Student Disability & WellbeingPart of Student Services


At University, you have relationships of many kinds: with academic and other staff, fellow students, close friends and family.

Here we look at personal relationships, as problems with others can be a cause of distress and therefore also affect study. Personal relationships include family, partners, housemates and friends.

Romantic Relationships

Sometimes relationships don't seem to be working. An intimate personal relationship can be a source of support but may also be stressful and complicated. It is important to be aware that relationships change over time. Allow yourself to adapt to these changes as it does not necessarily mean that a relationship is going wrong. Arguments are a normal part of a healthy relationship, despite this when an argument happens the feelings that arise can be difficult to tolerate. Learning to cope with arguments can be key to helping a relationship develop and grow.

It is important to be aware of the following things when in a relationship:

If you are experiencing difficulties in a personal relationship that are affecting your ability to study, contact the Student Hub to find out about the support you can access. Alternatively, Relate is the UK's largest provider of relationship support.

Relationships with Housemates

When you decide to share a house or flat, you are taking a big step.  Friendships with housemates can be unpredictable.  The people you share with will influence your day-to-day life in many ways, and your state of mind, feelings and ability to study will all be affected. You will need to be able to empathise with others and at the same time stand up for yourself.

Before you commit, check that you are in fact compatible. Think about and discuss issues such as smoking, sleeping, playing music, food, sharing costs, and expectations about tidiness. Who will cook? Who will clean up? If basic aspects of sharing go wrong, life with housemates can become difficult.

If a problem arises, it's best to tackle it right away rather than letting resentment build up to an explosion. Talk to the person involved directly, and don't allow one person to feel that the others are excluding them, for example by discussing them in private. Accept that there can be different points of view, and aim for a compromise.  This will be important for the wellbeing of everyone in the house and for a calm living environment.

If there are serious problems with housemates, talk to an Enabling Services advisor, contact the SUSU advice centre or the mediation team.

Relationships with Family

Problems with family relationships can be hard to understand and can be more complicated due to heightened emotions and lots of people involved.  Therefore it is important to try to take a step back and look and things objectively.  Take some time to think about why your family is disagreeing with you, often you may find that it is out of concern for you.  If this is the case, try to think of ways to reassure them.  

Some families are better at talking than others, so you may need to take things slowly.  It may be that you need to start a conversation and then stop while it is still positive, you can then return to the topic at a later date.  This could avoid conversations becoming heated and too emotional.  If you find the technqiues above haven't helped and the relationships with your family are affecting you then contact the Student Hub to have a chat with an advisor about support available.




Relate offers counselling services for every type of relationship and are available nationwide.

The Wellbeing Team

The Wellbeing Team are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer support to all University of Southampton students.

SUSU Advice Centre

SUSU Advice Centre offers free, independent, confidential support to all students at the University of Southampton.

Mediation Service

The mediation service is available for all students and offer a dispute resolution service for people who chose to seek an informal method to resolve a conflict

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