Keep Your Heart Open

I’ve never been with a non “frat boy”. That is honestly kind of scary to admit; and clearly I have a type. Up until this point I have only been attracted to the type of guy that I knew would hurt me. Even in high school, the one guy who I liked throughout all four years ended up being in a frat when he got to college. I have tried for years to go for nice guys who would obviously treat me better than the ones in the past, but for some reason I never have that initial attraction. I am attracted to confident guys and I think some of these “nice boys” tend to be more on the shy side. Considering I have been through heartbreak despite never being in a long term committed relationship, shows how horrible my type is. Again, it suggests that “frat boys” are not the best type of guy to go for if you are looking for more than just a hookup.

I want to give myself the option to be treated the right way. I want to experience what it feels like to be cared about as much as I care about a person. So to try and change my type, I wanted to learn more about non frat guys and how they treat girls; I interviewed someone who is not in a frat. I was not surprised to find that his answers were completely opposite from the frat boys. I think it’s important for me to admit that in the past I have cared so much about how the guy looks. Physical attraction has always been super important to me. But I believe that is why I have had so much trouble in the boy department. I think that maybe that deep down this is me self sabotaging possible connections. After so long of being single and being hurt I think deep down I am scared to let myself be happy. There have been guys in the past who have pursued me and I wouldn’t even give them a chance simply because I wasn’t initially attracted to them. I believe that society has shaped what “attractive” is supposed to be through the media and created these conceptions that someone must be attractive for us to date them. I won’t lie, I do sometimes base on my attraction to a guy on if my friends or other people think he is hot as well. And again, that brings it back to the media ingraining this image of what attractive people should look like. I have recently learned that it is not at all important what other people think; what is important is if that person makes you happy and that is all. I still believe that aspect of a relationship is important but I also believe that I need to be more open to different types of men. If I give certain people a chance that I would not have in the past, who knows, maybe I will find a true connection with someone. The connection is what lasts. In reality, the person marry will not be as attractive when you grow old, so it’s important that you have a string connection.  

I asked this non frat boy the same questions I asked the “frat boys” so that I can get a clear understanding of these two types of men. When I asked him what type of girl he looks for, he responded by explaining that he doesn’t have any specific features that he looks for in a woman. He said, “for me, personality makes a much bigger difference in finding someone attractive. I’m into people who are intelligent, don’t take themselves too seriously, constantly joke around, and are level-headed. Being able to have an open dialogue and talk through any problems that arise between us is something that’s extremely important to me.” When comparing this response to the past responses I got, I was more surprised than I thought I would be. I knew they would be different but it is already so clear that this type of guy is someone who doesn’t only think about himself. He is someone who clearly cares about others and he understands the importance of a connection. This is something that I realized I struggled with in my past “relationships.” I often felt that the connection I had with a person was so strong and always wanted more than I was getting; because of this I would force situations that weren’t ready to go further. I always assumed the guy was feeling the same strong connection. Although some of these guys I was with might have had some type of feelings for me, I am learning now that I exaggerated and overthought everything they would say to me and convinced myself it meant way more than it did. This is where I would run into problems. I would become attached and dreamt about being with this person; those dreams turned into daydreaming, and those thoughts would linger in my head all day long. It became an obsession that I am not proud of but it is the truth. I would think up these circumstances where me and this person would be together, we would be on a date smiling and laughing and kissing. I would think about him surprising me and coming to my house unannounced with flowers. I pretty much imagined a whole relationship in my mind that did not exist. This caused me to expect so much out of someone who wasn’t even ready hook up with me exclusively, let alone date me. 

I have accepted the mistakes I have made, however the reason it got to that point was the result of a frat boy mistreating and leading me on. When I asked this non frat guy what it took for him to commit to someone, he responded with, “I’m always a little scared to fully commit to a relationship. Not because I want the freedom to be with other people, but because gaining that title is a large undertaking if you’re not totally sure. Being someone’s boyfriend is a lot different than hooking up or casually dating them, and you have to be ready for the expectations that come with that. If I commit, it’s usually when I feel very comfortable with someone, at the point in the relationship where I’m still totally enamored, and would be hurt if I saw them with anyone else.” It is clear that a person like this would not lie and lead someone on. If he is going to commit to someone he isn’t going to lie about his feelings because he wants the girl to be honest with him. If there is a real and true connection then it is clear that he will go for it. I then asked him if he enjoyed hooking up with multiple girls. He explained that making even a small connection with someone makes hooking-up way more enjoyable and because of that, finding as many partners as possible never really appealed to him. He isn’t like the “frat boys” in this way at all. He doesn’t have that drive to become an alpha male and he doesn’t have the need to prove himself to anyone. All he cares about is a genuine connection. Of course casual sex can be fun, even I will admit that; but there comes a point when you realize, sex with someone where the connection is mutual can mean so much more. 

The last question I asked him was if he ever thinks about the girls feelings before his own. He responded with this, “While I definitely want to make sure I’m doing what’s right for me, the last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s feelings. I try to be empathetic, and no matter what, I’m always open to talking things out. So far, It’s worked out pretty well. I almost never end on bad terms with people I’ve been with, and I’m still close friends with a lot of girls despite our history. I’m willing to make compromises if it means I can avoid hurting someone I care about. I just try to imagine how the same situation would feel if the roles were reversed, and act accordingly.” When I heard this, all I could do was smile. It was so refreshing to hear that there are actually men out there like this who care about us girls. He gave me hope to keep my heart open. I always wondered if the guys I was with thought about how they would feel if I did the things they did to me. I’m sure the ones I was with did not. But it warms my heart to know that there are guys who do and I cannot wait to find that person who feels this way about me. 

 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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