What Is Dormcest? This College Dating Phenomenon Can Make Life Awkward Fast
It's finally college move-in time, which means first-year students all around the country are moving into their dorms, awkwardly making small talk with their RA, and on their own for the first time. The newfound freedom can be exhilarating, but, as Spider-Man said, "with great power comes great responsibility." You may be blown away by how many attractive people are suddenly in very close living quarters to you, but it may be smartest not to engage in dormcest. What is dormcest?
"'Dormcest' refers to hooking up with somebody who also lives in your dorm," Julie Zeilinger, author of College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year, tells Elite Daily.
"It feels 'incestuous' because you meet and bond with people in your dorm so quickly; they become your family, your home base," Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back tells Elite Daily. "These are the people you’ve known since day one of college, when your parents dropped you off and likely introduced themselves to everyone on your floor. They’re the ones you walk by in the hall after you’ve just gone to the bathroom, there’s a level of comfort and shared space that you don’t have with the rest of your college cohort."
Zeilinger points out that while a dormcest hookup or relationship might be convenient in the moment, it could cause headaches later on. "While it may be seamless to fall for someone you probably see all the time, there are some considerable downsides to consider," she says. "If things don’t go well, then it can make for an incredibly uncomfortable living situation."
Zeilinger says that you could have awkward moments running into them in your dorm and they could be rude to your face. Another thing? You could see your hookup buddy with another person they're hooking up with.
"Your room and dorm generally should be a place of refuge where you feel most comfortable, not somewhere you feel you need to avoid or tread carefully," Zeilinger says.
For Hannah, 25, her summer orientation fling wound up living across the hall from her in their shared freshman year dorm.
"At first, I was thrilled, because I thought it would be so cute to date this 'amazing guy' who lived across the hall from me," Hannah told Elite Daily. "We hooked up a few times and then he ghosted me [...]. I don't regret it, exactly, but it made the rest of the year pretty uncomfortable."
Of course friendships are bound to develop when living so close to one another. Mary, 23, her and her best friend, who lived in the same dorm, hooked up one time and realized their friendship was really built on pent-up sexual tension.
"He was awkward and not at all the suave friend I'd known, gracelessly fumbling around in the dark," Mary told Elite Daily. "Basically, the kiss was passionless. All the hype I'd built up to a hook up, and it was nothing special. We had lots of mutual friends in the building, as our hall was very close knit, and vowed not to tell anyone. Our friendship, which I realized later was built on lust, was over pretty quickly. There were no longer random visits to his room, hours of watching Netflix together. We talk every so often now, trying to repair the damage nearly four years later, but it's not the same."
These dormcest relationships are usually born out of convenience. Someone attractive is down the hall from you, and you don't have to do much to make something happen between the two of you. Once the convenience of it wears off, or one of you may find someone you actually like, things could grow super uncomfortable.
"It's probably best to refrain from hooking up with somebody in your dorm— especially if it’s an intentionally casual relationship," says Zeilinger.
But maybe dormcest is a situation that could fare well for you.
"Of course, if you meet someone truly special, that may be a different story," she says. "But I would just caution that hooking up with somebody in your dorm has a high potential for making your life way more complicated than it has to be."
So maybe look for your casual hookup in another friend's dorm — convenient enough, but without the hassle of dormcest.
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