We all have a friend or five that have told us: ‘You can’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend at uni’. ‘You won’t embrace the uni lifestyle properly’. ‘It’ll be so hard’.
It’s commonly thought that having a relationship, particularly with someone from back home or at a different university, is impossible. For some reason, it is almost looked down upon to come to university in a relationship. People even seem shocked that you are willing to give it a go.
Google’s top search results for ‘Relationship at Uni’ include: ‘Don’t even think about starting university in a relationship’ (The Guardian) and ‘Why you should never get into a relationship at uni’ (The Tab). This view is narrow-minded and quite frankly amusing because it assumes that one comes to Uni looking for love and/or sex which is not always the case. Although of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to find this either.
The stereotypical fresher’s experience often involves being single and ready to mingle. But do not let your friends convince you that you need to be single to go out and meet new people.
You do not need to be single to meet new people, go out or join societies and clubs. You do not need to be single to make the most of your fresher’s experience.
It is reassuring to know that many couples thrive in their relationships throughout Uni and have positive experiences with long-distance. Although this may sound obvious, it is essential to remember that a relationship should consist of two different people, leading separate lives and sharing those with each other. It does not need to be two people trying to lead the same life and spending every waking hour together. Therefore, keeping a relationship alive while being at Uni is entirely possible and enjoyable.
Being apart from each other gives you more to talk about, more space to grow and allows you time to improve yourself. And as cliché as it sounds, time apart does make the heart grow fonder. Plus, you get to explore your new city together when they come to visit and go elsewhere for a weekend, too.
Being in a long-distance relationship is not for everyone, though. This explains why some people may try and convince you that they do not work.
Do not fall victim to this scaremongering and be optimistic because it is likely that if you are in a happy relationship that it’ll work for you.
But these changes will not fall comfortably into place straight away. Here are some tips for learning how to deal with coming to grips with this new change in your relationship:
- Maintain contact, even about the small things. Keep them in the loop about your course and new friends etc. But don’t overdo it, you don’t need to FaceTime every night for two hours.
- Plan ahead and look forward to your time together.
- Make sure to keep in their loop! Ask about their lives, remember events that you may need to wish good luck, for example.
- Work out a plan of how often you will see each other and most importantly, stick to it. Ensure the money spent and time spent travelling is split equally between you.
- Be honest with each other when you are finding it tricky. These things are good to talk about.
- Be optimistic! Be grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on the fact that you don’t spend all the time in the world for each other.
Being in a long-distance relationship does not work for everyone, but if it suits you, then let it thrive. You can enjoy your freshers experience while maintaining a relationship with someone elsewhere, as long as you know that the misconception of freshers all having to be single is exactly that.