Can Love Work At Uni?

University is said to be the place where you meet your lifelong friends, find yourself and in some cases meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But does university actually take a toll on relationships? We asked UCLan students to complete a survey to find out what everyone really thinks about university and relationships.

At university you are bound to meet new people and connect with different people on different levels. This is one of the main reasons as to why 63% of students who answered our survey said that they have been told not to go to university in a relationship.

The stereotype for a first year student is that they go out an awful lot; drink a lot more and events tend to happen with people they meet. Whether this is true or not for an individual, many comments from the survey showed that socialising with new people at university and alcohol can be a big factor in putting a strain on a relationship.

When asked if they thought university can affect relationships in a bad way one student commented, “It can, as some people develop a social life that they wouldn’t have had previously. And sometimes when people are missing their partner they can turn to others for affection. However, I’d say healthy relationships shouldn’t be affected. It just requires more effort and often, expense to see each other.”

Emily and Jimmy in Boston

Taking a more positive view on relationships and university the survey showed that when asked if they had gotten into a relationship since coming to university it is split equally at 50% and 66% of students said that they had not broken up with their partner since coming to UCLan.

But as the student said previously, being in a relationship whilst at university may require not just more effort but more money in order to see each other.

Emily Rose, a first-year languages student, has been in a long distance relationship since July 2013 with Jimmy, an American student who lives in Boston. Originally from Devon, Emily has been missing the company of her boyfriend even more due to the lack of communication since starting university.

“Ever since Jimmy and I started university we have definitely been talking to each other less,” Emily told Pluto. Before university, the pair had part time jobs which helped pay for flights to see each other in July 2013 and June 2014 for a month at a time or longer. Now they are both at university, Emily doesn’t have a part time job and didn’t think she would see him until next summer.

But, Emily saw Jimmy for 20 days over the Christmas and New Year period for his birthday. “It was a spontaneous decision that I had made at 3 in the morning, and I took £500 out of my savings account to afford a ticket.”

21% of students who took the survey consider themselves to be in a long distance relationship. When asked about their opinions on long distance relationships one student said “It’s hard, but having been together for 4 years already, I would not let university break us up. Being in a committed relationship should never stop people going to university either. If you have a genuine future together, then your partner should support your decisions.”

Another student said, “I don’t understand it, if you don’t see someone months at a time I don’t see the point, but I’ve never been in love. Maybe if you love someone it’s better to see them every couple of months than not at all.”

Whilst another commented,” It only works if both people trust each other highly and remain in contact regularly. The relationship needs to be stable.”

The factors that students feel affect a relationship the most at university are distance, alcohol and new friendships. Meeting new people at university, especially during freshers can lead to new relationships emerging.

The Guardian did a piece about relationships and university last year and they found that 29% of females and 28% of males said that they had cheated on their partner. Although this may not seem high just the thought of your partner cheating on you whilst they are at university may cause paranoia.

Student Bean's Sexual Partners Survey from 2014
Student Bean’s Sexual Partners Survey from 2014

The Student Beans do an annual sexual partners survey and last year UCLan was number 9 on the list. Their survey showed that on average the UCLan student has 7.03 sexual partners during their time at university. Now does this mean that we are all at it like rabbits or are we just no good at holding onto relationships here at UCLan? Last year the Guardian found that 51% of students have had a one night stand at university whilst 39% of students said they expect to find their lifelong partner at their university.

Pluto’s survey showed that 59% of students who answered are currently in a relationship. The survey showed that UCLan students believe relationships can work whilst at university but it is all dependants on the people involved.

Personally being in a relationship I am going to say yes, I think the mix of relationships and university can work in a hope that mine will have a good outcome. But I also think that the stress of university, the social side of things and money can play a big factor into testing relationships. As a first year my work load isn’t as heavy as those in their final year so I guess I am lucky I have a lot of spare time to do my work, socialise and have time for my boyfriend. Overall I believe it depends on the individuals in the relationship, if you really want it to work then nothing will stop that.

What are your views?  Let us know what you think by tweeting us @UCLanPluto or visit our Facebook page.

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