Should UCAS discourage LTRs at university?

In 2016, UCAS said in their newsletter for prospective students, that your “school boyfriend/girlfriend should not be on your packing list for university.” The leaflet told first year students to “start university life as a free agent.” Couples starting university found the article upsetting. But the question is still real – should you break up with your school boyfriend/girlfriend before starting university?

An opportunity to grow in trust and commitment

Any long term relationship is hard work, but it’s also an opportunity to grow in trust and commitment. Many school/college couples manage to go the distance at university. I asked my friend Amy (21) about her experience “packing” her school boyfriend. She graduated from Cardiff University, and her boyfriend Matt studied at Loughborough. They have been together for five years – three of those long-distance while at university. Amy told me she found long distance rewarding. She says “you learn to fully trust your partner. Long distance relationships give you a chance to experience what full commitment is.” If you’re in a happy relationship, consider trusting it’s strength rather than ending things early and wondering what could have been.

Long distance relationships suit long term commitments

Of course, long distance isn’t without it’s struggles. Amy says “obviously you’re not always with your partner when you’re long-distance. Sustaining a connection can be difficult if you can’t talk or see your partner for long periods of time.” Scheduling time for each other is important in LDRs, it gives you something to look forward to. In the end, long distance relationships suit long term commitments. Having vision for your relationship helps you to see the value in enduring the separation.

Are you in a relationship and heading to university? Take some time to talk about how you both feel about long distance, and your commitment to each other. For some, the time spent long distance will feel insignificant compared to their future as a couple after university. Be honest, talk it through, and decide together. Does UCAS get to decide your future? I’m convinced otherwise.

Libby Toogood


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