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When I first met her, she was high on LSD.

At first her smile was endearing, but our kiss took a turn when she started giggling a minute later. She insisted she was okay though, so we continued. Again her smile erupted into laughter — I jokingly asked her if she was on anything other than alcohol. She leaned in, lips lightly touching my ear, and whispered, “LSD.”

After the initial shock,I felt bad for taking a girl who was tripping on acid away from her friends and offered to deposit her back safely in her room, but she insisted on staying to find her group. I was intrigued by our interaction and asked for her number before watching her walk up the stairs and disappear into the crowd.

We had an awkward text exchange three days later, and a slightly less awkward coffee date two days after that. One week later, I woke up next to her in my bed with no recollection of how she had gotten there, still drunk from the night before. The condom wrapper next to my bed filled in a few gaps from the previous evening, but I still wasn’t sure how we had arrived back in my room. Even though I didn't remember anything, I still knew I wanted to see her again.

Our relationship progressed quickly following that night, and our drinking kept up the pace too. After she vomited the contents of a Prospect 11 all over my bed one night, I frantically tried to remove stains from my pillows and sheets before my flight home for fall break. It was two weeks after we had become exclusive, and I was beginning to have second thoughts.

Over fall break I told my mother about the girl I was seeing and tried to explain why I was in need of new sheets. She made sure we were using protection, and then half-jokingly asked, “So do you ever have sex when both of you are sober?”

“Not really.”

While drugs — mostly alcohol — had been a major factor in bringing us together, I realized that I didn’t want it to be the thing that kept us together. But as I took steps to create a more “normal” relationship, she resisted. While our hookups became less dependent on drunkenness, our relationship faltered in other ways. We weren’t trying to keep our exclusivity a secret, but when we were in public she would often act like we weren’t even friends — let alone two people that were regularly going on dates, spending the majority of their time together or having sex (mostly sober).

But it was almost more of a labeling nightmare than an emotional one. We weren’t “girlfriend/boyfriend,” but at the same time we were in an exclusive relationship. We weren’t a “couple” or “dating.” I didn't know what to call us, but most importantly, I wasn’t happy with where we were going. When things only got worse shortly after winter break, I decided to break up with her. But you couldn’t even call it that, since we weren’t even really together.

When I finally did say, “I don’t want to continue doing whatever it is we’re doing together,” I felt like I had flipped a switch. She said she wanted to treat me better, to act like we were actually in a relationship in front of other people and to be a couple. The conversation that I thought would end our relationship turned out to be the beginning of it.

Transitioning from alcohol-induced hookups to a more emotionally-connected relationship wasn’t easy for either of us, but I wouldn’t trade our path for anyone else’s. The beginning of our relationship was intense and exciting, but it wasn’t sustainable. It’s also much nicer to wake up to the smell of her hair on my pillow now, rather than have to clean her vomit out of it.

I don’t think either of us know where our relationship is headed now, and we haven’t really had a clue since the start. But wherever it may lead, I’m glad I’m going there with her.

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