With infinite new people to meet and endless spaces to meet them, university seems like the ideal place to meet a partner. Everyone is constantly asking themselves “Who am I?”, “What do I want?” and “Who do I want?”, making navigating relationships at university more exciting and fun yet confusing and difficult. 

Often those big, scary and unanswered questions are the reasons why relationships for young people come to an end.The pressure from society and peers to make the most of the ‘uni experience’ is also damaging to young people’s relationships. It means that people often cheat on their partners, without even feeling as if they have done something wrong. Many believe that by hooking up with a friend or a stranger, they are simply exercising their right to the ‘uni experience’. 

Because of the elusive ‘uni experience’, many prospective students choose to break up with their partners before they start university. It is either because they feel like by staying in a relationship, they will miss out on something, or as a result of fears of cheating. However, there are others who start university in relationships with their hometown partners.

The Badger interviewed a student who was in a relationship with her partner of five years when she started university. They met when they were just 14 years old through mutual friends. For university, they both moved away from home for the first time to opposite ends of the country.

Change, both external and internal, seemed to be a major reason for their relationship coming to an end. When the student was asked why she believed that her relationship ended, she replied: “Growing up and becoming different people. Uni kind of accelerated that. It felt like without hometown drama we had nothing in common.” Communication was another considerable issue. “I felt like no matter what I did, our communication could never be the same as it was at home when we saw each other pretty much everyday,”

When The Badger asked how she felt when the couple broke up and if she was heartbroken, the reply was: “It ended on ok terms. We said we’d stay friends but we don’t really speak anymore. Weirdly, I didn’t feel that sad. I felt relieved. I did cry a bit.” It seemed like their breakup was a case of a long relationship running its course. The mutual nature of their breakup seemed to make things better. Maybe that was why their relationship did not end in heartbreak.

The Badger interviewed another student whose relationship did end in heartbreak and on one person’s terms. She told us she met her girlfriend at university. “We started off as friends, then one night things got flirty in the club and I ended up sleeping in her bed for a week.” Their relationship lasted a few months. “She broke up with me. We had a big fight over something small and she told me she had never really wanted to be with me.” 

Ultimately, the relationship ended because the pair were seeking different things from it. “We weren’t on the same page. I wanted to be with her. She just wanted a shag. But we never talked about what we wanted from each other so that led to a lot of confusion and resentment.” Poor communication meant that the breakup came as a shock for the student. “I was so heartbroken! I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could’ve done things differently to make her like me. It was like something out of a movie. I got really drunk and cried in the shower. It was humiliating to know that I liked her way more than she liked me.”

Categories: Features

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