The 5 Relationships You Will Experience at Uni

Jess Rayner on the unique dynamics of the university relationship.

boyfriend girlfriend relationship

Unless you really are a social hermit who is disgusted by all members of the opposite and/or same sex, I guarantee that you have experienced some form of relationship at uni.


‘Why is a ‘uni relationship’ any different from a normal one?’ Well, surely the close quarters of halls, the wide choice of possible partners (over 5,000 in Exeter…) and the incestuous nature of students (there’s always THAT guy that 3 of your friends have got with) makes relationships here that bit different.


I’m not going to pretend that I’m a relationship expert (far from actually…) but after plenty of observation and gossip, I’ve been able to compile this list of ‘The 5 Relationships You Will Experience at Uni.’ So, without, further ado: 


1) The Long Distance Relationship


I’m going to start with the long distance relationship as this is the one that I actually have experience with (and I mean LONG distance! Try Australia?).


We’re usually the ones who are well acquainted with Skype, moan loudly about how long it's been since we last saw our other halves and are excellent wingmen/women for our single friends.


There’s also not a great success rate in long distance couples. Your boy/girlfriend can feel left behind or jealous of your lifestyle which can spell disaster. For example, after struggling with a needy boyfriend for months, a friend of mind finally split up with him only to receive an obscene amount of calls per hour for weeks.


However, we don’t have to worry about being rejected by a member of the rugby team or going home alone after a Timepiece Wednesday.


Plus when our other half comes to visit we get spoilt rotten in all sorts of ways… As one of my friends said, ‘you get the best of both worlds! You get the space of a singleton and the benefits of a relationship when you want.’ That’s fine with me!


2) The ‘Friend With Benefits’ Relationship


On the other end of the scale, we come to the infamous ‘no strings attached’, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis arrangement. Perhaps most typical of students – for when else is it socially acceptable to be tempted by a 3am drunken booty text? It’s more or less a mutual agreement, you’re both single, you both want the same thing without the commitment so why not? Can’t really do this when you’re 40, right? 


And, half of the time, you don’t even know you’re in one of these relationships. There’s that guy/girl that you always end up getting with on a night out but you insist ‘you’re not exclusive’ and ‘you don’t really like him/her’. So surely you’re just friends? Or perhaps you wouldn't even label yourselves as that close?


However, there is the age old argument that there’s no such thing as ‘no strings’. One of you gets emotionally attached and wants something more. More or less, these relationships never seem to end well. Thank god your ‘friend’ wont be around much…except, as luck would have have it, aren't they in your block/seminar/friendship group? 

3) The ‘Old Married Couple’


Those couples who are always together, finish each others sentences, and refer to themselves as ‘we’. Was there any point in you two paying for separate rooms? 


So, this might sound a bit bitter. I mean, it is possible to meet the love of your life at university, Kate and Wills did it! And if you’re in a relationship here, it’s hard not to spend time together in the close quarters of campus.


Your boy/girlfriend will also have seen you in all sorts of states; the ‘sweatpants and un-showered studying’ you, the ‘hungover and dry-heaving’ you, so they must (have to) love you for who you are!


But the reason I’ve coined this type of relationship as the ‘old-married couple’ is that they seem to age a bit. They prefer to stay in and watch TV than hit the town and play tennis doubles with another ‘old married couple’ than have a cheeky pint at the Impy. 

4) The ‘Friend-Zoned’ Guy


So technically, this isn’t a relationship and why have I said guy and not girl? Firstly, it still requires two people (even if the input on one side isn’t quite as eager as the other) and, come on, have you ever met a friend-zoned girl? 


For those of you who are un-familiar with the term ‘friend-zone’ – it basically means a situation where you really like someone, you’re really close, you talk all the time but they only see you as a friend. If in doubt, check out the film ‘Just Friends’ or just scroll and I’m sure that’ll clear things up! These guys are easy to spot.


They’ll post hundreds of links to the girl in question's Facebook and barely receive a measly ‘like’ back, they’ll be carrying her heavy books to the library and looking on angrily while she’s dancing with another guy on a night out. Get the picture?


And I’m not saying that the girl doesn’t like him. He’s probably the one that she texts until 3am and has movie nights with but she doesn’t see them as dates. This guy is like a brother and she describes him as ‘sweet’ and ‘cuddly’. Deep down she knows the guy likes her but politely ignores it or cruelly takes advantage. After all, who else will give her a piggy back from Arena when her feet are hurting?

5) The Haunting ‘One-Night-Stand’


You’d recognised him from your seminar and had always thought he was cute. You’d already had 5 double vodka and cokes and thought one more one couldn’t hurt. It was only polite to let him walk you home. Only now you’re waking up next to him, wondering where your bra is and how you’re going to get rid of him. And in the harsh light of your Friday 9am, it doesn’t look like it was such a great idea after all.


Welcome to the one-night-stand that you will never quite forget. If you’re lucky, you’ll only see them for one hour a week when you don’t even need to make eye-contact. If you’re not so lucky, it’ll turn out they’re best friends with one of your housemates, has the same love of Friday Timepiece and picked the same modules as you next year. 


You could embrace it, make it into a personal joke and maybe even become friends. Or you could ignore him/her at all costs, find out their timetable to avoid impromptu meetings and run in the opposite direction if you see them in the library. Obviously the smoother choice…

So there you have it! You now fit into a category! Unless you’re single…