When I came to university in September of 2014 I had only started dating my boyfriend four months earlier.
Originally from Vaughan, the two of us spent the summer together. But, as it happens, summer flew by and by the time I was supposed to leave, I genuinely cared for a person who I would have to leave behind.
He is three years older than me and goes to school in Toronto, so not only were we a “new” couple but we were parting ways for the first time.
My feelings that year were rocky. It was hard for me living in residence, my first time away from home, yet tied down in a long-distance relationship.
And it was hard for him too, because he recognized that I was surrounded by a bunch of college boys who counted each girl they had sex with as a “kill.”
But we made it through and now I am in third year and comfortable with my relationship status.
Many people in university may believe that being in a long-term relationship can ruin their university experience — these are the years for having fun! But, the more I talked to others in long-term relationships, the more I realized that it’s not so bad after all.
Bethany Yam is a second-year health science student who has been dating her boyfriend since grade nine. Being in a similar situation as me, with her boyfriend attending university at McGill instead of Western, Yam notes that things were difficult at the beginning.
“It was such a big change because we grew together in high school and I was just so used to him being there all the time, like physically, but when we got into first year it was hard to see each other because we’re both busy and we’re trying to adapt to a new life,” said Yam. “It was hard, but I guess it just made me realize how much we have.”
Marlee Kosir, a current student in teacher’s college, is one of the few who dated her high school sweetheart through her entire undergrad here at Western. However, they were both London locals and did not have to go through the separation that comes with a long distance relationship.
“I think the biggest change is just that the times that we did spend together were valued more because we had to spend so much time on the school work that we were doing,” said Kosir.
My story also seems to be a "success” by these standards. My boyfriend and I made it through first year and are still together now, three years later. Yet, I must admit, I sometimes find myself wondering what this experience would be like single.
But then I listen to some of the horror stories that my single friends tell me, ranging from bar hook ups gone wrong to girls literally getting catfished.
As my one friend eloquently told me, "Cherish your boyfriend; he will never catfish you."
And I am thankful. Thankful that I have someone I can trust, thankful that I know someone cares about me, and thankful that I have my best friend by my side.
My final verdict: being in a long distance relationship in university can be tough. However, that doesn’t mean your experience is worse than your single peers. You can have fun and work towards your goals while having your significant other by your side.