ex, you need to decide whether it was really a mistake or whether you’re remembering them with rose-colored glasses because the other guys you’re dating aren’t as great as you thought they would be,” says Dr. Lieberman.

    Consider the reasons why you and your SO broke up in the first place. Was it over a lack of communication, a fight that seems minor now or anotherproblemthat could be easily worked through? If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, then it may be worth reconsidering the breakup.

    3. You remember even the bad parts of the relationship fondly

    It goes without saying that there are certain partners who should never be given a second chance—anyone who has cheated on you, abused you sexually or emotionally or caused serious harm to your health and life. However, if you and your SO broke up solely because you fought a lot (and these fights seem stupid in retrospect), then that could be a sign that you’re ready to try things with them again.

    “Eventually [my boyfriend and I] had a long talk and realized that while there were definitely things we both needed to work on, we missed one another enough to give our relationship another chance,” says Anna.

    Iris Goldsztajn, a senior at the University of California Los Angeles, also decided to give her relationship a second chance. "When [my ex and I] talked [our breakup] over, we decided to try to date again. We had some amazing times, but eventually I started to feel weird about us again—the same way I'd felt the first time, and we broke up again. I'm still very attracted to him and seeing him still stings, but I know we weren't good together. In other words, I shouldn't have regretted breaking up with him, because it was better for both of us in the end."

    Sometimes, all it takes is a break from your SO for you to realize how important they are to you. If they’re equally as willing to work through any problems the two of you may be having, then your relationship probably deserves another shot. After all, a little communication can go a long way in repairing ANY relationship for the long term. Even if things don't end up working out the second time around, you'll never be stuck wondering "what if."

    4. You bring them up in every conversation 

    After a rough break-up, it's totally expected that you'll need some time to reflect on what went down between you and your ex. After spending so much time with someone, it can be hard to go through your daily routine without thinking about them one way or another. However, if you can't get through class, a phone call with your mom, or a girl's night out without bringing your ex into every aspect of the conversation, that's a red flag that you definitely haven't moved on yet.

    "I broke up with a guy because I didn't see it going anywhere, but we had a really strong attraction and (I think) strong feelings that just didn't go away," says Iris. "Every time I saw him after that I would whine to my friends about how much I missed him."

    Regardless of whether you're bringing your ex up in a positive or negative way, bringing them into every conversation shows that you're uncertain about the decision to break-up. "If you’re always bringing up your ex in conversations, it means you are having trouble moving on," says Dr. Lieberman. "If you bring them up in a fond way, it means that you want others to believe that you once had a great partner, and therefore, will have another one soon. If you bring them up in a negative way, however, it means that you want others to help convince you that you did the right thing in breaking up with them."

    If you're struggling to get your ex off your mind, it may be a sign that your relationship is worth considering. If you do decide to give things another try with them, though, make sure it's for the right reasons.

    While going through a rough patch in a relationship, it can be hard to figure out exactly how you feel. However, if your feelings for your ex are lingering and there’s no good reason why the two of you shouldn’t try things again, then maybe a break was all the two of you needed to make you realize how much you care. Keep an open mind, and make communication your number one priority whether or not you decide to try things again.

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    If it’s been a few months are you’re still listening to Adele’s “Hello” and crying into your food, you’re probably still in love with your ex.

    In all seriousness, we sympathize with you and love you, and you are not alone in whatever pain you may be experiencing. It causes incredible heartache to still care so much about someone and feel bound to them, while simultaneously being urged by everyone around you to move on.

    The thing that it’s time to realize is that you do need to move on–by doing whatever that means for you. Some women need to confront their ex and find closure, while others simply need more time. Of course, moving on is easier said than done, but HC is here to help you along.

    1. Find community to rebuild the love you had

    If you’re looking for someone to heal your wounds, finding a few new friends to surround yourself with might be a huge help. They won’t necessarily replace the love in your heart for that person, but they will provide a reciprocating relationship of mutual friendly affection, and help to wean you off of your ex.

    It’s okay to feel lost after your relationship, but a huge step to moving on from your ex is to rediscover your own identity. College is such a beautiful time of change and personal growth, and any leftover feelings for your ex are going to slow down your transformation into the person you’re meant to become.

    “It had been nearly a year since my breakup, and even then I found myself in my room way too often, usually crying and binge-stalking him on Instagram,” says sophomore Hana Petschl, a student and peer counselor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. “I was really lucky that my roommates I got assigned to tried to bring me out of my painful little cocoon. They made me hang out with them all the time and encouraged me to get involved in a bunch of stuff on campus. Now I’m in a sorority and a peer counselor, and I help people all the time that had my same situation of not being able to get over their ex.”

    It is entirely possible to find people that fulfill you in a way that your ex never could. Having besties to watch movies with, fellow Star Wars lovers to share your geek passions and a new community to love you in the way you truly need can completely distract you from your last relationship. It’s time to move on and blossom with a loving community right behind you every step of the way.

    Related: 4 Reasons Your Breakup May Have Been a Mistake

    2. Give it time

    It’s common wisdom that it takes half the time that the relationship lasted to move on from it emotionally. This equation for recovery is pretty much a load of hooey. Everyone has different speeds of healing, and unfortunately yours might take a bit longer than most if you’re still in love with your ex.

    This is one of the most painful and irritating processes of healing and moving on—because let’s be honest, human beings just hate being patient. We want everything RIGHT NOW, but the heart doesn’t work like that. The longer you distance yourself from your ex and actively work to move on (this means you can’t cave to sending late night text messages that say “I miss you”), the more those feelings of longing for your ex will fade to a dull ache.

    3. Either confront them and work it out, or completely remove them from your life

    There is no in-between. It may be time for you to end it—for real this time. If you’re still in love with your ex, you may be in a place where you seem to be in an on-again/off-again relationship with him since you guys can’t seem to let go.

    “Just take my word for it, and dump his a**,” advises Sarah Arroyo, a senior at Boston University. “You’d be surprised how many girls do this, and I’ve seen it way too often with my best friends. They’ll go through a breakup but won’t actually let their ex go for MONTHS! It’s emotionally exhausting for them, and after dangling each other out on a limb for so long, they can’t even be friends because it’s gotten too messy. Just decide to be together, or don’t be together at all!”

    Confront them about your feelings, and really communicate about where the two of you are at. It’s best for him to know that you still have feelings, and he may have advice on how to heal, or he may even be feeling the same way. Every situation is unique and there’s no way we can tell you what decision to make, but sometimes it’s just better for things to end. Your life existed before him, and it can certainly exist without him.

    4. Consider that you’re not as in love with them as you thought

    Love is such a complex emotion, and it’s never straightforward. Experts recommend some serious introspection to determine if you’re actually still in love with your ex at all, or if it’s just some leftover emotions that are making you confused.

    “Oftentimes I’ll have my patients practice mindfulness exercises when they feel an anxiety attack, or painful memories coming on,” says Kimberli Andridge, a licensed psychologist for gender and sexual inclusivity. “These can be really helpful for calming yourself down and getting to the root of where these feelings are coming from. After practicing the exercises and acknowledgement of the feelings, patients tend to realize that their attachment is not because they are still longing for their previous partner, but rather they’re dealing with some alternative issue or are facing another type of unhappiness in their life that keeps them holding on to something psychologically.”

    College can be such a whirlwind of craziness, and transitioning your life through a break up is the last thing a collegiette needs. To finally move on, you may need to sort out what you’ve been feeling and see that you’re not in love with them anymore. The way you feel could stem from a place of jealousy, resentment or even a lingering desire to receive their affirmation. The next time you’re stalking him on Facebook and helplessly trying to devise a plan to win him back, just take a moment to breathe and let go.

    "After rough breakups, people are kind of all over the place, and for a long time I thought I was still in love with my ex," says Amber Charter, a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is studying to become a relationship psychologist. "I wish that I’d been smart enough to realize I really wasn’t. I just wanted his relationship with his new girlfriend to fail, and I hadn’t found another person to like, which is why I stayed so attached to him." No matter the way in which you choose to heal from still being in love with your ex, above all else remember to work on loving yourself. Realize that you did the best you could, and that actively choosing to move on each day will empty you of yucky, lingering emotional baggage.

    Related: An Open Letter to the Guy Who Helped Me Realize I Deserve Better

    5. Try to have a relationship with them again

    From a personal standpoint, exes are exes for a reason—but for some women, a time of separation leads them to want to have a relationship again, and that’s okay. Maybe your heart is trying to tell you something by not letting you move on.

    “After about three months of being separated, my ex and I got back together,” says Lisa Oakley, a junior at Northeastern University. “Pretty much all of my friends and family were against it, and it was hard. I don’t think a lot of people make that choice, and the whole time I was skeptical of my decision, but I couldn’t let him go. We’ve been together for another year-and-a-half since that happened, though, and in the time we spent apart we both really grew up a lot, and now we are at an even better place than before. So, I don’t regret my decision at all.”

    When you share your life with someone, that love you once had never truly goes away. Sit down and seriously think about your feelings. Make a list in your head of every screw-up, fight, unanswered text and smelly fart that he dealt your way, and if you still want to get back with him after going through all of the cons, then you should go for it. We wouldn’t recommend this if your ex is a total scumbag and did really awful things to you, because there are obviously certain deal breakers like if he was unfaithful or abusive in any way. If he’s a decent guy that deserves a second chance and is also willing to give you one and forgive your mistakes, then why not?

    Navigating the path of still being in love with your ex is messy and hard, but above all else, consider your own feelings and heart. You are strong, beautiful and totally in control of your life, so choose to surround yourself with people who will love you the way you deserve. Have patience with yourself while you heal and move on, and the rest will come with time.

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    It can be so hard to say those three little words: I love you. These three tiny words have such enormous weight attached to them. And because of the significance of these words, expressing initial feelings of love to your boyfriend or girlfriend can be a daunting task. You may try to drop hints without saying those three little words, but eventually you just need to come out and say it. You know you have these feelings, but when should you share them?

    I remember in middle school reading an article in a popular teen magazine that said you shouldn’t tell someone you love him or her until you had been together for at least six months. For some reason, this arbitrary number has stuck with me, even as I enter young adulthood. But, is there actually a magic time to express your love and adoration to your partner? Relationship experts across the board say no, there is no set amount of time, but rather the perfect time varies from relationship to relationship. While this may seem like unhelpful advice, there are some things you can keep in mind when deciding if you’re ready to say, ‘I love you.’

    Related: 6 Pros & Cons of Being Someone’s First Love

    The science of falling in love

    You may understand what is going on in your heart, but it is also important to understand what is going on in your body and mind when you are in love. According to Sarah Merrill, a doctoral candidate and sex and relationship researcher at Cornell University, there are two stages to falling in love: infatuation and attachment. Merrill says that when people typically refer to the feelings of having a crush or “falling in love,” they are speaking about the infatuation phase.

    “[Infatuation is] characterized by intense desire and motivation to be around and think about this person. Mental preoccupation, obsession to the point where it annoys all of your friends—sometimes it is easier for other people in your life to see it,” Merrill says.  

    After the infatuation period, which can last anywhere from six months to two years, comes the attachment period.

    “Attachment is all about understanding and having someone fulfill your expectations, but those expectations are in a parameter of ‘you make me feel safe,’” Merrill says.

    Merrill also notes that attachment has four defining characteristics: separation distress (you and your partner are upset when you are apart), proximity maintenance (you and your partner want to be close to each other), safe haven (your partner makes you feel better), and secure base (your partner has your back).

    According to Merrill, there are some big break-up points at around two years and four years into a relationship, but if you make it past those points your relationship can be viewed as fairly strong. So, does that mean you should wait four years to tell your partner you love them? Worry not, you can share the news much sooner!

    Knowing when the time is right

    Lesli Doares, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Balanced Family, says that there is no way to put a number on how long to wait to say, ‘I love you.’ Rather Doares says you need to consider what sort of feelings you are having towards your partner.

    “You need to wait to see if you are in love with the real person, and not an idealized version of your partner. And knowing this depends on how aware you are of your own needs. You should evaluate whether or not your partner checks off more than just a set list of characteristics,” Doares says.

    If you are considering saying ‘I love you,’ reflecting on your relationship can provide deeper insight into your relationship. So, if your partner only excites you because they meet your arbitrary requirements (i.e. a certain height, has a car, can braid hair and has Zac Efron-esque looks), you may be more in love with the idea of your partner, rather than the person your partner is.

    If you have evaluated your relationship and feel confident that you are in love with your partner, there are some cues, both physical and otherwise, you can pick up that offer hints that it is the perfect time for you to share your feelings with your partner.

    According to Doares, eye contact and easy physical contact are two big signs.

    “Is there eye contact when you are having conversations? Are there examples of your partner stopping what they are doing to pay attention to you? Do you touch each other as a way of connection?” Doares says. “Also, focus on whether you are being invited into that person’s life—do they invite you to spend time with their friends and family?”

    If you and your SO are constantly alternating between spending time with your parents and their friends, that is a major sign that your lives are meshing together. And the more involved you become in each other’s lives, the easier it may be to say ‘I love you.’

    But, is there ever a time you shouldn’t say ‘I love you?’

    First, you need to check in with yourself. If you are only communicating these feelings to your SO to get them to say it back, you all might not be ready to say ‘I love you.’

    Remember, if something feels off, don’t rush into anything. Doares emphasizes that if you feel as though you have to say it back to your partner, or if you fear for your safety, reciprocation of feelings is not necessary.

    “You really should not say it [‘I love you’] if it is a manipulation. Being coerced is never love,” Doares says.

    But all in all, Doares believes that if you and your partner are committed (and have experienced some of the aforementioned cues), there is no bad time.

    Alex Galli, a grad student at York University, thinks that sometimes you just have to take the plunge.

    “I ended up being the one to say it because I didn’t want to hold it in any longer and I knew he felt the same. If you’re both on the same page, odds are [your SO] feels the exact same way. And what’s a relationship without taking a little risk?”

    What happens next?

    So, now that you are pretty sure you are in love and have worked up the courage to say those three little words, what happens next?

    Well, hopefully your partner returns your feelings! If they do, that’s great. The two of you can enjoy the blissful feeling of being in love and all of the perks that come with it. But, what happens if your partner doesn’t return your feelings?

    Beverly Hills matchmaker Marla Martenson says that even if your partner doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, not all hope is lost

    “If you haven’t been together that long and your partner doesn’t return the sentiment, it could just be that they are trying to get to know you better,” says Martenson.

    Even though it may be awkward in the face of rejection, you and your SO may be able to work past this. Continue to spend time together and see if your feelings wax or wane. Sometimes, the strongest love needs a while to develop.

    What if the situation is flipped and your partner expresses feelings of love before you are ready? What should you do then?

    Carole Lieberman, M.D., Beverly Hills psychiatrist and author, says that it is best to practice kindness.

    “If you don’t return your partner’s feelings, it is best to be compassionate and honest,” says Lieberman. “You can say something like, ‘Oh, I hadn’t realized that you felt this way. I thought that we were just good friends.’ If you want to give the relationship a chance, now that you know how he feels, you can say, ‘Perhaps we can continue to spend time with each other and see where it takes us.”

    Liz Jacobson, a junior at UW-Stout, also emphasizes that it is important to be honest.

    “If you aren’t ready to say it yet, do not say it,” says Liz. “Be honest with yourself AND to your partner because it’s not fair or healthy to lie. Open communication is essential to a healthy relationship.”

    Related: 10 Common Long-Term Relationship Mistakes & How to Fix Them

    As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, you are the only person who can know if it’s the right time to say ‘I love you.’ You spend the most time with your partner and are the expert when it comes to your relationship.

    Anne*, a senior at American University, know this to be true.

    “My advice is to wait to say it until you truly feel like it’s the right time, whatever that means to you. My boyfriend said ‘I love you’ to me for the first time before I felt ready, and even though it was a little awkward, I didn’t say it back right away. When I eventually did say it back, I think it was even more special because I knew that I really meant it and wasn’t just saying it because I felt like I had to,” says Anne.

    And while it may seem silly, sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

    *Name has been changed

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    After a breakup with your SO, it can be difficult to get back out there in the dating world. You may want to start dating again or at least begin searching for someone to hang out with, but the real problem is that we don’t always know where these potential candidates could be on campus. If you are struggling to find someone on your campus, here are some suggestions for where to look.

    1. Parties or bars

    This is the most typical place to meet guys. Attend a party with your friends, whether it’s at a fraternity or the apartment of the girl who sits next to you in your 8 a.m. math class. Hannah, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, suggests going to mixers if you’re in a sorority.

    “Or you can always go to bars,” she says. “Make a lot of friends. Who knows, maybe they’ll introduce you to someone or you’ll end up being into someone you didn’t think you would be.”

    2. Sports games

    The idea of going to a game may not be the first thing you think of, but there are always other students there as well. Not only can you cheer on your school’s team, but you may end up sitting next to a guy you’ve never seen on campus before.

    “I’ve heard from some of my friends that great places to meet people on campus are at intramural sports events,” says Liz, a junior at UW-Stout. Check the sports schedule and go to an event, whether it’s soccer, volleyball, lacrosse or even gymnastics.

    Related: 10 Ways To Meet Guys That Don't Involve Bars or Parties

    3. Dorm common areas

    Your dorm most likely has a common room or lounge for everyone in the building, and there are plenty of spots on campus specifically meant for hanging out with others. LMU senior Sierra believes it’s a great way to meet guys.

    “I’ve met several guys playing pool in my dorm lounge. It’s really a mystery where they all hide out!” she says. Take a trip to one of the lounges on campus under the guise of doing homework, or meet a friend there if you were planning on getting together anyways. A spot where lots of students frequent is somewhere you may want to be if you are actively looking to meet someone.

    4. Campus activities

    Maybe it’s bingo, a concert or trivia about your favorite TV show. There are always events going on around campus to attend and have fun. When you’re there, maybe you’ll win a prize and a date with that cutie who almost beat you in the game.

    “Really, go to those lame [campus] events. There are tons of guys there,” says Sierra.

    Even if you don’t meet a potential SO, it’s still good to go to campus events as much as possible to get the most out of your experience. You could just meet a new friend. “It never hurts to have friends [at college],” says Hannah.

    5. The library

    If you spend a lot of hours studying in the library, then you may notice some familiar faces around. Finding someone who also frequents the library to get work done could be the start to a new relationship.

    “Even if you’re searching for your books at the library, that [certain] someone could come into your life completely unannounced and knock you off your socks,” says Liz. You don’t need to dress up every time you study, but consider saying hi to the cute guy at the table over.   

    6. Clubs and organizations

    When you join a club on campus, you’ll meet other students who share the same interests. Alex*, a senior at The College of William and Mary, met two guys from student organizations.

    “It’s really great because we already know that we have at least one common interest, but still have the ability to learn more about each other. It’s also nice because we have a lot of built-in hang out time when we attend events together,” she says.

    After visiting all of these places on campus, you may still be without a potential SO because you just couldn’t find anyone. But don’t give up! Hannah believes if you’re constantly “trying to meet guys,” you’ll miss out on a lot of other things going on.

    “There’s nowhere out there where potential SO’s are hiding, and if you view every guy as a potential SO, you’re just going to drive yourself crazy,” she says.

    Liz agrees, but says you should remember that you have just gotten out of a relationship. “It’s important to first take care of yourself and make sure that you are actually ready for a new relationship before trying to find ‘The One,’” Liz says. “I think as soon as you are truly ready for a new partner, it’ll all happen in the blink of an eye.”

    As you check out these spots on campus, keep an eye out. You could be hanging out in the common room for hours, but maybe you’ll bump into someone in the dining hall or try and check out the same book as a cute guy you haven’t noticed before in the library.

    A college campus is big enough that no matter where you look, you are bound to find someone. So once you’re ready to get back out there after ending a relationship, know that you don’t necessarily have to be at a certain place to meet your potential SO.

    *Name has been changed.

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    Now that graduation season is finally approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your future. Like what job opportunities there are, where you are going to live next year, and making time for all of those awkward (yet necessary) conversations about leaving.

    For those of you with an SO, you’ve probably been dreading this talk for a while. If you have found yourself asking questions like, “What do I even say first?” or “What should I even be asking?” or “How do I know what to do?” then this is the perfect article for you to read. Here are the six conversations you need to have with your SO before graduating.

    1. How serious is this relationship?

    Realistically, you’re about to embark on the beginning of your adult life. This is the first question you should be asking yourself and your SO about the relationship. Did you just start dating? If so, how important is your SO to you? Could you imagine going a few days without telling him or her about your day? Or asking for advice about your job or friends? If the answer is yes, then it might be best to go your separate ways.

    2. What are your plans after graduation?

    You’ve most likely talked about the future with you SO before now, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a reminder to get on that. Morgan Wilkinson, a junior at the University of South Carolina, says, “It sounds obvious, but be really transparent. Tell him where you want to live and where you’re thinking about working. And, make sure you know the same about him. Nothing is worse than realizing too late that you want totally opposite things.” Talking about things beforehand will make everything go much more smoothly!

    3. Can we make a long-distance relationship work?

    Chances are that if you or your SO has secured a job after graduation, you might be in different cities. If you met in college, and you’ve never been apart for longer than a month or two, then living far apart might be difficult to manage. A lot changes when couples move far apart from each other, like the sex life. Dating and confidence expert Adam LoDolce from says, “Intimacy is a huge part of relationships and in long distance relationships, that's suddenly gone. So, keep the sexual tension in the relationship as much as possible.” Just because the relationship might be different and require different communication styles, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try to make it work!

    Related: 10 Common Long-Term Relationship Mistakes & How to Fix Them

    4. Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?

    We get it; this sounds like a question you might be asked at a job interview. But, the answer to this question will tell you a lot about your SO and probably help you realize a thing or two about yourself. LoDolce suggests asking questions like, How do you envision your life five or 10 years from now? LoDolce says, “It'll give you an idea about whether or not that person's vision corresponds with your own.” You want to be with someone you see a future with.

    5. How are we going to handle the tough stuff?

    Finding out your partner’s coping methods during tough times can tell you a lot about who they are as a person. When it comes to big moves or changes, couples’ communication efforts can take a big hit. According to LoDolce, these are the most common mistakes to avoid when it comes to communicating with your SO.

    The first mistake, is not communicating what's on your mind. If you’re SO doesn’t know what’s up, how can they address the problem? The second most common mistake is not including the other person in decisions. Everyone wants to feel included and thought of, so next time you plan a weekend with your girls, make sure you let your SO know what your plans are. Lastly, LoDolce has noticed that a lot of people “fade out” once a new job or move comes along. Don’t make that common mistake, it could cost you your relationship!

    6. What do you need to be the best “you” you can be?

    The most important conversation you should have is with yourself. Be honest and realistic. Are you too dependent on this relationship to try new experiences or meet new people? Can you see yourself living your best life with this person? Or do you need space to learn more about yourself?

    Graduating is really exciting. Don’t let stress over figuring out what the next steps should be for your relationship take that away. Asking these six questions will take you in the direction you need to go.

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    I think we can generally agree that oral sex is one of the best things you can do with your partner, but it's also a total struggle. When you're hyper focused on pleasing yourself and your SO while simultaneously trying to be not awkward for once in your life, oral sex can become a juggling act that’s so hectic and overthought that it sucks (lol) all the pleasure away.

    Whether it’s penis or vagina, we have some oral sex tips up our sleeves that will *blow* you away. We’ll help you get educated on everything about giving and getting head, and talk you through the awkward parts. Let’s just say that after we’re done, you’re going to be next level.



    1. Protection

    Robyn Berry, a staff member at Planned Parenthood in San Luis Obispo, has the full scoop on keeping your mouth and their genitals nice and protected. “First make sure both you and your partner have no sexually transmitted infections, and get tested regularly every few months,” she says. “Oral sex is relatively low risk if there’s some sort of barrier involved, but the best things to use are condoms or Sheer Glyde dental dams.”

    To use protection, have your partner wear a condom or place the dental dam over their penis. You can go along pleasuring each other like usual, but the barrier will prevent harmful bodily fluids from being transferred between you two. If you’re not a fan of the latex taste, try a flavored condom! We recommend browsing for your favorite flavor, because their lubricant is water-based and won’t give you a yeast infection if you use it for vaginal sex later.

    It may seem lame AF to use protection for oral sex, but also, why wouldn’t you? When all the stress of risk is alleviated, you can relax and feel sexy instead of being worried that something bad will happen. Plus, using a condom or dental dam doesn’t take away any of the feelings of pleasure.  

    2. How to give a blowjob

    The key to giving an out of this world blowjob is knowing all the hot spots that make your partner tick. You should definitely ask your partner first what they prefer, but we also have a few pointers for you too.

    First off, remember that even though it’s called a blowjob, you still want to be using your hands in tandem with your mouth. Using your hands to cover the parts of your partner’s shaft that your mouth can’t reach is going to make them feel full and out of their mind with pleasure, almost as if you’re deep-throating them. Another part you don’t want to ignore is their testicles. Playing with their balls while you’re sucking and putting some pressure on their perineum (the space between the testicles and butt) will have bae coming faster than you imagine.

    Also, please remember that you have teeth, and unless your partner asks you to, you can just put those babies away. That should be blowjob tip number one.

    Ariana*, a senior at Pennsylvania State University, shares her boyfriend’s hot spot. “The thing that makes my boyfriend really crazy is when I stick my tongue in his meatus-hold which is the tiny hole in the tip of the penis,” she says. “Works every time!”

    She also has an incredible fake deep-throating tip to share. “I stick my tongue to the roof of my mouth and just go down until he hits the back of the underside of my tongue,” she says. "He says it feel like I’m deep throating him, and I never gag, so it works for both of us! The only thing is being careful not to get toothy with your bottom teeth or this could easily backfire.”

    Before touching your partner anywhere new for the first time, make sure to ask their consent. Experimenting and trying new things during oral sex is something you should do regularly to keep your sex life fresh, but always double check what your partner is and isn’t comfortable with.


    1. Protection

    For cunnilingus, you’ll need to place a dental dam over your partner’s vuvla to act as a barrier between any harmful bodily fluids and your mouth. For extra fun, use a water or silicon based lube which will not only keep the dam from breaking, but you’ll get a yummy flavor. Again, we recommend because their lube does not contain harmful sugars that may cause a yeast infection.

    If you want to learn more about STDs and how to have safe sex aside beyond oral, this video by Planned Parenthood is extra helpful.

    2. How to go down

    Umm, hello clitoris? Your partner will tell you what feels good, but when eating out there’s a few main tips you should follow. Most of what you should be doing is licking and sucking their labia and clitoris, even penetrating with your tongue if that feels good for your partner. Spend some extra time targeting their clitoris and playing with their nipples. Don’t forget to use your hands in this instance too, because getting fingered in tandem with mouth action is the best feeling ever.

    Emma*, a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, definitely knows how to please! “My girlfriend’s favorite thing is teasing,” she says. “For us, oral sex is usually just foreplay but it’s honestly the best part of the sex. If you gently run your fingers up and down her labia but don’t really go for it right away, then all of a sudden just go crazy with your tongue on her clit, you’ll win. You’ll just win.”

    Alright ladies, off to the races!

    Come to terms with the less pleasant

    Maybe oral sex isn’t always sexy from your end. Bodily fluids are weird, there are down-there smells you’ve never encountered before and it’s easy to get caught up in the fact that you’re putting your mouth all over the thing your partner pees out of.

    Even though oral sex may on the surface seem gross or dirty, this intimate time with your partner should never be an act of martyrdom on your part. Treating it like a job or an unappealing activity you must do as part of your relationship is only going to make it worse. Remember that a body is a body, and it isn’t going to be smell like a Yankee candle or taste like vanilla ice cream. Appreciate your partner for their humanness, and getting lost in their pleasure and yours will keep your mind from getting hung up on anything yucky.

    If you’re continually grossed out and want to avoid the situation at all costs, that’s a strong indicator you aren’t comfortable having oral sex. If that sounds like you,Scarleteen can help you explore your readiness. While you may be trying to pleasure your partner, we also want our collegiettes feeling good emotionally, because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your own comfortability to make your partner happy.

    Related:6 Things Everyone Is Insecure About When It Comes to Sex



    You know what’s not fun at all? When two people try to have oral sex but neither has voiced their opinion about what they want and everyone is fumbling around feeling hella awkward and nervous. Don’t be that person. If the thought of your partner sticking their tongue inside you repulses you, then say it. Put on your big girl panties and have a talk with them about what gets you wet and how to make you cum. Talk about any boundaries you have, and make sure to listen to your partner too. Communication is key for receiving oral sex.

    “Make sure you feel safe and comfortable with the person,” says Ashley Drayton, a Georgia State University alumna. “Having that comfort will make you feel less awkward and nervous. You should also tell each other what you like and don’t like, but ultimately if both parties are comfortable and passionate about pleasing each other, then it will be amazing.”

    Let’s be honest, talking about sex can be a lot harder than actually having sex. It’s nerve-wracking to open up about your desires and make yourself vulnerable. However, communication is a hundred percent necessary, both for you to give consent about where your partner can touch you, and also because deep down we both know you want a good orgasm out of this. Keep in mind that when you do talk about it, you shouldn’t be criticizing your partner’s performance. It should be a mutual conversation, and if your partner isn’t okay taking any guidance, then leave them in the dust.

    The last aspect of communication we want to touch on is that it’s okay for you to ask for oral sex! If you're dying for your partner to spend some time eating you out, just tell them and we guarantee they’ll be so turned on by how confident and ready you are.

    Related:How To Tell If You’re Having Good Sex


    We cannot stress this enough. Your vagina does not smell weird. You are a sexual goddess. You are Beyoncé. You do not have to feel insecure with your body or overthink whether or not your partner is actually enjoying eating you out.

    However good a time you might have performing oral sex on your partner, it’s different when the tables are turned. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying if your partner is totally grossed out by you, and being so insecure and self-conscious is distracting you from the waves of pleasure your partner is giving you. The key to receiving oral sex is finding beauty in who you are, loving your woman self and realizing that your partner wouldn’t be giving you head if they weren’t totally in to you.

    Danielle*, a junior at Kent State University, shares her experience with overthinking during oral sex. “I’m super shy naturally, so during oral sex my performance anxiety is off the charts,” she says. “I’m always worried about being awkward or not coming, but throughout college I’ve learned that it’s actually a really amazing experience if you can quiet thoughts about your body being gross or having insecure feelings.”

    To truly relax and enjoy oral sex without letting negative thoughts creep in, spend some time getting to know your genitalia so you can trust in your body. Clean it by bathing regularly, and definitely don’t douche because it throws off your pH balance. Masturbate and get to know and love your vagina, because that’s pretty much what your partner is experiencing. Getting used to yourself down there and knowing exactly how you are should eliminate some insecurity that your vulva is some kind of gross monster.

    Next, find some acceptance. Oral sex isn’t going to be perfect, clean and end in an orgasm every time, and there shouldn’t be that expectation. It’s okay if your partner eating you out doesn’t make you come, and it’s okay if you’re quiet or loud or shy or riding their face. Oral sex is, at its core, a time dedicated to pleasure and to grow in intimacy and connection with your partner.

    Cherish it for its imperfections and awkwardness, and you’ll be enjoying yourself more in no time.

    *Name has been changed