Continuing a relationship at the beginning of university can be a tough endeavour. Going long distance, partying too much (is there such a thing as a fresher?), and meeting new people can often end in tears and heartbreak at both ends of the phone. However, it doesn't have to be this way. David Strachan shares his thoughts on why he chose to maintain his relationship - and still had the college experience while doing it.
On the Sunday after Freshers’ Week, I was on the phone with my brother. We were talking about my time at college, and he asked how the parties were at St Andrews. I said they were great - I always had a good time and made a bunch of friends. And then he asked how the girls were. I told him that I was still with my high school girlfriend.
“Oh, no…that’s not what you want in college,” he said.
Which seemed strange to me, considering I was in a healthy relationship which was exactly what I wanted. However, my brother (and many others) seem to think that coming to college in a long-distance relationship simply can’t work, or, at least, shouldn’t work. The main reason I have heard repeated by nearly everyone I have talked to is that the time spent talking to my girlfriend would be time not spent with the people who I was supposed to be making friends with.
My girlfriend and I were very aware of the pros and cons of staying in a relationship at college. We’d talked about our plans for what seems like the entirety of the summer. And, along with everyone else, we decided that we didn’t want our relationship to affect our time spent with others. So, for a while at college, we were single. However, after some time, we both agreed that it wasn’t what we wanted. In that same conversation, we both acknowledged that telling friends and family members that we were back together would be difficult. After all, when I revealed to my parents we were breaking up for college, all I got was praise.
“You’re so mature!”
“I wish I was as smart as you two!”
That kind of thing.
So, we agreed to be careful when explaining that we were back together. We prepared a defence—a “Why We are Doing This” to counter the inevitable “Oh No”s and “That’s Not What You Want”s.
So, without further embellishment, here is my version of what we came up with:
“About my girlfriend and I. We’re back together. And I know you think that might be a mistake—that our shared experiences aren’t worth losing time with other people, and that we should be exploring who we are without a relationship tying us down. But, the thing is, we communicate. Spending time with friends is important to us. So, we plan how much time we spend together. And we talk about our relationship a lot.
If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because sometimes it is. But that’s work that we’re both very willing to do. We love each other. We grow and explore through each other. We both love getting calls. We send each other letters. We tried being single, and it didn’t seem like it was for us. We’ve talked about whether we want to take a break, or if that’s something we might try again in the future. If this sounds like it’s coming from a college freshman who may or may not know what he’s talking about, that’s because it is.
We’re two people who are willing to make this work. Who are making this work. Because it’s worth it. Believe me when I say I’ve thought about this a lot. Yes, I’m a college freshman. Yes, I have a lot to experience, my view may change. But right now, I’m doing what’s best for me. Trust me.”