One day, I was having lunch with a friend when she said,
We were just flirting, hooking up, you know, typical stuff. But I wanted none of it anymore. So he texted me one day and asked me to send him pictures. I ignored him, and he sent me a text each day for the next two days. He could get anyone he wants, but he still kept texting me even when I ignored him, so he must have liked me a little and wanted me more than just that.
When she told me all of this, I almost shit my pants.
Was she serious or was my soul just born in 1932? Friends tell me stories about hooking up with their best friends' exes, their guy best friends or about their guy friends posting pictures of girls in their beds when they don't even remember their names.
And while I am disgusted and even in awe, everyone else I know is brushing it off like it's another casual experience. Then, it hit me: We are trapped in the hook-up generation.
Do we know how to separate a hook-up relationship from one that's actually real? And if we do, are we still having relationships with proper, healthy standards?
I feel as though many 20-somethings can't differentiate what's real or what's not and are left in confusing, awkward situations with other people. And in many cases, we begin to let our hook-up relationship standards invade those of our real relationships and vice versa.
We begin to let our hook-up relationship standards invade those of our real relationships.
There's a difference between showing someone respect and attention when it comes to a real relationship and using someone solely for pleasure and for a weak sense of attachment while hooking up.
So, here are nine things to help you understand what you should be looking for in a real relationship and to help you see what you might be missing in the hookup you have now:
Respect is absolutely necessary in any relationship, whether it's with your friends or a significant other.
It extends from respecting your partner's feelings to respecting the cleaning they just did before you pee all over the toilet seat.
2. Encouragement and support
Plain and simple: You should be each other's biggest fans at all times and through everything.
Don't be fooled — these will absolutely happen. No matter what they're about, arguments are a way for you two to understand your relationship and understand each other a little more deeply.
Good and bad things can (and will) come out of them, but if you love and respect each other enough, your arguments should only move the two of you forward.
4. The little things
What even is a relationship without the little ways you show each other love? In fact, love is all about the little things.
It's putting forth effort without feeling like it's effort. It's holding hands or kisses on the cheek. It's making each other coffee in the morning. It's being thoughtful.
5. Admiration and unconditional love
Real love is (healthy) unconditional admiration. Compliment your partner, remind them how amazing they are and remind them you appreciate them for all they do.
6. Prioritizing your time and valuing the other person
You should be willing to make sacrifices for your partner because you value them more than whatever you might be giving up. They're a huge priority in your life, and you should know when to put them first.
7. Social media
I hate to say it, but social media plays a major role in millennial relationships. Most people even meet on social media now.
So if you're going to partake in it, do it right. If you're one to share a lot of your life on social media, show off your partner. They're supposed to be a big, important part of your life, so as they say, “Did it even happen if it's not on social media?”
If you don't have trust, you can't have a healthy relationship. If your partner truly loves you, then there should be a wealth of honesty between the two of you. They shouldn't give you any reason not to trust them.
9. Laughter and butterflies
Being in love is all about the giggly moments, random romance and the moments where you still get butterflies in your stomach. The love that started the relationship should never fade, and if it does, find a person who it doesn't fade with.
The love that started the relationship should never fade.
Overall, all of these things work together in a healthy, real, respectful relationship. And if you're starting to recognize these qualities in a relationship with someone, your feelings probably go a little deeper than a simple hookup.
If that's the case, tell the other person what you feel. Ignoring these feelings only makes the question "what are we?" more confusing. And if you scare them away, then they weren't the one in the first place.