Debate: Committed in Cambridge?

One-night-stands or one love? Is it wrong to be in a relationship at university?

Formals, Cindies, punting… there are so many fantastic things Cambridge has to offer. But does being in a relationship inhibit the full Cambridge experience?

JESSICA MIDDLETON-PUGH argues that a relationship improves the university experience. 

So apparently there’s a 5% chance of making a relationship last through University. I have no idea where that figure is from but I can proudly say my boyfriend and I made it into that 5%.

This is not to say that maintaining a relationship whilst at University isn’t a challenge. For me, long-distance, different years, and different subjects all posed problems. For friends, they found in-college relationships could be a nightmare, with the phrase ‘don’t shit where you eat’ often muttered.

For me, a long-distance relationship was just as hard, and at one point we did break up. I found the experience of being a single girl about town majorly overrated. You also get hurt and strung along, when sometimes you just crave a bit of care and consistency. And sure, it gave my friends a laugh at the time (who still enjoy reminding me of certain poor choices), but I’m a hell of a lot happier in a relationship than I ever was single.

Everyone knows someone who is determined to stay partnerless. There are those who want to focus on their studies, enjoy the social life, or are just too busy. And then there are those who wish to remain ‘uncommitted’, although not necessarily ‘unattached.’ Neither of these choices is wrong per se, but the risk is that if you walk around with anti-relationship blinkers on the right person could pass you by (NB: I said ‘right’ person, not ‘any’ person. Enter into a relationship because you want it, not because you can’t be without it).

If you are single, enjoy it – but don’t limit yourself. The only place your relationship status should be black and white is Facebook. Being a part of a couple doesn’t instantly mean you have to become a social pariah. You can still go to Cindies, still go drunken punting in the summer, still play pub golf, and be safe in the knowledge that you already know all the bad habits of the person you’re going home with, and there won’t be any nasty surprises.

Does this make you want to puke with disgust or jealousy?

LUCY LASSMAN argues that there are bits of university life which you can only enjoy if you’re single.

A dip in The Cam, hide-and-seek in the UL, your drunk picture framing the wall of Gardies; some things are just part of the Cambridge experience. And being single is one of them. Why would you, while spending at least three years of your life in close proximity to the next generation of cancer curers, Prime Ministers and Nobel Prize Winners, commit to one person? What’s fun in going to Cindies and not drunkenly making out with that fresher whose name you’re not entirely sure you ever asked?

University is the best time of your life. So why would you want to spoil it by sharing your experience with another person? What fun is there in ‘telling the grandchildren’ about the things you didn’t do as you had a boy/girlfriend? Because – and yes, sweeping generalisation here – being in a relationship makes you, well, boring.

Shamefully disappearing with your boyfriend on your Girl’s Night Out, going back to his room rather than Cindies after a swap, and actually having plans for Valentine’s Day other than getting incredibly drunk is just dull.

On the other hand, being single gives you something to talk about. The guy who stole my underwear, the nun I met on the world’s worst Walk of Shame, the seven-in-one-night (they counted, not me) – there’s no doubting I keep my friends entertained. I know for a fact my friends’ favourite game is playing ‘Guess Who?’ with regards to who ended up in my bed the previous night. Because, let’s be blunt, casual sex is a fantastic thing. And if someone says it isn’t, or calls you a slut, they clearly haven’t had enough of it or are just plain jealous.

Single means no awkward Facebook status change, no: ‘He looked at another girl. SLAG,’ no denying yourself that bacon sandwich because she’s a vegetarian and the ‘look of meat’ makes her sick, and no worrying about wearing heels because it might make him look short which you know is a sensitive issue.

Being boring and serious is for 10 years down the line with your PWC directorship, five-bedroomed, detached house and stock of Mulberry handbags. For now, take my advice. I love my single life, certainly don’t plan on changing it and definitely will continue proudly putting my hand up when Beyoncé asks me to.

  • Mr.MM

    It would be interesting to see this article from the male perspective. Just a thought there TAB.

  • Booty call

    Why try and find someone to have casual sex with you when you know you can have it on call, pretty much whenever you want?

    • Caian


      GF -> Regular sex (only without the fun of the chase)

  • Lucy

    By the sounds of your night-time antics, the phrase 'Throwing a hot dog down a corridor' springs to mind.

  • Confused

    "Shamefully disappearing with your boyfriend on your Girl’s Night Out, going back to his room rather than Cindies after a swap, and actually having plans for Valentine’s Day other than getting incredibly drunk is just dull."

    The first two are practically the same, and besides it's perfectly possible to do all three even if you are in a relationship…

  • Two words…

    …open relationships.

  • Boring couple

    My girlfriend and I had sex in a punt last night.

  • Lucy Lassman…

    …is now getting facebook stalked by everyone who has read this article.

    • George

      I wish she wasn't so hot, it makes my crabs burn

    • Stalker

      Man that girl can pout

    • Verdict

      Face isn't up to much, would probably still demolish it though.

  • What a trooper


    You must have been raw by the end of it.

    • Lucy

      just for the record, it was only making out with 'seven in one night'.
      plus two of them were gay so they don't really count.

      • in that case

        Might have been worth pointing that out in the body of the article then because when you read "the seven-in-one-night" there's one thing that most people's minds will jump to

  • Sorry Lucy Ladman

    I thought the debate was between being in relationship and being single, not being in a relationship and being a bit of a slut? Seven-in-one-night? Guess who?

    Nice try with the 'if you don't agree with me you're jealous or not getting any'. I'm not jealous and I'm not not getting any but I do think there's a nice middle ground between being tied down and being aggressively, promiscuously single.

    A debate where the single team didn't try to assert their attractiveness by anecdotal boasting might've been nice!

  • TPJ

    I want a committed relationship but my intense U21s training gets in the way.

    • nobody

      likes you

      • TPJ

        YOu havent seen me play rugby for U21s then.

  • Compromise

    Is to have a gal who your seeing but go out an enjoy yourself anyway, just coz ur in a so called relationship doesn't mean u can't get with next ever so often

  • Opinion

    I think the best answer is to do a bit of all of them in your time here. I've never tried the 'get drunk and have casual sex' approach though, personally I enjoy the drawn-out flirting too much to feel the need. I'd imagine a casual drunken shag with someone I didn't know would destroy any future banter potential – plus unless they were particularly bad, I'd probably be too drunk to remember how 'fun' the sex was anyway.

  • David

    Let's not be overly-judgemental or narrow-minded here. Both versions of Cambridge life put forward by Jess and Lucy are neither right nor wrong, nor better or worse, they are simply different lifestyle choices. The point of the argument is that you can have a quiet night in with your boyfriend at any time once you've left university and entered the working world, whereas it'll be much harder to have a big night out with all of your girlfriends once you've all gone your separate ways after graduation. So the appeal of taking the opportunity to have fun, especially since it won't be around forever, is perfectly understandable.

  • Ok so

    Part of your justification for sleeping around is the fact Cambridge places you: "in close proximity to the next generation of cancer curers, Prime Ministers and Nobel Prize Winners"

    What are you expecting… genius gleaned through semen?

  • Voice of Reason

    I'm in a relationship and the only thing I've not done that my single friends have, is sleep with someone new, and some of them haven't even done that.

  • Impressive

    This is prescriptive in ways I didn't even know existed. Well done, Lucy (and to a lesser extent, Jess).

  • Mr. Middleton-Pugh

    Love you bbz xxxxxxx

  • Oh Lucy

    Love you Lucy lu , hurrah for the refreshingly blunt honesty. Both arguments have weight to them for different reasons. Basically, it's entirely down to personal preference at the time.

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