7 Ways To Turn Your College Hookup Into A Relationship After Graduation

Millennials are well aware of the all-too-familiar story of finding a hookup and then, as time goes on, developing feelings, only to realize those feelings are never going to result in anything. Whether you met your hookup in a bar one Saturday night or while mindlessly swiping through Tinder, the flame usually dies out without becoming anything other than late-night texts and zero commitment.

But, can something that started as a hookup ever become more? Is this a completely elusive concept, or can it actually happen to you? If you asked me this question a few weeks ago, I would have replied pessimistically by saying, “Absolutely not. Once you start as just a hookup, that is all it will ever be."

Recently, my situation changed, and I now have a more positive outlook on the subject. After around one year and eight months of inconsistent off and on hooking up with a guy, he told me he wanted to be together, and we started a real relationship. It was like something straight out of a romantic chick flick. I would have never believed something like this could even happen, until it actually did.

So, why did I get the fairytale ending that everyone who is stuck in a hookup wants? After pinching myself to confirm that I was not dreaming, I started thinking about why I was able to do the unimaginable and go from a hookup to a relationship.

Maybe — just maybe — it will happen for you, too.

1. Be persistent.

There were so many times I told myself I was going to give up. I'd erase his texts, delete his number and tell him not to talk to me again. I'd make some dramatic exit, only to decide to give it one more chance after I cooled off and realized I missed him.

As much as he frustrated me by being emotionally unavailable and unable to commit, I did not give up on him. I scheduled times to hang out, and I made plans again and again. I always decided it was worth another shot. Even if you've told yourself 100 times it will never work out and that you're wasting your time, go for that 101st time.

2. Have patience.

I felt like I was always waiting. I was waiting for a text back, waiting for him to make real plans with me that didn't include just sleeping together and waiting for him to see how good we would be together.

But, waiting is exactly what it took. In a situation where you want to go from hookup to relationship, timing really is everything. I had to patiently wait until he got his life together, connected the dots and saw what he had right in front of him all along. It was frustrating, confusing and just plain annoying, but the waiting paid off.

3. Show you care.

Even if we weren't hooking up or hadn't seen each other in a while, I always tried to let him know in little ways that I still cared and was thinking about him. I would say "hi" if we crossed paths at the bar, and I would give him a quick hug. I would text him and wish him a happy birthday, reminding him that I paid attention when he told me about himself.

I even texted him "Happy New Year" after the ball dropped, despite him not being there to be my New Year's kiss. I did anything to put my name and face in his mind and to show him that I was there for him, even if it was something small.

4. Don't limit your other options.

One thing I did do was make it clear to him that I was not going to wait forever. I made it clear I was not just talking to him, that other guys wanted me and that I was not always going to be there waiting until he figured out what he wanted. I made him realize he could lose me at any time to another guy and that one day, he would text me and I would not respond.

Don't just talk the talk. It is actually really important that you do still talk to other guys. Let new guys take you out on dates. Exchange flirtatious texts with guys in your class. Kiss random guys at the bar. Whatever you do, just give someone else a real chance.

If you're only a hookup to the guy you really want, then use it as a time to continue playing the field and seeing what others have to offer. Tell him you will not wait around for him, and mean it.

5. Embrace change and be mature.

Ending the hook-up mentality with this guy has to start with you both ending your old bad habits. In my case, things didn't change until we both graduated from college and had to start over in the real world, far away from the glorified hook-up culture surrounding college campuses.

During college, we were both going out all the time, meeting and dating new people and living the college lifestyle where settling down was the last thing on our minds. Changing our environment, having new goals and beginning a new lifestyle helped us both mature and realize that partaking in the hook-up culture had to end once we got our diplomas.

Having a fresh start with a new job, moving to a new apartment or taking advantage of a new opportunity might help you and your guy both see that it's time for a fresh start in your relationship as well.

6. Make yourself vulnerable.

When I first started hooking up with this guy, I worried about stupid things like texting him too often, appearing too needy and showing too much emotion. Bottom line is, I was not willing to make myself vulnerable.

When I realized he was the guy I wanted to be with, I began to be more open, carefree and relaxed with him. I felt I could finally be myself. He noticed my newfound determination in making us become more, and it gave him a little push to reciprocate.

I did not hesitate to text him first, make plans for the both of us, invite him places and tell him how I felt about him. I opened myself up emotionally, and I wasn't afraid to show him how much I really cared.

If you really want to be serious with him, then don't play games and don't hide your feelings. Go after what you want, show him how serious you are about him and most importantly, prove how amazingly lucky he would be to have you.

7. Know when to walk away.

Despite doing everything you can, sometimes it just isn't going to work out. And that isn't always a bad thing.

Don't use this as an excuse to be treated like less than you deserve or to be strung along by someone who does not care about you and will never give you a real chance. If it is not bringing you happiness anymore, then walk away and let it go.

However, if you find yourself truly valuing the time you spend with him, realizing you are happy whenever you are together and noticing that the relationship is helping you grow, then keep trying. You never know when everything will fall into place, and he will finally see what you have seen all along: You two are meant to be far more than just a hookup.