Written by Melissa Watt |
I was in a long-term relationship before I travelled 300 miles away from my hometown to complete my studies. My friends and family all warned me of the possibility of my relationship ending prematurely. Two years later and we are still going strong. Despite popular perceptions, long-distance relationships can thrive in a university environment. Admittedly, it’s not an easy task but it is always doable.
Long-distance relationships can pose unique challenges, but they are easily overcome if the relationship is founded on mutual trust and commitment. Naturally, there will be days when you miss your partner overwhelmingly, but in these circumstances you should remind yourself that the few years you spend completing your degree are nothing in the grand scheme of things.
If you’re supposed to be together for a long time, these years are a valuable step towards that future. The way I see it, nothing worth having ever comes easy. After all, relationships are all about sacrifice, compromise and resilience. Though long-distance relationships can be difficult, there are certain steps you can take to make the process a lot easier and beneficial.
Communicate regularly and creatively
Communication is the key to every good relationship. When you move to university, you won’t see your partner nearly as much as you used to. This means that you need to adapt to a new way of communicating that suits both of your schedules. When we spend a lot of time with somebody, we can often take certain gestures for granted. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, however, saying good morning or asking your partner how their day was makes such a difference. Texting is one of the few interactions you have on a daily basis, so you truly cherish every exchange.
Scheduling a video call together- at least once a week- is of the upmost importance. Video calling has a very soothing quality that you just can’t get from a static text. Being able to see and hear your partner puts you at ease, allowing you to almost feel their presence. There are so many ways to make these calls interesting.
Virtual dates are familiar and comforting, making you feel even closer to your partner.
You could eat your dinner together, comment on a show you’re both watching or play a game on Messenger chat. Virtual dates are familiar and comforting, making you feel even closer to your partner. Here, a lack of a physical presence is compensated with online presence. It goes without saying that sexual chemistry is an important component of any relationship, so a video call also allows you to share intimate moments.
Make the most of your independence
When you are in a long-distance relationship, you should really make the most of your time spent apart. Keeping yourself busy is vital as it stops you from dwelling on missing your partner too much. It also allows you to explore your own interests. Your happiness should not be dependent on the time you spend with your partner and university provides so many opportunities to find yourself as an individual.
Use the time apart to find a new hobby, catch up on any missed work, get a part time job or join a society.
Use the time apart to find a new hobby, catch up on any missed work, get a part time job or join a society. If your partner is keeping busy when you’re not, you’ll naturally feel left out. That’s why it is also important to surround yourself with a good support network. Take this as a rare opportunity to meet new people, consolidate some friendships and make the most of your spare time.
Have something to look forward to and work towards
If you don’t know when you will next see your partner, the future of your relationship can seem uncertain and without purpose. Setting a date and making travel arrangements to next see each other gives you both something to look forward to. Having a countdown on your phone is a source of comfort on those days when it all feels a bit much.
Having a countdown on your phone is a source of comfort on those days when it all feels a bit much.
Having an upcoming date can also act as a deadline to get your own work done by. It motivates you to finish your work so you can make the most of the time you spend together. Having this time apart will only make you more appreciative of each other’s company and counting down to this date makes it all the more exciting.
Share personal mementos and gifts
On those days when your partner isn’t there to comfort you, it’s really nice to have something that reminds you of them. This could be anything from a necklace with their initial on to your favourite photo of them. I personally like to spray a t-shirt or blanket with my boyfriend’s aftershave. Being able to hug something that smells like your partner is almost as good as the real thing. Having these visual and physical reminders of both your partner and the memories you have shared can turn a bad day into a bearable one.
When you spend the majority of your relationship in separate, far-flung places, these little, thoughtful acts make you feel loved and appreciated.
It’s always nice to remind your partner that you’re still thinking of them when they are having one of these unbearable days. Sending your partner a surprise care package, their favourite chocolate bar or a love letter will put an instant smile on their face. When you spend the majority of your relationship in separate, far-flung places, these little, thoughtful acts make you feel loved and appreciated.