By Katie Lewis
You might be able to visualise the finish line at the end of your degree by now, as for some of us, we are just months away from graduation. Finishing university is a big feat, but what happens next? If you’re in a relationship, you’re likely to have already had some discussions about life after university. I’m going to discuss a few of the scenarios graduating couples may be facing.
Are you moving in with your significant other for the very first time? If so, it can feel quite daunting, as you might be accustomed to your current routine, but change is healthy, so embrace it. I’m a third year, who’s had a boyfriend at university for the entirety of those years and haven’t yet lived with him. It’s something I’m excited about, but I’m not without my reservations. I’m going to discuss some common fears associated with moving in with your partner and look at them realistically.
Firstly, what if you disagree on things? For starters, this likely already happens to an extent, and disagreements are a natural part of any relationship. The way to solve disagreements is usually through compromising, which is something you’ll definitely have to do when you live together. For example, if you can’t cook very well and your partner can, offer to clean up afterwards. This give and take mentality is a good indication of a healthy relationship.
Another thing that may weigh on your mind is worrying that you may never have peace and quiet again. Maybe you might find the idea of sharing all of your personal space with someone quite overwhelming, but don’t overthink it. If you’re currently in a house share with your friends, it’s likely that when you aren’t with them, you spend some time in your room alone. If, like me, you treasure an hour or so alone each day to do your own thing, you might worry that you won’t have that opportunity when you live with your partner. If your partner is aware that you aren’t ignoring them because you’re sick of them, and that it’s because you want some peace, they should understand where you’re coming from. I think it’s healthy to have some down time away from each other for a short while, because living in each other’s pockets might put strain on your relationship. Especially if you’re finding all the changes stressful or intense, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to some alone time.
Some of you may be in the unfortunate scenario where you and your partner have been offered postgraduate opportunities in different places. You might worry and think ‘what if we don’t stay together?’. While living apart from each other might seem like a daunting prospect, it is only hard if you make it that way. Hopefully, a long-distance relationship isn’t part of your long-term plan, and you can plan for your future together while you’re apart. Whether you spend a year apart to get your Masters, or to complete a 3-month internship, you’ll be able to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re far away from each other, try to commit to a regular phone call, where you can stay in the loop of each other’s lives and stay connected. The distance might not feel so frightening when you can talk to each other properly one-on-one and comfort one another. You can still support each other from afar and maintain a happy and healthy relationship, even hundreds of miles away.
In reflection of what I’ve discussed, whatever path you are your partner choose after university, the key to maintaining a strong bond is communication and understanding. It’s highly natural that you’ll experience small arguments or upsets as you get used to a new chapter of your life, but talk through your issues, and really listen to each other. Be each other’s support and you will become a stronger couple.