A girl’s guide to negotiating freshers’ when you’re in a relationship

You don’t need to be single to enjoy freshers week!


Freshers’ week is universally infamous for being all about non-stop partying and hooking up with strangers. Even Hollywood films insist on confirming the cliché you will meet your soulmate within the first week at University. The implication of all of this is obviously that you need to be single. So, what if you’re in relationship?

I got together with my boyfriend just over a month before I was due to head to Uni. Having re-sat his AS year, he was going to be staying at home to finish his A-levels. We both knew this meant that we were going to be in different cities come September.

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He was very positive and supportive of about me starting Uni. However, there were a lot of people who said long distance wouldn’t work. Eventually I began to doubt whether it was the right decision. I worried I might be alienated from my flatmates because I was in a relationship. Would I be missing out on a ‘proper’ first year experience if I wasn’t single? And was it fair to make my boyfriend ‘wait’ for me at home whilst I was off having fun at Uni?

I discovered that three of my other flatmates also had boyfriends. I assumed that it would be these girls that I stuck with- but I was wrong. Luckily, I was fortunate to have absolute gems as flatmates who were all super cool with me being in a relationship and I didn’t feel left out at all! I went out with everyone as normal and definitely don’t feel like I missed out- I had just as much fun as the others who were single!

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Obviously if you’re wanting to get with lots of people during fresher’s week then being in a relationship is a problem. But otherwise, my experience has taught me that fresher’s week doesn’t have to be any different just because you’re in a relationship. Fresher’s week, like you’re whole University experience, is what you make it.

It can be tempting to feel like you have to pick a side. However it’s important to find a balance. You will (hopefully) be experiencing so many new and exciting things that it can be easy to forget about people at home. Equally, you don’t want shut yourself off from your flatmates and course friends because you’re worried about your relationship. Before I moved to Southampton, Joe and I agreed he wouldn’t come and visit me until after the first two weeks. Afterwards, he told me it was because he wanted to give me space to settle in. Although it was tough not seeing him all the time, he was right. Those first two weeks were really important for establishing friendships and getting used to living away from home.

Of course, I still involved him in what was going on. I introduced him to my flatmates over FaceTime. Everyone was very friendly and would always come and say hi if they heard I was on the phone to him. I was nervous about his first visit because I really wanted them to get on. However I didn’t need to worry. He knew how important they had become to me and made a real effort to get to know them. Now they talk all the time- they even came to his surprise birthday in December!

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It’s been just over a year now and we’re still together. We’re living proof that long distance relationships at uni aren’t doomed from the start. In many ways, not being in the same place as your boyfriend or girlfriend can be a positive thing for your relationship! I found that the distance meant that we appreciated the time we had together more. It also gives you the space to form closer friendships with your flatmates/friends as you’ll spend more time with them than you might if your boyfriend was in the same city.

Although it’s not always easy, it does get better once you’ve settled into a routine. Surrounding yourself with supportive people really helps too. It’s sad but not everyone wants you to be happy. Founding a good support network is your secret to a fun-filled freshers’ week – whether you’re in a relationship or not!