Are You Ready To Date In 2017?
College Life |  Source: @itsjuliwilliams

Are You Ready To Date In 2017?

You could be setting yourself up for failure.

It's 2017, and for many people that means creating a list of highly unattainable expectations for this "new year, new you." Maybe you've got your hopes up that this will FINALLY BE THE YEAR YOU FALL IN LOVE! Or at least have a few subpar dating experiences. Honestly, I am entirely rooting for you if that's the case.

Before you set yourself up for failure like the majority of us with your resolutions, you should probably ask yourself the following questions to see, you know, if love is actually in the cards.
1. Do you still constantly think about your ex?
Be HONEST. If that's the case, you're probably only going to be comparing any and all new people to said ex. That's not fair to them, and it's only gonna drive you crazy too. Trust.
2. Do you even have TIME for a relationship?
College is hard. We're constantly forced to micromanage our lives as if we're *adults* or something. If your main objective is to do well in your classes, that's most likely going to require a lot of library time. Aka not spend-it-with-your-SO time. If you find yourself pre-planning when to schedule in a relationship time, that's a sign of failure right off the bat.
3. Do you love yourself?
Are you going into a relationship because you want to feel good about yourself, or are you doing it because you're already at that point and are ready to share the luurrrv and ur fiiiiine self. As Rupaul perfectly put it, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"
4. Do you have standards?
This requires some serious self-evaluation. Are you the type of person who falls for pretty much any person who even blinks in your general direction? Simply because you are THAT desperate for some sort of affection? Three words, people: Don't. Settle. Ever.
5. How's your financial situation?
This may sound ridiculous to some... but really. Are you doing this just for the chance at getting some free meals out of the deal? I definitely strung some people along this past fall for that reason alone. No shame. Ok... some shame. Basically, you should try to avoid messing with people's heads and hearts just for the occasional freebies.
6. Do you have solid, supportive friend group?
This might seem irrelevant, but it's really not. If you do begin to date, you should never put these friends on the backburner. More importantly, having a solid base that involves no sexual anything is just vital for your well-being. Who is gonna be there for you when this person ends up being just as shitty as the others? Is that just my pessimism coming through?
If you passed this test and really think you're ready to put yourself out there, congrats! And if not, that's okay too. Taking time for yourself can be just as rewarding, or even more so, especially when starting off a new year.
Image Alt
College Life |  Source: FlockU, Shutterstock

Is Your Relationship Fit For Long Distance? (Quiz)

Nothing but honesty here.

With the end of the semester quickly creeping up, the reality of graduating and moving onto whatever comes next is becoming all too real for most of us. This change can be even more stressful when in a relationship.

When you and your S.O move on to the next chapter of your life, distance can become an issue. If either or both of you are moving away and not to the same place it's time to have "the talk" about whether or not staying together long distance will work.

If you're struggling to make the right choice, take this quiz to see whether or not your relationship can withstand the distance.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: huffingtonpost.com

Thoughts Before Your First Date in Four Years

So many what-ifs.

The worst part of ending your four year relationship is most definitely the fact that it means you'll eventually have to go on a first date again. Going on a first date gives you the most thrilling, nervous, butterfly-filled feeling... unless your date turns out to be a dud, and then it just sucks.

BUT, when you just got out of a long, serious relationship and you have to go on a first date again, it's terrifying. It's like you have to learn how to date in college all over again. Here are seven common fears.

What do I wear?

You're used to wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt and eating dinner at McDonalds, and now that someone's taking you out on a nice date (imagine that, you're actually worth a nice dinner to this guy) you don't have a clue how to dress.

Do you wear jeans and a nice shirt with a flirty ponytail, or do you curl your hair and wear your little black dress with your fave wedges? You honestly don't know, but the good news is, if he likes you enough to take you out on a nice date, he'll probably be okay with either.

Source: giphy.com

How do I eat?

And what do you order? You're going to your favorite italian restaurant (so sweet of him), but pasta just isn't an option on your first date... so do you get a salad and look healthy or do you get your favorite pizza and let the cheese hang out as you try to fit a good bite in your mouth? You don't want to come off like a health snob, but you also don't want to look like a sloppy pig either.

Source: giphy.com

Will he pay?

Not that I remember much about first dates (because I haven't been on one in four years) but I do remember the anxiety of wondering whether or not he's going to pay.

In fact, I honestly worried about the awkwardness of paying the entire time. Let's be real though, if it's a real date he's going to pay for you, and if he doesn't then you may want to reconsider what kind of outing this really is.

What do we talk about?

Truth is, I don't know if I can make it through a conversation without my ex coming up. Not because I want to talk about him (because I don't), but when he's been apart of everything you've done for the last four years, the chance of his name coming up in at least one story is extremely high.

And we all know bringing your ex's name up on a first date is asking for disaster, as if he haven't already done enough damage in your life. The thought of them ruining something else for you makes you wanna vom.

Source: giphy.com

What if I like him?

You're terrified of falling for someone again. After you date someone for four years, you don't expect it to get bad all of a sudden and to end up single, but here you are. So, do you let your walls down and allow someone into your life right away or do you play hard to get? Let ya girl know if you figure out the answer to that, please and thank you.

Source: giphy.com

First dates will never be easy, but they will always be exhilarating. Don't get too caught up in the what-ifs that you miss out on the what-is. Who knows, if you're lucky this may actually be your last, first date... no pressure.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

Getting Back With Your Ex For The Summer

Cool for the summer?

You ended things on good terms and now you're still friends, but let's be real, you have a history and that history means something. That history also makes coming home after time spent apart at college extra tricky.

Do we hook up?

How do we talk normally?

Do we talk normally at all?

Do we act as a couple like we always used to?

Do I even want to act like we used to?

Do we only hang out platonically?

How do we do any of this?

Have you been having incessant questions racing through your head and endless and circular thinking ? You aren't alone.

My ex and I broke up for college. We were planning on getting back together for the summer...that is until the last couple months happened. New girlfriend in the picture, changing personalities, different goals...sound familiar? Good, you're still with me.

One day, after receiving a particularly pathetically douchey comment from my ex, I found myself writing "A Letter to Myself." In short, this letter to myself was a slew of not so eloquently written reasons solidifying why I cannot get back with my ex this summer, or at least do the whole "couple" thing with him.

But, for those who aren't as sure about your summer love plans as I am, here are some questions you should ask yourself before jumping to a decision.

Same Page, Same Book?
Make sure that both of you are on the same page. Sometimes people will say or do things based off of the assumptions they have made before fact checking, and that's when unnecessary fights and drama happens. If you're undecided, check in with your ex and see what they're thinking.

Great Expectations?
See if your ex is holding expectations for the summer. They may or may not align with what you were expecting, so back to the question above, check to see if you're on the same page.

If either party has any expectations, they should be stated and fully acknowledged so that no one's feelings get hurt. That way, if you decide to not get back together, you can actually be friends and make it less awkward.

A For Effort?
Think about whether or not you're willing to put in the effort. Rekindling a "thing" with your ex after a long time apart is different than starting something new. There's more buried beneath the surface so it won't be

Will you be happy?
This sounds like a dumb question, but it's definitely something you actually have to sit down and think about. You guys broke up for a reason, and even if that was because of the devastating distance that college put in between you guys, you are still each other's exes for a reason. Will you be happier being with this person than not being with them romantically?

Got Dirt?
Building off of "Will you be happy," will going back to your ex for the summer open a can of worms that wouldn't be opened if you just stayed friends? Why end the summer and go back to school with a bad taste in your mouth if you don't have to? You gotta think about a whole lotta bad and a whole lotta good parts of your relationship and weigh it all out.

So my friends, now comes the time. Exes, or (n)Os?

Image Alt
College Life | 

Moving On When Your Ex Is A Slut-Ass

Step one: Stop stalking his Instagram.

I'm writing this article for two reasons. Primarily the first being, of course, that my ex is a slut-ass and I can't stop stalking his Instagram. And the second being that after years of long lines in bar bathrooms with many inebriated females, I realize I am not alone.

Now let me be clear here, there's a number of different ways that an ex can fall under the category of "slut-ass." Whether he or she has hooked up with half of the campus since (or during?) your relationship, moved on suspiciously fast or still hits you up with questionable motives, there is the undeniable truth that their actions hurt. Thanks to people like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel (lowkey, fuck those guys), you have an alarming amount of access to their personal life, whether you talk daily or haven't spoken since 2012.

Breakups suck, but they suck so much more when you get daily reminders of your past as soon as you roll over in the morning, grab your phone and open Snapchat.

So, if your ex fits into any of the vast slut-ass spectrum, and you find yourself heartbroken or obsessing about it, have no fear, because relief is here!

Know that you're super, super, super not alone.

I used to stay up late at night pulling some super invasive FBI shit on my ex's girl's sorority sister's friend's big's Instagram page. I mean, I lost alarming amounts of sleep because of how deep I got in the psycho-ex-girlfriend matrix. It would always end, of course, with my muffled cries in my pillow hoping that my roommate wouldn't wake up.

I kept these self-destructive tendencies and pangs of heartbreak to myself, until I started hearing more and more friends start to slowly explain that they were feeling similar things about their past relationships. Many of them felt unwanted or unimportant, like their relationship didn't matter at all.

Of course, I'd never want to wish any of those feelings upon any my friends, but knowing that I wasn't the only one to feel that was help enough. It was therapeutic venting about the way he had made me feel, while hearing similar stories and getting advice I couldn't think of myself. Being open and having great friends made the process so much easier.

You need to put the phone down and walk away.

My mom once said to me, "I don't know how you do it. When I was younger, if I didn't get invited to a party, I didn't know. If my ex-boyfriend started seeing someone else, I didn't know. How exhausting is it to just know all the time?"

For a split second, I imagined a world where my potential fears and anxieties diminished because I was ignorant to whether or not someone had moved on, or whether or not my friends were constantly keeping me in the loop. That ignorance was incredibly relaxing, and I truly didn't want to know.

But I did know... virtually everything. Thanks to social media, and my own self-destructive and psychotic tendencies, I could tell you an alarming amount of things about the ex, who was virtually like a stranger, and many of the girls who crossed his path long after me.

I'll never live in an age like my mom and that is okay. Although I may have the ability to access tons of information about his new boo-thang at the touch of my fingers, it is within my control to just stop looking. So if it helps, just block, unfollow, do whatever you need to do to stop knowing. Your ex will keep on keeping on with their life, whether or not you check his or her new girlfriend's Facebook three times a day. It is within your best interest to keep your social media in check with the things that you actually want to see.

Allow yourself to make peace with who they are as a person.

With each corny-ass Instagram and new formal date of his that popped up on my feed, I wanted to ask, "What was so bad about me?" I felt unimportant, like our relationship meant nothing despite all that I had given it.

And although it's (clearly) taken years and many embarrassing and detrimental behaviors, I have made peace with who my ex-boyfriend is and with our kind, but forgotten relationship.

It is possible to mean a great deal to someone and then for that person to slowly slip away into a category of strangers. In fact, it is both possible and bound to happen at some point in anyone's life. It may bring harrowing emotions of insignificance, but it is, to a degree, inevitable.

It is necessary to take the path of peace, rather than hatred, in these situations. It may take a lot of grieving, and maybe a little bit of Twitter-stalking (MINIMUM), but it's important to rise above those immediate feelings of maybe wanting to slash your ex's tires (definitely don't do that, that is not picking the path of peace).

Your life will move on and so will theirs. You will both fall in love and be heartbroken again. The cycle will continue, for any period of time, and you will have ups and downs for as long as you live. Your life will never be all good or all bad, and that is okay as soon as you accept it as reality. Once you make peace with your experiences, your relationships, the people who may be in or out of your life, you become closer to finding true happiness and confidence.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: Antonio Guillem

What I've Learned from All My Exes

Everyone comes into your life for a reason

The old saying stands true: Every person in your life is either a lesson or a blessing. So, until I meet my blessing, and maybe I have, here are all of the lessons I've learned along the way.

My first everything
You taught me everything I know and I don't think you know how grateful I am for that. I was a freshman, only 14 years old when I met you. I was a wide-eyed, innocent, naive, and, above all else, eager. You offered me what seemed like the world and I took it. Any sliver of advice you had for me I took as dogma. I thought you were so cool for having a car, for being on the lacrosse team, for knowing the ropes, for being so much older than me. I don't know how I would've navigated my freshman year without being under your wing. You helped me through it. I grew into the young woman I am today because of you.

But because you were my first, I also learned what not to do. Never give your boyfriend your passwords. Never let someone keep tabs on you or tell you what you can do. Never intentionally try to make someone jealous. Never make promises you can't keep. We were crazy; we were wildly jealous. It was fucked up and it spiraled out of control.

I learned you should absolutely never cheat. We had different definitions of that word, of what we were. It really fucks someone up, someone you love especially. I'm sorry for everything. And I learned from that regret and that guilt. But it still breaks my heart you got caught in the crossfire.

Weird gypsy boy
You taught me that, from here on out, I'd always demand fundamental respect. I would never again waste my time with any guy that wasn't all in for me. You were always slightly out of reach. You gave just enough to keep me around, but not enough that I was ever fully satisfied. You never truly fell for me, so I kept you around because I always wanted you to.

Now I know that you can never coerce someone to love you, to show up on time, to put you above other things. I learned that it comes naturally. I think you liked me but you didn't love me. And my massive ego had never taken a hit like that. In retrospect, I didn't love you, either, but I loved the idea of you, the idea of making you mine. I know better now.

You helped me fall in love with classic rock, chai tea, and Wes Anderson films. (You sound pretentious af but that's because you are.) There are things you showed me that I love so much now. You shared your beautiful outlook on the world with me. It made my life just that much better.

The ringer
I learned what love wasn't with you. If you ever read this, that isn't what you want to hear, so I'm sorry. Our circumstances were dramatic and it exacerbated every feeling. I learned that not everything will always work out. I learned how to be realistic when things end up not working out. I thought you were my soulmate, but dating you taught me that extenuating circumstances can make anyone feel like your soulmate.

Long before we dated, we had our issues. I swore to God I'd "break your heart and give you blue balls." I learned I'm a woman of my word and a vindictive bitch because I followed through on that. (I won't ever let that change.) But I am sorry I hurt you the way I did. I should've told you the truth, (I learned you should just tell the truth), that I was moving on.

Even after the hell I put you through, I learned you can be friends with an ex; you're the only one with whom I have that privilege. You were steadfastly understanding and mature and forgiving. I hope that rubs off on me.

The one I loved
You taught me what regret feels like. You taught me just how sorry I am capable of feeling. You taught me that you cannot take someone for granted and expect it to all work out. It won't. I learned that the hard way. Our relationship felt like seeing the cutest puppy in the world and squeezing it because you love it so much. But, in doing that, you hurt it. Our first year was perfect, and I couldn't bear leaving the honeymoon phase.

We started to want different things. You wanted a normal, balanced, and healthy relationship. But I wasn't ready for that yet. I hadn't learned how to stand on my own two feet at college without you. I hated Division I sports; I didn't have real friends; I was confused. Not only did I take all my problems out on you, I used you as a crutch to avoid dealing with how lost I felt. Then, all the fighting started.

Because of you, I learned you can't lean on someone. I learned you can't be mean to someone and hope to fall back on the past. I learned relationships grow and change, and you have to be OK with that. If you won't change with it, you'll lose it. You'll lose that person. You taught me that, although I thought I was the best me, I had so much more to grow. And I still do.

You tell your own version of this story to your friends, to girls you meet, to your family, even. Word gets back to me. I probably deserve that. This is my public apology. Just remember: I'm sorry.

The best person I know.
I never met your parents, but man, would I like to. They raised you so well. Everything about you is inherently good and I can't emphasize enough how important that is to me. You taught me that there are good people in this world. You taught me what a real relationship is supposed to feel like. You taught me all about you, and about myself in the process. You taught me how to skip the games. You taught me how to treat someone right, the way they deserve to be treated. You taught me to laugh at myself and to avoid taking things too seriously.

You taught me it's not about expensive gifts or an endless series of dates; it's about the quality time and the intimate moments. You definitely taught me some funny slang and about hockey and about smoking weed. You taught me that bad jokes are the best jokes. You humbled me in tennis. You taught me you could fall for someone in ten weeks, and then you taught me how to graciously lose someone. I don't regret a thing. Thanks for understanding, for always understanding where I was at. I couldn't say a bad thing about you if I tried.

What I learned in the end? I learned that every person in your life shapes you and makes you better. Exes help you become the best version of yourself for the person you're meant to end up with. Every guy on this list played a key role in making me me. And someone will love that me. For that, I'm forever grateful.