Cohabitation Sweeping the Nation

Relationships at university are exciting. Young, fun, and sometimes intense. So what happens when two young people decide to move their teenage sex drives and studious responsibilities under one roof and move in together? Louise Cunningham discusses the motivations and results of the decision that can make or break a relationship. 

Historically the idea of a young couple cohabiting was one greeted with distaste and judgment from their community. Due to a gradual change in society’s views on gender roles, marriage, and detaching itself from religious doctrines on sex, the number of couples living together while still at university is on the rise. Now it’s common to know a couple who have made the leap in their early 20s, but does it work while trying to get your degree? On paper the idea seems uncomplicated, romantic. The idealised version is waking up next to your best friend every morning and living in harmony. The reality of the situation is rather different.

I have no experience living with a partner. Three days in my company is the average that anyone has been able to stand. None of my relationships have had enough stability to agree to split the rent. Instead I spoke to a couple who have lived together for the last year and a half. Both girls are students in Glasgow and are one of the most compatible couples I know. It was a surprise therefore to hear that everything was not as easy as they’ve made it look. 

The first point they’re eager to make clear is that naivety was crucial component in their decision. Utterly enamoured with each other after dating for a few months, they decided that living together would be the easiest option. No more crashing in single bedded student halls, or buses to each other’s abodes. Neither is under any disillusionment that they made the decision too early, and without clear idea of how it would play out. Who does know when the time is right, though? The arrangement has broadened their understanding of not only each other, but themselves. 

Perhaps the sweetest sentiment comes in a passing comment, though. “We’re going through the same thing, and it’s a lot more supportive when you know someone appreciates your work load and makes their own sacrifices”. This is undoubtedly the upside of living with your partner: being in a comfortable environment with someone who encourages you. Having them there to watch Game of Thrones with. Having someone who loves you despite the fact you’ve not showered in four days and have had two separate panic attacks due to upcoming deadlines. Having someone to proof read your essay at 3am. Certain factors are inevitably going to change when moving in with a partner. 

Sex. Something that develops with time through any relationship, but how does it change while living together? The couple explained to me their main issue that arose in the bedroom, or living room, occasionally shower, was making the time to priorities. They talked about the easiness of getting into a regime, a pattern that consisted of work, uni and cooking before falling asleep to the sound of Rick and Morty. An issue they’re working to remedy though. Both said that they’ve just got to make time for sex, keeping spontaneity alive and well.

The question of whether living together works while at university seems to be totally subjective. The crucial component appears to be devoting time to your relationship, understanding that some issues take effort to resolve. Adapting to someone else living with you can seem like a daunting challenge, but if both of you commit, it could be one of the most rewarding factors of your life.