Advice

#AskAlice – Do relationships at university work?

By Alice Dent

This is an interesting question, and one which I’m sure a lot of people will have their own take on. The ultimate answer to this is that every relationship is entirely different, with no special list of requirements that you must fulfil in order to succeed. It goes without saying that there are a multitude of variables that come into play. So, I can only speak with reference to my own experiences.

Personally, I think that university relationships are not usually as easy as they may seem. Those of you who live far away from your other half will probably be cursing at me as you wistfully imagine all the time that university couples can spend together; all those cosy nights spent in bed with a film, and those mid-week outings spent drinking cocktails, blinded by the sight of each other’s beaming smiles.

The reality is, however, very different. If you get too comfortable with one another, sweet date nights and walks in the park can often be swapped for a situation where your most frequented hang-out spot is the Newspaper Room in Bute Library. Your idea of a romantic meal for two becomes a shitty pasta bake consumed on mismatching cutlery in your student house, sandwiched on a dusty sofa in between your housemates.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for university relationships to work, you need balance. Make a conscious effort to give each other space, even if you would rather spend every moment of the day with them at first. It’s healthy to have separate friends and different interests. If you’re both at the same university but have your own separate endeavours, it can make life easier.

I met my own boyfriend in Fresher’s Week of my first year (we are now both going into our fourth years and celebrating our 3rd year anniversary). I love him to bits, but we haven’t had the easiest of rides. Getting into a relationship at the start of university will mean that your friendship groups will often overlap, or in some cases, become exactly the same. By the start of third year we found ourselves in a situation where we were practically living together, socialising together and on top of that, running the university magazine together.

As much as we loved each other’s company, we were beginning to lose sight of what we loved about the other person. We decided that it would be the best idea to take time apart for a month – no speaking, texting or socialising. Although this was so difficult, it actually worked wonders. Despite feeling as though my left arm had been cut off, I spent the month remembering all the reasons why I missed and appreciated him. I’m not saying everyone has to go down this route- hopefully it won’t come to that. My advice is just that sometimes, absence can make the heart grow fonder. University relationships can absolutely work- just make sure you don’t sacrifice your own individual lives, because it can only be detrimental in the long run. You’ve got the rest of your lives to live in each other’s pockets!

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