We meet a lot of guys in college, but let’s be honest—a lot of them aren’t actually worthy of a relationship. There’s the guys who don’t shower as often as they should, the ones with the weird attempt at facial hair (get rid of that stubble, son!) and the ones who care more about keg parties and hooking up than having a girlfriend. So when we meet a guy in college who actually does think beyond the next rager, he tends to make an impression. And unfortunately, sometimes that impression stays with you until you have to let him and college go.
I met that guy on move-in day of freshman year. My RA was giving us our general move-in lecture, when Jordan* walked into the common room. He ignored the RA and went straight to the refrigerator. He was the most attractive guy I’d ever seen in real life. He had a tattoo and a “rebellious attitude” (hence, going to the fridge instead of listening to the RA). I became intrigued and hooked.
My freshman year roommate and I weren’t BFFs, which meant I spent all of my study time in the common room., which resulted in me and Jordan becoming friends. Some people think that once you become friends with someone, you stop thinking about them romantically. That’s not true at all. For me, at least, realizing that I appreciated his personality made me like him even more.
We started hanging out on the weekends a lot. Sometimes, Jordan would be with other girls, which grew harder for me to watch the more I got to know him. Sometimes, he’d send me texts saying I looked nice. Once he even came to see me in a play. Yet, after all of these conflicting actions, things started to become blurry for me. Was this friend behavior? Was he interested? I had no idea.
At the end of the semester, he moved to a different dorm, and we didn’t hang out as much. We both had different groups of friends and started dating other people. In the fall of sophomore year, I decided to transfer schools because I wanted to live in a city. We had dinner together a final time, and he invited me to a party, which I didn’t go because I had a headache. Goodbye Jordan, hello D.C.
We still kept in touch from time to time on Facebook. Occasionally he would send me ambiguous messages telling me I looked nice in a picture. Last fall, he said he planned on leaving the country after graduation. I had to finally confront the fact that my interest in him never wavered, even after I moved away. If I had stayed, deep down I’d always thought something would happen between us two. The fact that we were friends and still kept in touch made the situation more difficult. I saw him for the last time in October when he came to D.C. to visit. I gave him an extremely out-of-character hug before he left (I’m normally stiff like Draco Malfoy when he hugged Voldemort. In return, he gave me a kiss on the head.
After this, my friends would try to appease me by saying, “Maybe you’ll see each other again. You never know. The Internet has made long-distance relationships easier.” While I appreciated the optimism, I had to eventually swallow the red pill. At this point, accepting that a relationship with Jordan wasn’t going to happen was a lot healthier (in my unprofessional opinion) than pining for him. Holding out hope for a one percent chance of something happening will leave you fawning after a hopeless cause.
The second thing I realized was, I’m not a mind reader. What did the kiss on the head mean? Was it a sign? Or was it just like a kiss you’d give your dog? I don’t know, and I never will. Instead of trying to psychoanalyze the guy, I needed to just accept that we can never really know what another person thinks.
And to be honest, part of me feels comfort in the fact that nothing happened. If he plans to leave the country and my future lies in law school, that means I would likely be going through a breakup now, which would only make final papers, graduation and preparing for law school more stressful. There’s also a chance that we would have had a really crappy breakup and wouldn’t even be friends anymore. I have enough to worry about right now without having to Photoshop cats over someone’s face in an old profile picture.
When you graduate, you take your diploma and education with you. But some things are meant to stay behind. Your freshman year crush just so happens to be one of them.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.