A student’s survival guide to dating a non-student

In the bubble of student life, it can be strange to date someone who is outside of university. I am a student, and my boyfriend of two years is a fully-fledged member of the working world. Dating someone from the “real world” can be hard, so here are some survival tips for dating a non-student.

Blame the mess on your housemates. Then clean up later.

You’ll find yourself constantly apologising for “your housemate’s mess” even though you both know it also yours. To survive this situation, remain unsuspicious by blaming your housemates. “For Goodness sake, Sarah left her pan to soak again…” Then wash it up later when your partner isn’t looking. Or better yet – hang out at his house.

Schedule date nights

In a shared house and university lifestyle, it’s almost impossible to get alone time. You will have several third wheels, all the time. Your boyfriend won’t always get the inside jokes. Your housemate will probably walk in on you having a sneaky snog. Sometimes you’ll have to disappear for two weeks to meet a deadline. How to survive? Schedule regular date nights to show your partner he’s a priority. (And save the making out for your lockable bedroom when you get back).

Find cheap and free ways to hang out

I find I always owe my partner money, but I’m always too poor to pay him back. I feel like “I’ll get the next one” are my (and maybe every student’s) famous last words. Compromise by finding things to do that suit both your budgets. It’s awkward – but talk about what you’re able to spend. Find places that do a good student discount, and show him you’re making an effort by planning romantic times together that don’t cost money.

The student lifestyle is a rollercoaster of activity – but there’s no reason why a relationship with a non-student can’t add to your experience. In fact, coming from different worlds not only gives you lots to talk about, it enriches your life and perspective. You can survive!

Libby Toogood


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