Crossing the border from a casual college hookup into the murky waters of postgrad dating is like a game of red rover. People get hurt and you always see it coming, but you run toward it anyway, dragging your unwilling other half behind you.
It begins all too innocently. Maybe it was a late night booty call or a formal date turned regular hookup. The two of you were casually getting wild together as the sun set on your time in undergrad. There isn’t a care in the world and you have no thoughts of a future together. You don’t have a clue about your hookup’s life, family, or interests outside your bubble of fun. It’s a pretty sweet set up. Your hookup is meeting all your needs perfectly and there is no pressure of commitment because everyone else is doing it, too. The rest of the undergraduate population is also in an awkward limbo that occurs between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m.: two people casually meeting their needs while pursuing a degree of higher education. Ah, but how quickly the tides of change turn. The “casual” part of the late night hookup turns into “socially unacceptable” as soon as the clock strikes graduation.
Graduation comes and drops an atomic bomb onto your not-relationship. You thought neither one of you had any plans for a future relationship. Well, one of you definitely does and has been planning this transition like a Navy Seal in his or her head. The other one probably hasn’t even planned his or her next 24 hours. Soon enough, you’re roped into an actual relationship with this person. Maybe it makes you both look like functional adults, but it is just an easy way to get your parents to stop questioning your life.
The silver lining to this dark relationship cloud that has suddenly set in is that you have a partner in crime when taking on the town as a real person. By that, I mean drinking from the hours of 5 to 9 p.m. like you’re still in college and ending the night like a senior citizen. There’s no judgment, but there’s still plenty of nostalgia. You can look back on your late night adventures while still getting a solid eight hours of shuteye. You can enjoy Netflix together, without the constant worry of missing a power hour.
In this new setting, you’ll face real world challenges that most certainly do not apply to college hookups. Meeting this person’s parents will happen. Awkward “networking events” will be happening, where you’re introduced as a friend or even worse, an “associate.” Proceed with caution into the real world, especially after you’ve experienced all the wonders and none of the commitment of a college relationship.
The transition happens all at once if you graduate together. But there’s another good thing about this scenario: you’re in it together. Both of you can face the real world while holding onto your long lost youth together. However, if one of you lags behind in college, just forget it. You’ll be jealous and he or she will be drunk. You can kiss that relationship goodbye, because that person is already kissing someone else.
There are ups and downs to this relationship flip-flop. All in all, you’re in a pretty good place. You could face the cold and lonely adult world alone, but instead you get a token of your college years to tote around with you. Together, you get to diverge into the world of postgrad depression together, at least knowing you’ll always have college.