Keeping up a relationship whilst at university can be difficult but follow these simple tips to make sure your bae stays your bae...
When it comes to relationships, university students normally sit in one of two camps: one half are living la vida single, wanting to gain new experiences and meet lots of new ‘special friends’. The other half are those of us who pretty much settled down out of the womb, or desperately want to. There is nothing wrong with either of these camps, each have their ups and downs, and can both be incredibly rewarding. However, for some students it can be a bittersweet deal, being happy in their relationship but feeling as though they are missing out on the adventures of single life at university. For anyone who’s struggling to balance their committed relationship with the pressures of being young and wild at uni, or for those about to start uni who are worrying about what will happen to their relationship, here is my advice to you:
Sixth-form is often when we enter into our first long-term relationships - that’s by no means the rule for everyone, it’s simply the point at which teenage relationships tend to switch from lasting two weeks to lasting a year or so. University is a time in our lives where we change hugely as people over a few short months and naturally some couples grow into different people over this time. It can be hard to admit but some people reach the natural end of their journeys together and spend long, painful months trying to fix something that doesn’t suit either of them anymore. Be sensible and take a long, hard, honest look at your relationship. Are you the same person you were going in? Do you still compliment each other?
Put in and make sure you get back Maximum effort
If you’re part of team long-haul, make sure travelling to each other is shared equally. If your other half is perfectly happy to let you pay a small fortune in train fares to spend every weekend journeying back and forth, it’s time to talk to them about bumping up their effort. Make sure you don’t get so lost in your new life that you haven’t returned a single text all week, while separate lives are healthy, forgetting the other person’s existence is not.
Don’t lose focus of priorities
When revision time hits (and yes your degree is still a top priority no matter how in love you are), an increasingly common tactic is to video call each other to revise. If, and I mean IF, you can avoid distracting each other, it can feel like you’re spending time together even when you’re being productive. Remember, there’s no point putting your relationship through the strain of university if you don’t do university.
Don’t be a bindweed
Whether you’re long distance or at the same campus, this can be the most important thing to remember. You are two separate people who need two separate, fulfilling lives. If your partner thinks they might want to join a new team, encourage them to do this. If they want to go on that field trip that looks amazing, support this decision. Also, make sure they are doing the same to you. It can often be harder for one person than the other for many reasons, but a mature, stable relationship allows both people to grow and enjoy their lives to the full. If one partner clings too hard, they will suffocate the other.
Beware of the citrus soul
If the temptation of freshers’ hook-ups and living with the opposite (or same) gender in halls is too much for you, it’s kinder to walk away as friends before someone makes a mistake. Are you going to spend the rest of your life wishing you’d been able to have the same experiences as your single friends, feeling like you missed out? In a happy, healthy relationship you shouldn’t feel like you’re disadvantaged, so if you’re going to feel like a bitter lemon forevermore: it’s time to re-evaluate. It can also be hard to dodge peer pressure of single friends who moan that you shouldn’t be so committed at such a young age, in this case, my favourite tactic is to hardcore wing-woman. Pull vicariously, through your mates, knowing that you can never come home unsuccessful when you’ve already got someone to come home to.
If you go to the same uni, it can be easy for some couples to agree to move in together when it comes to looking for a house for second or third year. If you only got together with your partner in freshers, please do not plan to live together in second year. The house hunt starts as early as November for some, when you will still be comfortably absorbed in the honeymoon phase of your newfound love. It's not the time to sign a legally binding contract promising to live with that person starting from the following September. A lot can happen in a year. If you’ve been together longer than this and feel that you’re ready to share nests, please don’t be offended if your other half doesn’t feel the same way. Everyone moves at different paces and it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, it just means they’re not quite ready for such a big change, which is perfectly fine.
At the end of the day, you get out of a relationship what you put into it. In true cliché form, trust and communication are key. Hey, there’s a reason they’re clichés, right? Remember that in a relationship, happiness always comes first. To make each other happy you must not stop each other achieving your individual goals, make sure you build your own separate, fulfilling lives. Your partner should improve your life, not be your life, and vice versa.
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