Dating today is disappointing but I fall for it anyways

Dating in university is definitely not the romanticized image I had in my mind — the closest I’ve come to a loving relationship here is a grand two-week “situationship.”

It was only my second date while in university. A friend of mine had set me up with her friend and, okay, maybe my expectations were unrealistic. Sure, we weren’t going to fall in love immediately, but I was determined to have fun and enjoy myself. We had planned to meet at Uncle Fatih’s, the ideal date spot. It was December and too cold to sit outside, but too crowded to sit inside the restaurant. After awkwardly walking around holding our slices, we decided to go inside the Nest.

We started with the typical first-year icebreakers — majors, hometowns, you know the rest. Despite a rocky start, the convo flowed smoothly, and I was genuinely enjoying talking to him. Then came the inevitable topic of dating, and he dropped the classic: “What are you looking for?”

“A relationship?” I said, without any hesitation. I don’t know what he expected, but why else would people go on dates if they didn’t eventually want that? Turns out, I was very very wrong. There was a whole area of romantic relationships I hadn’t explored.

“Oh,” he stammered, clearly not expecting my straightforward answer. “I’m not sure if I’m ready for anything that serious.”

“Then why are we even on this date?” I asked him, puzzled.

He laughed, “I’m cool with just hanging out and seeing where it goes.”

Now I was even more baffled. This man had just told me he didn’t want anything serious, so what did he mean by “see where it goes” when it clearly wasn’t going anywhere?

He clarified, “We’ll be friends... with benefits. Plus, we can hang out. I just don’t want to label it.” Not understanding him, I told him I was exhausted and wanted to go home and would think about all this later. Once in my room, I called for an emergency meeting with my friends. They told me what it was: a situationship. A non-exclusive, non-official relationship where you enjoy all the relationship perks but never officially become a couple. Forever stuck in the gray area, hoping it’ll magically evolve into something real.

Now, I can hear you thinking, “There is no way she actually entered into a situationship with a guy waving red flags the size of banners.” I live to disappoint. But at least I learned what mistakes to not make again so I’ll never get into something like this again... Right?