Relationships at university

When I left for university, I was going through the break-up of a 15 month, very difficult long distance relationship. This break up ruined my summer holidays and kept me very upset throughout my first few weeks at uni, but the constant happenings and new challenges of life away from home distracted me, and my wounds began to heal.

In fresher’s week, a lot of people started dating. I think this is absolutely not the time to be starting a new relationship. You’re caught up in the moment, and could end up with someone you really don’t want to be with, but don’t know how to leave. Being in a relationship takes up a lot of time and effort and in the first few weeks of term at least that time and effort should be spend making huge numbers of friends and working hard, not pinning all your hopes on one person.

Relationships at university are strange. A lot of them are sex driven and turbulent, and filled with fights and affairs. One couple who both live near me cheat on each other repeatedly to make each other feel bad! Maybe this represents the majority of relationships, but in my limited experience (and at a girls’ school, so very skewed) they should not be like that. They should be loving and respectful, and based on you enjoying each others’ company, conversation and shared interests.

On the other end of the scale, I have no problem with public displays of affection (I actually think they’re very sweet) but excuse me if I think you shouldn’t be all over each other in a lecture theatre.

I recently met someone doing a similar course to me, who also goes to brass band and has other shared interests, and we started dating. In many ways this is too soon after my last relationship, but I couldn’t let him slip away. He treats me like a princess, and we can stay up talking from early evening into the early hours of the morning. This is what relationships are supposed to be like I think.

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Visiting the Grandparents

We visit my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family about two to three times a year and I dread seeing them. 

My grandma’s never really liked me, and seems to get on very well with my younger sister and have a huge problem with me. In fact the first thing she said to me when we visited a couple of days ago was that she was sure the reason we were so late (we arrived bang on time) was because I wanted a lie in. I used to try so hard to win her approval, practically starving myself when we were there lest she repeat what she once said, that I needed to keep an eye on what I was eating because there comes a time when we don’t need it. 

She’s fond of backhanded compliments, often saying things like ‘I really like that outfit. That one last time we saw you wasn’t very nice was it? I was worried you weren’t going to turn out very well’. I remember once we visited for the weekend, and for the entire weekend she didn’t once criticise me. I was thrilled! Until I overheard her bitching about me to my parents just before we left.

Twice a year, for birthdays and Christmas, I get a long letter with some ‘life guidance’ from her, filled with criticisms and exemplary extracts from her life story to show me how things should be done. I wouldn’t mind half as much if my sister didn’t receive pages of praise and congratulations. 

I try so hard to love my grandma, and I try never to show her how much she hurts me, and I know that this is the right thing to do, but it’s just so hard! I hope over time it’ll get easier (it’s been 18 years though…)

Long distance relationships

I’ve been going out with my current boyfriend for nearly a year now. At the end of September last year, he moved to London to university, a 3 hour train journey away from me.

Only 4 months into our realtionship, we didn’t know what to do. He wanted to try making the distance work, but I was convinced it wouldn’t work. 8 months later and we’re still going.

This is actually my first relationship and it’s very weird for me. I have no frame of reference for how much I should or would be seeing him, but it seems unfair to me that I only get to spend a couple of days a month with my boyfriend while everyone around me is glued to their significant other. It makes me very jealous when friends see their boy/girlfriends every day.

It’s also hard to be trusting in a relationship like this. We weren’t really friends before we started going out, just acquaintances, so I don’t know his dating history very well, and I do know he’s lied to me a couple of times (abeit very transparently). Sometimes I worry about what’s going on when I’m not there (although he assures me he won’t do anything).

As part of ther generation that we are, we text all the time. This is brilliant for our relationship and makes it a lot easier than I imagine it would be for people in times gone by. It does have some pitfalls though. For one, it’s hard to make sure we get proper talking time in; our relationship tends to fall apart when we haven’t skyped or had a phone call for a while but it’s very easy just to think there’s nothing to say. It also makes it harder for me to drag myself out from the world of technology and pay attention to what’s going on. Finally, it can be hard to convey tone in a text and we end up fighting a lot more than we could.

Some days it feels like it can’t possibly be worth it. The hours of missing him and waiting for him to have time to text me back or phone me are agonising, and I often feel as though we’re going to have to break up soon. I worry that by not breaking up now I’m misssing out on better relationships (I really love my boyfriend but surely it would be easier to go out with someone who lives nearby?).

I guess I just have to trust that one day we’ll be together properly and it’ll all be worth it.