University is a time in your life when you will meet many new people. Some of these encounters will grow into friendships and others may develop into romantic relationships.
Many people, though, decide that university is such a busy and new time, that they don't want to add another thing like a relationship to worry about. This may give them extra time to hang out with friends, study or do other activities such as sport. This is completely ok and normal!
If you do decide you would like to be in a relationship, there are some things to think about first. Am I actually ready for a relationship? What sort of things are important to me in a relationship? Do I value having similar interests, someone I can be honest with and trust, being physically attracted to each other, mutual respect, someone I can just hang out with?
The following tip sheet can help you further think about being in a relationship:
After all that, there are some ways you can help get the relationship you want.
Once you are in the relationship you want, there are some great ways to keep it on track:
What if my relationship is not working?
Do you really want out? Do you want to try and fix it first?
It all started out so wonderfully and you thought this person was the greatest ever...what happened? Sometimes relationships which seem so perfect can go off track. Suddenly the things that seemed different and interesting start to become weird and irritating!
Sometimes a relationship can feel as though it is just not going right. This is quite normal and does not mean that you are going to break up. It is really normal for a relationship to change over time. The honeymoon phase does not, unfortunately, last forever! But relationships can then become even better as you see each other differently, or they can become more like ‘what was I thinking???'
The following tip sheets can help you decide what is normal and what isn't:
If there are some issues in your relationship, and the two of you are committed to working them out, the following sheet can help you:
What if it is really over? How do I end my relationship?
Sometimes relationships are just not meant to be. It may be that after the honeymoon period has worn off, you realise that the two of you are just not a good match with each other. Or maybe you are hurtful to the other person, or they are hurtful to you and you don't want to continue the relationship. As long as the relationship is not dangerous (either physically or emotionally) you can take your time to think about this. Often it is a process that people work through in their own time.
If you do decide to end your relationship, how do you actually go about breaking up with someone? The following tip sheet can help you decide how you want to break up with someone:
How do I survive my relationship breakup?
There are a whole range of emotions that people can experience when you break up with someone. If you are the person that ended the relationship, it doesn't mean that you are only going to have feelings of relief and satisfaction. You may experience feelings of guilt, concern and worry, and maybe be asking yourself questions such as ‘have I done the right thing?' You might also experience feelings such as loneliness and loss.
On the other hand, if someone has broken up with you, you might experience feelings such as anger, rejection, sadness, embarrassment, loneliness, loss or surprise. You might also experience feelings of relief. Some common thoughts after someone has broken up with you are ‘what is wrong with me?' ‘I will never find anyone else'.
If you are experiencing negative thoughts about yourself after a break-up, there are techniques that can help you manage some of those thoughts. ACT is an approach to unhelpful thoughts that aims to see the thought for what it is, just a thought and not necessarily a fact. It uses a variety of techniques to ‘de-fuse' from the thought and allow you to see the thought come and go. The following sheet will help you work through some of your unhelpful thoughts. For example, having someone break up with you may be in the column A. Your thoughts that ‘there is something wrong with me and ‘no one will ever want to be in a relationship with me' would be put in column B. In column C, you could put the feelings of distress and rejection. In the other part of column C, I might put ‘If I don't believe that thought then I am more likely to be open to new relationships'. Finally in column D, I would use de-fusion techniques such as seeing them as clouds that come and go rather than getting stuck in your mind.
A relationship involves two people, and both people will be affected by the relationship ending. There is no way of getting rid of your negative feelings, but you can do some things to help a little during this time. The following tip sheet has some good suggestions for surviving a breakup:
Where can I go for more help?
- Speak with a student counsellor at Student Services.
- Speak to your doctor.
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.
- Mens Helpline: 1300 78 99 78.