Heather Pantling offers her top ten tips on dating, for freshers and older students alike. Of course, rules were made to be broken and we believe that as long as your relationship is healthy and consensual you can't go far wrong. Always remember the three 'C's': consent, communication and contraception. Not dating doesn't make you a 'failure', but if you are part of the dating scene, here are some tips from Heather to consider.
The university dating game is somewhat of a unique phenomenon. Just when you think you’ve grasped the rules of the dating game, the ingrained etiquette of meeting that special someone is exercised in vain.
Here are 10 tips to help avoid a broken heart.
1. Don’t date within friend groups or, if you can help it, within halls.
This is likely the MOST important piece of advice any fresher can learn. Dating within friend groups is all well and good while the relationship lasts, but if things don’t work out it’s not such a rosy picture. Alliances are formed, friends are lost, breakups are messy. Be careful.
2. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
There is no guarantee that last night’s hook up is going to turn into something serious. A one-night stand is even less likely to develop into anything more, no matter how charming and ‘into it’ you think they may be. So don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a text back, or do just to ask if you’ve found a purse lying around.
3. Define the relationship…or don’t!
'Seeing each other', 'texting', 'hooking up': these terms are usually said under the premise of being mutually exclusive. However, university is in an entirely different universe in dating terms. Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page. If you want to be exclusive, don't be afraid to ask, but be prepared to respect their reply. In the mean time, this is your time to try 'flings', 'open relationships'...you name it, it's on offer!
4. The concept of a date.
The student loan is a constant black cloud that looms over us. The idea of a being traditionally wined and dined is just as likely as Prince Harry following in the steps of his brother and embarking on a career as a mature student. There are loads of ways to have fun on a date without spending excessively - you might be surprised at the way conversation tends to flow on a beach walk!
5. Keep your significant other close, but your friends closer…
This is often a rule that flies out of the window when in the midst of dating. It’s all too easy to become totally infatuated by your new crush and relate every single conversation back to them. Make sure that you keep spending time with your closest friend, otherwise you might end up shooting yourself in the foot.
6. BE HAPPY
No matter how much you crush on the new person, if you’re insecure about the relationship its better to get out sooner rather than later. It’s okay to be jealous, but if it’s a toxic relationship maybe its time to say goodbye. Tip: Listen to your friends!
7. Don’t change yourself!
If your crush starts dropping hints or asking you to live your life differently, get rid…IMMEDIATELY. If they can’t accept you for who you are then they aren’t worth the time of day. Enough said.
8. Be Safe
Yes, we all get caught up in the moment, but this can have some very serious consequences. Understandably, we all have financial constraints, but the union and loads of places around town give out free contraception, so no excuses! Think ahead and if anything goes wrong, get yourself down to Boots for the morning after pill - there’s no shame, and look at it objectively. Most of us cant even work a washing machine…
9. Drunk Texting
You might think this is super cute when you’re hammered in the union, but you will MOST DEFINITELY regret it in the morning. It’s just a big no no.
Don’t go into university expecting to find your soul mate. This is your experience to make the most of, and there are billions of people outside this tiny town, so there’s no needs to hurry into a relationship. Uni is yours. You’re here for 4 years. Take it in your stride.