The politics of solitude: being single at university

After seeing the movie One Day, with its majestic views of Edinburgh University and the promise of undiscovered love, I was convinced that Warwick would be the place where I’d meet the love of my life. How could I avoid romantic, tree-bordered walks up to Gibbet Hill, and being gallantly carried back from Skool Dayz after a night out (well, that might have already happened)? However, as Freshers progressed, my romanticised image of university relationships dwindled away, with the single life seeming more vivacious and unpredictable.

Not everyone is a potential partner, but everything is a potential adventure.

Excitement is what drags you in, rapidly yet blindly. Not everyone is a potential partner, but everything is a potential adventure. Within our protected university bubble, being single doesn’t leave you a target for sleazy old locals. Everyone around is intelligent, motivated and of a similar age. However, as time goes by, flings become more and more fleeting and sometimes you need a little more lovin’ than spooning your friend after a messy night out.

There were some who were not blinded by the bright lights of the Fresher’s Parties. Casual conversations started in the kitchen, schedules coincided and ‘I have never’ statements were more and more directed to that person you just seem to click with. Pretty soon couples were cropping up left, right and centre. Of course, the benefits are enviable; someone you connect with, to talk to at any hour, and who conveniently lives around the corner for when you want some… entertaining. Coming to university it’s nice to know that you have someone to cuddle up to at night when the day just hasn’t worked out. This may explain why first week couples are inseparable, having relied on each other from day one. However, on nights out, the negative dynamics of needy relationships can be seen from a mile away.

We all notice the drunken stranger on a night out, walking up to people spouting compliments. For a guy on the pull it is the screaming voice of ‘She’s too pretty to cry!’ that will alert him of vulnerable girls in the vicinity. However the complimenter is usually too drunk, and therefore wouldn’t be paying for their own Viallis: a no go. The girl she is screaming to is calmer, and already kneeling on the floor to comfort a friend so that’s half the job done, a possible contender.

However, it’s the girl she is comforting that the predator locks his eyes on. Vulnerable tears streaming down her face, mention of a guy no-one really likes and desperation in her eyes makes this girl the jackpot. While the predator may be taking advantage, her screams of ‘who, what, where and WHY?!?’ reflect the jealousies of needy relationships. She may be the one crying but after a few ‘feel better’ Jagerbombs, she won’t be able to call herself a victim much longer.

It’s not the drunken partner that betrays the perfect university relationship, it’s the jealousy that arises from your partner being your best and only reliance away from home. Needy relationships often end in these dramatics, suggesting that being single in university isn’t too bad.

You needn’t worry about your social life suffering.

If you like to flirt but don’t want the commitment, stay single! There’s a load of intelligent, good looking people in Warwick waiting to be snapped up. Although remember, while you’re chasing after your Prince/Princess Charming in Neon, many students are only looking for ‘no strings’ relationships, so don’t get too attached.

So I say, experiment, explore, but also embrace what you have. If you’ve found a connection with someone, are having good sex, and are living less than a bus stop away then why not give a relationship a try? The idea that your other half will hold you back socially is all in the mind. If you’ve got as much in common as you did that night you first spotted each other across the seats of the UniExpress, you needn’t be worried about your social life suffering.

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