Uni is pretty darn stressful at the best of times, let alone when you have to decide whether or not to live with your partner as a student. For starters you now have to motivate yourself entirely to work, and then you have to cook for yourself and do your own laundry? Ew. Thankfully I was a little prepared in these departments, so I actually got to focus on, y'know, reading an unrealistic amount of literature each week. If you've read my 20 things I won't miss about living in a student house post, then you'll know how stressful I still found the whole shabang!
Me and my boyfriend of almost four years now (whaat?!) started dating early on in our first year, and ended up within the same friendship group. So, it was natural that when we all began house hunting, we were taken as a pair. Our uni was one at which you could only live on campus for the first year, after which you had to move to a (sort of) nearby town and fend for yourself. In the end we were in student housing in Leamington for three years. We both learnt a lot about what it was like to live in such close quarters with a partner, and were also faced with a tonne of prejudice and questions about life together. So, I'm *hopefully* going to dispel some of those prejudices and actually talk about what it was like to live together.
For starters, we never lived on our own, it was always with other people. This actually took the pressure off quite a bit, rather than making things more intense. If we ever fought, or wanted extra space, then we always had someone else to talk to/spend time with. The obvious downside of that is that student houses have small walls, so if we did argue you can be sure everyone who was in the heard. Yes, this did sometimes put them in a bit of an awkward position, but no, we didn't exploit it - it would have been totally unfair to have requested people to take sides, and so we avoided doing that.
I can't even count anymore how many times I've had people say 'oh my god I would HATE that' in a way that suggests I should too. I didn't. Obviously. There are a few things that were a little hateful yes, but I believe we organised our living arrangements in a way that made sure we totally had our own space, and if worst came to worst, we wouldn't be trampling on each others toes all the time after a break-up.
For starters, we made sure we each had our own room in every house we lived in over the three years. Although we had a 'main' room that we shared at night, we had our own separate spaces that we could chill out in, and decorate however we wished. We also had our own friends, as well as the main friendship group we were part of together. This meant that we could go out separately, and weren't totally reliant on each other socially.
Another aspect of life we decided to keep separate as much as possible was food. I am not a sharer by any means, and anyone who has ever lived with me knows that I will absolutely rage if you touch my food without permission. So, I knew this would totally be a point of argument between us if we shared. We probably came together to cook once a week, and tried to eat meals together on other days, but all in all we bought our food separately and cooked whatever we wanted.
Cooking and cleaning are things that possibly cause the most arguments within student houses, perhaps apart from money. You don't want to come across every single plate being hoarded and a little mouldy in someone's bedroom, and sadly this kind of this sometimes takes place. I would say that if you are living with others, make sure everyone has their fair share of chores and attempts to keep the place a little tidy so that you and your partner don't end up stressed out at each other about it.
I've also been told repeatedly that we've wasted some of the best years of our lives by being in a relationship at uni in which you live together (read: well you can't shag anyone else or do it behind their back? Why would you bother?). I've even been repeatedly told that the whole thing was a waste of time because we would just break up as soon as uni was over and we weren't students anymore, and that we should therefore break up. Even though (assumedly) these things came from the heart of the people telling me, it really isn't helpful - don't you think someone who has taken the plunge to do this would have thought things through?
I'm so glad I don't have to endlessly justify myself anymore. And do you know what? Even if we had broken up I wouldn't have regretted our time together. Ultimately I always had someone I could turn to in the darkest hours (literally and metaphorically), who would perk me up when I felt low, and who would have my back in an argument - whether it be with friends, professors, estate agents, or random drunks on a night out. So yes, OMG I lived with my boyfriend whilst I was at uni, and no I don't regret it.
If you have any questions about it, or are thinking of living with a partner at uni yourself feel free to drop me a tweet/DM/email!