Hookups are Normal, Feelings are Scary / by Melissa Rosales

Once, I was a hopeless romantic. I’d had two long term relationships since I was fifteen. Both ended because of long distance and my inescapable desire to be alone. Now, I start planning my weekends as early as Tuesday. Date with Brian on Thursday, afternoon hookup with Matthew, wine night at Hunter’s, and so on.

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This habit probably started last semester when I studied abroad in the Netherlands. I’d spend my weekends in some random country hooking up with European men I met in clubs. I mean, there’s no time to date when you’re only in Belgium for three days.

I find comfort in knowing what’s going to happen. Hookups are predictable. They’re like short mutual relationships—they’re simple and they give me quick satisfaction. I need something from him and he needs something from me. We both deliver, then we’re on our merry way. I never need to talk to him again. We expect nothing less. There are no surprises—I know what I’m going to get.

I didn’t have to cry over the 13 hour time difference or the obligation to talk and care for someone. I was tired of being tied down for too long. If I was lonely, I could just hook up with someone. He could fill the hole for the night.

Living this lifestyle makes me feel empowered. I’m in control of my body and I can have fun whenever. I call the shots. I get what I want and leave when I please.

I came back to Boston with two fuckbuddies waiting for me and my dating apps re-downloaded. I focused on school and work on weekdays, and I had random hookups over the weekends. I lived peacefully with no attachments.

But one Saturday night in Boston, I heard a cute boy speak some foreign language to his friend and I was dumb (or confident) enough to ask what he was speaking. He approached me and asked me to guess. He said he spoke Croatian, then he spent the night and ruined my simple life. He carried himself with effortless confidence. He’d kiss my hand and play Ray Charles. Nights were filled with friendly banter and learning about each other’s home country. His mellowness complimented my bold character. I felt equal beside him.

“You’re ruining my plans. I’m not supposed to feel this way,” I’d tell him over and over that night. I felt vulnerable, too vulnerable. I panicked the whole night. He made me feel things I didn’t expect to feel again—I didn’t want to feel again. I was disgusted with how vulnerable and sweet I’ve become. I was worried I was getting too attached. The nagging feeling never stopped. It didn’t help (or did it help) that he wanted something casual.

So not only was I starting to legit feel things for this boy, but I constantly had to control it. I needed a hookup to help me forget about this boy. I met a lot of boys, but still found myself falling for him.

The battle I had with my emotions drove me so crazy that I just surrendered. No more hookups, I’ll focus on him. So I found myself drunk at a MIT frat party sending him the most vulnerable texts I’ve ever written. He asked what the problem was if we agreed to be casual. I realized I was the problem. My feelings were controlling me now. I’m feeling the last emotion I ever wanted to feel: hurt. It hurt because it took me so long to finally open up again only to be shut out. I forgot how much it hurt, but I’m reminded by how much I hate it now.

It’s not exactly that I hate falling in love. I just find hookups too comforting. I can’t control my feelings, but at least I can forget them for a while.

It’s now over, so I’m back to meeting new boys and hooking up with them. I’m back in my comfort zone. I feel like myself again. I don’t need anyone else but myself. Maybe I’ll fall in love again, actually enjoy it and not find it so intimidating. But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my busy weekends.

Illustration by: Hayley Joseph