Ask A Dude: Can We Start Over?

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of getting the pity-eyes as you sift through the Self-Help section at your campus bookstore? Over wondering what those boys are thinking?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to [email protected]. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time.  So bring it on, ladies.]

Hey there,

So. First semester last year this kid and I were kind of “what are you doing tonight” kind of friends, but I always got the feeling that he liked me. Second semester last year, I had drunken sex with him, which I felt bad about, because I had liked him and I felt like I ruined my chances. We continued hooking up that semester. At the end of the year he told me he liked me, but I didn’t take it seriously because he was drunk.

Last semester we were both abroad and didn’t talk. This semester he texted me for a few weeks trying to hang out, but I assumed that he just wanted to hook up. Then we ended up hanging out the other weekend- the first night we just talked for hours catching up and made out, he slept in my room and kissed me before he left the next morning. The next night we hung out too, and I told him I didn’t want to have sex, but otherwise it would have gone there. He told me he liked me again, but I didn’t really take it too seriously this time either because it could have been a “try to change her mind” kind of move. I awkwardly responded I liked him last year, and that I guess I still like him this year. I also told him that I don’t want to do the random hookup thing anymore.

The following week he texted me on Tuesday asking me to hang out for Thursday, which I said yes to. On Thursday, he asked me what I was doing, and told me that he was going to a party at someone’s apartment with friends. That’s it. Saturday night he told me to come pregame with him and his friends, but I had plans. He called me late that night and I didn’t answer.

I have no idea. I like him, but to my knowledge he has not seriously dated anyone in his college career. Also, the two times we’ve hung out recently have been late at night on weekends, which was totally my fault – he texts me earlier in the night when I am generally busy. He is acting differently from last year when we were hooking up by asking me to hang out more and not late at night, to do things with his friends, etc. Basically, I want to date, not hook up. I don’t want to have sex with someone I am not dating, which complicates things because I’ve already had sex with him. Is it possible to start again, and how do I communicate what I want?

Thanks so much,
No Idea

Dear No Idea,

I’m a firm believer that there is no greater invention than: The Time Machine. What better way to apply the knowledge we’ve learned from our mistakes than traveling back and preventing them from ever being made? Life’s so much easier, right? Remember how Hermione saved Sirius Black’s life using the Time-Turner? Marty McFly improved his parents’ marriage (as well as financial situation) and caused Doctor Emmett Brown to avoid his own assassination thirty years later. Whether it’s a remote, a car, a phone booth (the “most excellent” phone booth ever), or the great DeLorean, all you need for your situation, No Idea, is to hop in your most convenient time machine and…oh wait…well, I guess we’ll have to deal with reality.

There’s no reset button in life. Everything that you’ve done has an affect on what you’ll do. In your case, you had drunken sex with a guy you like. This has affected your ability to trust his intentions for, if my calculations are correct, over a year. Not an unfair reaction but be careful you’re not letting your mistrust become unjustified.

You want to date. You’re afraid he wants an FWB. You’re scared to get hurt. You’re worried you’ve ruined any chance at a relationship because you’ve already been hooking up without any strings attached. Well, don’t worry. There’re always strings attached. Sometimes the strings are to not be allowed to ask for more. This comes down to a central question: can you give him a chance? Right now you’re afraid. You’re afraid of getting hurt. You’re worried about his inexperience with relationships. You don’t know if you’ve got more to offer him than sex. Fear clouds facts.

You’ve had an on and off thing going for over a year. You do spend time together doing things other than each other. He’s been expanding the parameters of the relationship you’ve already established by trying to include you with his friends and going out in daylight. These are positive signs.

You know the biggest obstacle to your happiness? You.  Don’t worry, this is the case for the general population of planet Earth. Nothing stands in the way like fear. Fear of change. Fear of pain. Fear of having something to lose. We let fears like these breed caution and create a form of self-protection that serves us up to a point. Then we pass that point, letting these fears alienate us from taking or creating opportunities to grow. If you feel like this guy’s not worth the honesty, then either keep up the status quo until you get bored or he wants to change the rules and then move on. If, however, you’re afraid that you aren’t worth it, then take the plunge. Tell him how you feel and what you want. In five years would you rather be wondering what would have happened? In five years you won’t have a time machine to help you make this decision again. Unless you invent a time machine. Which would be awesome. You should totally invent a time machine.

Gunning it to 88mph,
The Dude

Life After College: It’s Always The Same
Life After College: It’s Always The Same
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