Talk to Tabitha volume two: Attraction, friends with benefits and getting over your ex
It’s cuffing season and Notts students need immediate help
This round I’m answering all your questions on love and relationships, hopefully in time to get you boo’d up for the winter, as cuffing season takes no prisoners and you don’t want to be left out in the cold.
Ending a FWB
“So, during Freshers’ Week I ended up very drunk and sleeping with one of my friends housemates. We’ve seen each other a couple of times since but I’ve kind of got the ick and want to end it, apart from the fact that he lives with my closest friends that I see all the time, so I don’t want to make things awkward. What do I do?! (Plus his friends are fit and I kinda want to get with them but I think that’s just taking it a bit too far.)” – Hazel
Girl, you gotta end it. An ick is an ick. You need to do it sooner rather than later, before you’re accidentally having brunch with his parents and attending his cousin’s wedding. If you guys get along well enough, just be honest with him and say you’d rather be friends. If a friendship isn’t on the cards and awkward is unavoidable, just go for the old classic: “I just want to enjoy being single for a while and don’t want to get too attached”. You might need to stay away from your friends’ flat for a while to let the awks air out, but rest assured, it will all die down in a few weeks. But seriously, you know full well you cannot immediately go after his mates! If they’re good mates of his and they know you’ve slept together, I doubt they’ll be trying to get with you without checking with him first, which can only make this situation more awkward. (This is owing to their adherence to something called a Bro Code, a mysterious ancient text that seems to have nebulous rules at times.) Hang in there girly, I’m sure you’re a catch. Just don’t go fishing in the friendship pool, or you could end up all alone if your friends pick his side.
Single for 20 years
“Hi, I have been single for 20 years and I really really want a relationship. How can I meet more girls and attract them? Thanks”- Harry Potter
I hate to resort to clichés, but it’s when you stop looking so hard that someone will find you! Focus on trying to build friendships with women who enjoy the same things you do. Join a society that you like the look of or start playing for an IMS mixed sports team, Badminton is a great one for that! I’m making a prediction with my crystal ball that you might enjoy Quidditch Society. Get yourself into an environment where you’re comfortable talking to girls as friends before you start looking for dates. Dating apps can be brutal, but everyone’s become a bit more digitally inclined after the pandemic and it’s totally normal to start talking to someone online before you meet them in person. You could even ask your newfound gal pals to help you take good pictures for your Tinder profile! Girls know what other girls will find attractive and help you put your best foot (or swipe) forward.
Hope you get to use your wand soon!
I miss my campus ex
“I didn’t miss her till I saw her in a library and now I’m upset again. How do I exist in a place where she lives too?” -May
Bumping into her was inevitable, but now that it’s happened, I promise the worst is over. If you see her another time, you’ll smile and maybe even say hi. It will feel incredibly difficult, but not as bad as the last time and so on and so forth until you don’t feel so bad anymore. If this still sounds awful, there are some steps you can take to make things easier on yourself: Firstly, switch libraries. If you must go back to that library for books for your course, make it a get in, get out mission, but actually do your studying elsewhere. There are tonnes of spots on campus where there isn’t much foot traffic where you can get work done in peace and you can even book private study rooms online. This rule can be applied to coffee shops and eateries too- avoiding her is possible if you switch up your routine or deliberately navigate away from places you know she likes to go. Ultimately however, this isn’t sustainable and it’s still going to hurt like a bitch when/if you do see her. Besides, I feel like campus has a funny way of manifesting the very people we’d most loathe to see. You belong on campus and shouldn’t have to hide away. Keep good friends around you who uplift you and understand the way that you feel and be gentle with yourself during this time. You deserve to be here and you deserve to show up for yourself with your head held high.
It will get easier I promise,
Friends with benefits is messed up
“Basically I went back with this boy after a night out (who I didn’t know) to what I thought was going to be a one night stand, even though I did actually really fancy him. Anyway, I moved on with life, until six months later he messaged me asking if I was out that night and I was so we ended up going back to mine and having sex again. This time after I was like f*ck I really like him, but again, moved on and had the best summer. Three weeks into the start of this term he messages me again and of course, me liking him, I’m like “yes”, when really I shouldn’t as it’s an obvious friends with benefits vibe. Just to say, each time he stays round till like 3pm just talking and we really do get on. Anyway, this time he was way more pissed than usual and started saying all this stuff about liking me and how this isn’t just a shag. The worst part is that he actually asked me to be his girlfriend midway through having sex. I was pissed and I knew he was too, and I was like ”I don’t believe you” or whatever, but I did say that I like him. It got very intimate and we were both saying how much we liked each other and he said he wanted to take me on a date. The next morning was so confusing but neither of us said anything about what had been said. I was too scared to bring it up cos he hadn’t and I knew he was drunk. I’m not sure what to do as I really like this boy but I haven’t heard from him since and I’m so f*cked in the head! Please help.” – Flossie
Flossie, Flossie, Flossie,
Shoot your shot babe. Text him right now and ask him if he wants to go for a drink, just the two of you. If he asks if it’s a date, for the love of the campus geese, say yes! One of you has to be the brave one here and right now it’s clearly not going to be him. If he says he’ll go out with you, then you know where you stand and hopefully things simplify themselves from there and you live happily ever after. If he says no, then I beg of you please remove this boy from your life. Friends with benefits situations can be really fun if you’re on the same page and there aren’t any feelings involved. However, you like him, (it actually sounds like you like like him) and you deserve so much better than to be on the hook for somebody who doesn’t have the balls to simply sit down (with clothes on) in a bar with you in public and give you the time of day. It could sound like he feels rejected by your dismissal and hasn’t reached out out of embarrassment, but more than likely he just doesn’t remember. If it all goes pear shaped, at least you’ll know and stop torturing yourself with wondering. You’ll have levelled up in confidence, will be moving swiftly on and with your dignity intact. Hopefully the next time somebody asks you be their girlfriend it won’t be mid-shag.
Lots of love,
Getting over an ex your broke up with
“I broke up with my ex but most days I catch myself thinking about him and what we had. At the time breaking up felt like the right thing to do as the relationship just wasn’t right. It was a difficult decision to make. But now I feel lonely and as if I’ve lost a piece of myself as he was my best friend and we were so close. Do you have any advice on getting over this feeling?” – Han
You must ask yourself if you miss the person or the relationship? If it’s definitely the person, maybe you two could form a friendship with time if it’s not likely to get complicated. But by reading between the lines of what you’ve written, it sounds like you miss being loved and the way that being loved made you feel about yourself. Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. There’s lots of discourse online about dating oneself and putting effort into your relationship with your own mind and body. A great podcast is Date Yourself Instead by Lyss Boss. Show yourself some love, buy yourself flowers and take yourself out on cute dates. I love getting dressed up and taking myself out for dinner. (when I can afford it!) I’m my own best friend and I thoroughly encourage you to reconnect with the parts of yourself that were his best friend and let them come out to play again, but for yourself. I hate to sound like a TikTok girly but romanticising your own life truly does work wonders, even if it only stretches as far as lighting a candle while you take a bubble bath… until your housemates start knocking on the door! Purging your thoughts about him could also help, record voice notes or write them down on little scraps of paper. Acknowledge the thought, listen to it back if you need to or read the note and when you’re ready, get rid of it! This is kind of building on the fundamentals of meditation; noticing your thoughts but not letting them affect you. It’s also an easy way to allow you to get on with your day and not let these lingering feelings derail you from getting stuff done. Time is the best healer, hang tight and eventually you’ll have days and weeks where you don’t think about him at all, I promise.
All the love,
I can’t make my own friends
“Ever since completing the side quest of getting a boyfriend at uni, my friends and housemates have drifted away from me, with people ‘forgetting’ to invite me on both nights out and sober daytime activities, or using ‘I thought you’d be at your boyfriend’s’ as an excuse when I confront them. Watching that happen has been a heartbreak in itself and regretfully has put strains in my relationship, as my boyfriend still has his original group of friends (that’d never be my friends) and it feels like the only way I can have my own circle again is to be single.
“I’ve tried joining societies, but I’m way too anxious to go alone, relive the desperate fresher experience and try to insert myself into a clique. When I go with my boyfriend it’s easier to find people to talk to, but they are looking to be friends with us and not necessarily me. The odd times I get to speak to people alone haven’t been too successful. I especially find it hard to speak to girls as I have quite masculine energy, that I either have to painstakingly hide or most of them will be intimidated. I get along with guys quite well but their interest usually drops whenever I bring up my boyfriend. I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t want to keep depending on my boyfriends’ friends to say it’s okay for me to come to things. I want to be able to give him space to be his own person and have people to talk to if things get difficult between us in the future.”- Felicity
I feel like a previous version of myself wrote this one. I relate so heavily to the masculine energy thing, I’ve struggled with female friendships my whole life. And no, it’s not because we’re ‘pick me’ girls, it’s because regardless of age or experience, maintaining good friendships with other women is a full time occupation. However, sometimes they’re just not good friendships. We have this bias against ourselves, believing that we’re not good at it, so we don’t want to see the red flags that showed us that ultimately, they weren’t your friends in the first place. If you think your relationship with your friends is salvageable (and worth saving) you could try to organise something for you all to do together yourself! You could set up a mattress in the living room and tell everyone to come in their pyjamas and have a cute movie night where you get to reconnect. Or you could tell everyone to buy tickets to an event you might all enjoy and host pres at your place. But if it is, as I suspect, un-fixable, try to see it as a good thing. Clearly they weren’t good friends to you and you deserve so much more. Try not to shoot yourself in the foot; we’re sold this false promise that we absolutely have to find ‘our tribe’ of people at uni and it simply is not true. Your real friends might come later in life or grow from an opportunity you haven’t taken yet because you’ve shut yourself off to possibilities. Also, please try not to catastrophise the end of your relationship before it has even happened. Though it’s scary staring down the barrel of a break-up with no tangible support network, some of the friends that are ‘his friends’ might be there for you in the end. Some of the friends that you feel want to be friends with both of you might be your very best friends, if you give them a chance. Also is a blended friendship group so bad? Friendships don’t have to be so black and white, his and hers. I fear that your old friends have created this line in the sand for you by ostracising you like this. Don’t listen to them. We get back what we give out- if you just be yourself and stop trying to diminish or hide who you are, just for the sake of being liked by everyone (ew!) you will attract some really cool people who are just like you.
For now, I’ll be your friend.
If you have something you are struggling with, please speak to a doctor or a professional. If you are experiencing mental health concerns, please speak to someone or you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.