Queenie Chen looks at what it takes to maintain a relationship in the sea of one-night stands that is university life.
My mother is a self-proclaimed love expert, every piece of relationship advice being backed up with half a century’s worth of stories. She also believes that I have reached the stage where she can discuss things with me – like how important it is in a relationship to satisfy one another’s sexual needs. It gets me thinking: is being in a relationship at university really that different, or is there still something to be learned from a middle-aged woman’s advice?
My mother is always giving me advice on what to do if I want a relationship to last. Although, is there any point in maintaining a relationship when we can find someone else just by going to Loop on a Wednesday or joining Tinder? Most of our attitude, especially in our first year, is to have fun: get drunk, have awkward one night stands and countless crazy experiences to drink to during “never have I ever”. Being in a serious relationship seems to have become synonymous with the fear of missing out on fun.
I guess we’ll never know for sure if we have met the right person. I’m not saying you should settle for the first person who buys you a drink, because I’m sure even my mum would agree there is nothing worse than being in an unhappy relationship. However, we need to remember that if you’re with someone you can really get along with, even while doing boring domestic things like helping each other clean your gross student kitchens, then maybe they’re a keeper.
A wise woman (again, my mother) told me that the way to maintain a long relationship is to cover our flaws, because, during the honeymoon period , it is easy to ignore each other’s annoying habits, bad temper, crazy demands. We can even find them endearing. But, as time goes on, it will be something to break up over. Easier said than done, but we should try and be better versions of ourselves for the other person. Ignore those movies that tell you that, if someone loves you, they won’t want you to change, and that they should accept how you are. Sometimes we forget that everyone has room for improvement, even if it is only little things, which is why communication and compromise is so crucial in a relationship.
If you can, don’t talk to each other when you’re still angry, but wait until you calm down. Or even if you have a fight, before saying something hurtful, think about how they also put up with you when you’re having a bad day. An argument is not always a reason to break up, so really try to talk about the problems at hand, and always apologise for mean things said. I can’t guarantee that it will make every relationship work. I’m also not sure how far I can take my mother’s advice and implement it either, but she’s been in a 25- year relationship, so there must be some truth in it.
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