How to Turn a Hookup into a Relationship

Ever take the walk of shame? That is, hook up with a guy one night (usually after substantial drinking and flirting) only to wake up in the morning in sheer humiliation while you slink out of his house or apartment wondering why, oh why, you blew a potentially good relationship by diving into it head first and drunk to boot?

Truth is, you didn't necessarily blow it. Developing a relationship with someone you got to know through a purely sexual encounter isn't unheard of. But it will require four things:

1. Humor
Being able to laugh at your outrageous libidos is important. Not only does humor release some obvious tension about what transpired the night before, but also it serves as a starting point for friendship, an important foundation to all good relationships. If you wake up from an unexpected hookup and feel that there's a potential for love, just start laughing about the situation you find yourself in. Hey, it may even lead to another roll in the hay, which might also be good for stress relief.

2. Communication
Being able to talk about the hookup, as well as your interest in something more, is key to turning a single sexual interlude into a relationship. Start by expressing what the one night stand meant to you -- even if it was spurred by your drunken libido. Uttering things like, "You know my body can't forget you since that night we got together," or, "I wanted to tell you how amazing you were last weekend. I just can't get you out of my mind," are sure to flatter him, which in turn will make him want to see you again -- both in and out of bed.

Then, whatever you do, don't play games. Be honest and upfront and tell your love interest that you really want to see him again -- to get to know him in other ways. Explain that a good friendship and honest communication are as important to you as great sex and that you're interested in seeing if there might be something more emotional and intellectual, rather than just chemical, between the two of you.

3. Strong Self-Esteem
Turning a hookup into a relationship requires taking a risk, and part of that risk is that your efforts may fail. In other words, the man in question may not be interested in pursuing a relationship with you, and that is fair (albeit depressing). Since you can't control or manipulate this person into falling in love with you, it will be important to remain confident in yourself throughout your attempt. Remind yourself that you are a woman worthy of love and a positive relationship.

4. A Second Start
If your former hookup also expresses a desire to see what might happen between the two of you, it's important to give your relationship a new beginning -- one that isn't based entirely on lust (although if lust is present, by all means play it up!). Plan a date that involves an exorbitant amount of interaction, such as making dinner together or taking a challenging hike or bike ride. The more you interact, the more you can assess how good this former hookup might be in the long term.

So remember ladies, all is not lost if you let libido go. Make sure, if a relationship is really what you're after, that you spend some quality time elsewhere besides between the sheets. But a sheer hookup every now and then never hurt anyone.

Julia Bourland is a sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving Your 20s With Savvy, Soul, and Style.

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