So it’s time to say goodbye. Moving away from your girl/boyfriend during university can challenge a relationship and push it to breaking point. But those who make it through the intense pressure, are like two coals turning into one beautiful diamond. Or something like that.
My girlfriend and I have been together since before starting university, and three years in, although I’m no expert, I’ll do my best in giving you my top tips for the best shot at making it work.
Facetime, Skype, 365 days of handwritten letters, whatever method floats your boat, communication is the most important aspect of any (long distance or otherwise) relationship. I can’t prescribe a specific formula, but regular chats are invaluable to growing closer together in a healthy and loving way.
2. When possible, visit each other at regular intervals
This sounds incredibly unromantic, but sometimes consistency is your best friend. During term-time my girlfriend and I typically aim to see each other every two weeks, taking it in turns to visit each other. Your intervals will of course be different depending on your distance and financial situation. Whatever your timeframe may be, carving out as much physical face-to-face time as possible should always be a top priority.
3. Talk through any issues as soon as possible
Just because you’re far apart, doesn't mean you won’t get annoyed with one another. When this happens, be the first to try and sort it out. Don’t let bitter thoughts go unsaid, and don’t assume the other person knows what you’re thinking miles away. Often being as clear, honest, and forgiving as possible is the quickest solution to disagreements.
4. Learn to balance your relationship with university work
A healthy long distance deal means understanding the commitments of the other party. Your relationship commitments shouldn’t jeopardise university work and vice versa.
5. Don’t be put off by nay-sayers
At the beginning of my relationship we literally had friends betting on how long we’d last, which isn’t exactly heart warming. But instead of worrying about what people were saying, we used their words as motivation to make it work and prove them wrong. Woohoo!
A depressing note: if your relationship honestly isn’t working for you both, never push on blindly for the sake of it in order to keep your dignity, or prove your friends wrong. Never feel any shame or embarrassment in ending a relationship.
6. Plan your weekend/date before it begins
Basically don’t waste time Googling what you could do together when you are in the same room. Plan it in advance in order to squeeze in the most fun. TimeOut London always has a lots to try.
7. Use future plans to numb the pain of separation
Think about organising what your next date together could be before you leave. Discussing potential future ideas could help replace sad feelings of separation with excitement of looking forward to next time.
8. In times of busyness, make time to catch up with your other half
Often when one half of a long distance relationship happens to be busy with parties or events, the other half can be left feeling somewhat alone or left out. This can be particularly frustrating when the busy half is not making enough effort to talk to their boy/girlfriend, and leaves only a vague bread crumb trail on social media. My advice: even when very busy, make yourself take a time-out, choose a chunk of time you have free and commit to a chat.
9. Don’t throw it all away
Threats to a relationship come in different ways to different people. Consider the areas where you are most vulnerable and actively avoid them. Know your limits where alcohol is concerned, and challenge yourself to always consider your feelings if your other half were doing the same as you at any time. Above all, try not to let the bright lights of university life overshadow the great treasure a real commitment to another person is.
10. Enjoy yourselves
Being in a long distance during university can be a lot of fun. Experiencing the new home of your other half and meeting their uni friends can be so exciting, and forming and mature and lasting bond with someone is one of life’s greatest adventures. Enjoy your time at university, and don’t stress over the little hiccups involved of long distance relationships. I wish you the best of luck.
Header image used under Creative Commons.