“Don’t even think about starting university in a relationship” reads the headline of a recent article in The Guardian, warning all of the country’s fresh-faced uni hopefuls of the unequivocally shitty time they’ll have over the next three years if they fail to abandon their current sweetheart and indulge, instead, in the hedonistic fun-filled paradise that (apparently) awaits them.
Now, as someone who has spent the entirety of their university experience so far in a relationship, and who has, for the most part, enjoyed that experience, I was naturally rather peeved by this smug proposition. Who are these people – these prophetical love gurus – to tell anyone that they’re making some sort of grave mistake? It made me angry, and not even in a ‘put-my-fingers-in-my-ears-la-la-la-I’m-in-love-and-who-are-you-to-doubt-me’ kind of way. I can wholly appreciate that a lot of couples will regret their misguided devotion, which is undoubtedly a shame. And it’s clear that this is the case for the authors of the article, who lament the fact that they were the ‘types’ who ‘went home every weekend to see boyfriends [they] haven’t thought about since 2009’. Not that they sound bitter or anything…Not at all.
Relationships, we’re meant to believe, then, are evil, suffocating you at every turn with their need of responsibility and dedication – the pantomime villains of the student lifestyle. How is one to possibly have a good time, they ask, when ‘you’re phoning your boyfriend and enduring stilted conversation, leaving nights early because he’s coming to stay tomorrow’? Especially when ‘he’s probably thinking the same’?
What is evident here is the distinct absence of logic that undermines the whole piece. Did they never think, when the conversation was ‘stilted’ and they were feeling somehow burdened by the opportunity to see their loved one, that maybe then would be a good time to break it off? If they kept their relationship going through uni while, all the time, they saw it as a nuisance, then they were not the victims of their courting, but, rather, their own stupidity. It’s moronic to be aware of the negative effect your relationship is having on your life and not consider ending it. For many, the likelihood that you’ll come to regret a relationship you’re not fully committed to is just common sense.
But not all relationships are plagued in this way nor are they doomed to flop. God forbid you actually have feelings for your partner. That’s irrelevant, apparently. Emotions, and – now this is a crazy concept – love, are completely disregarded here. You actually want to give it a go? And you really believe you’re into them enough to not be tempted by ‘the corridors of attractive, intelligent, first-time-away-from-home freshers’?
Forget it. Throw it all away, heartbreak yourself, and buy into our delusional student utopia, where the grass is always greener if you’re willing to forget everything from your sad, naff former life. Of course uni can be the most enjoyable years you ever have, but there’s nothing to say you have to be single for this to be true. Stay in a relationship, if you want. Have the best of both worlds, if you can. And if you feel that you can’t, then end it. Do whatever you please, being happy at uni will not be dictated by whether you’re loved up before, during, or after those three (or more) years.