Long Distance Relationships at University
I met my boyfriend Zach when we were 16, we have now been dating for over 3 years and we would both agree that long distance is one of the hardest things either of us have had to do. We always said we would never pick universities based on eachother, because who knows what will happen – neither of us wanted regrets in the future, so I’m here in Warwick, and him near london. Its a 2 and a half hour round trip. Much different to the 10 minute car journey we were used to.
You hear so many stories, ‘oh, there’s no way it can last’, ‘you’re too young’, ‘don’t you want to try something new?’. But the truth is, neither one of us doubted it, the least we could do was try. I was admittedly a bit naive about how hard it would be, I just thought I would miss him a bit, but if you’re both determined to make it work, you can. Admittedly, some people come to uni and it doesn’t work, and that’s ok, everyone is on their own path, so don’t compare yourself to other relationships, as long as you and your partner are happy, that’s all that matters – and if you’re not, there are ways to work at it if you want, or it’s ok to let go, even if you never thought you would. Our ideas and priorities change. You always have to put yourself first, because that’s all that’s guaranteed. But, if you’re lucky enough to have someone work at this with you, here’s some tips on how we do it:
- Virtual Dates I am so grateful for technology, every night just about, we watch netflix together, a series or a film, like we’re just sat on the sofa at home. Use the chrome link ‘teleparty’ so you can literally watch it at the same time; if you pause it, it pauses for them. That time together every night is what we both look forward to because se we can be busy in the day and not have a lot of time to talk, so to have designated time to talk and do something together is impotant. Sometimes we make it more special and have a virtual dinner date as well and play games online, I recommend Dovey, a website where you can go on virtual dates. Facetime will be your saviour, trust me.
- Set plans for when you’re going to meetZach and I try to meet fortnightly, alternating who’s uni we visit. This might be quite frequent and not feesible for you, but having a structured routine helps us. This way it doesn’t feel like an endless amount of time until you see each other. Make sure to make the most of this time together, plan to do nice things, but also it’s OK to just spend quiet time together, appreciate their company whilst you can.
- Be accepting that plans changeOne thing we struggled with at first was that we would make a plan and then something came up like your friends have decided to go out and you want to go. It’s tricky, becasue you should priotise your partner, but university is also about spontaneity and trying new things. So as long as you are making some time for your partner and it’s not everytime, its ok to change plans, be accepting that it is going to happen, maybe ring them before you go out, just to show you’re still thinking of them. But make sure you are making the most of University. It’s all just about learning balance.
- Talk about everything!!You will not survive if you do not communicate. About everything. Your partner can’t see you, they can’t read your body language, they can’t just give you a hug, so you have to be an excellent communiator. Sometimes that’s hard, becasue words can’t fix all your problems, but try to be patient with your partner, tell them how they can help, they’re no mind reader – I’m still learning this one!!
- Be prepared for argumentsYou learn so much at uni, and everyone has different experiences, you grow so much, you are still growing together but also individually – everyone grows a little different. We make mistakes. We change. Going into a long distance relationship doesn’t have a hand book with it and no matter how many tips and tricks you read or hear about, you won’t know how to do it until you get there and it will take a while to figure out how to make you partner feel loved from afar, so you will have arguments but that’s ok, as long as you come together to tackle the problem, not eachother.
If you and your partner are about to begin a long distnace relationship, don’t be scared. Be excited. Zach and I are stronger than ever because of the long distance. You will learn even more about yourself and your partner. The goodbyes never get easier and the piece of you that’s missing is still there, but that makes when you are together, all the more better. We think of it as if we’re doing this for eachother, for our future life. You never know what life has instore for you, you are learning from absolutely everything, just take it step by step. Most importantly, don’t compare youself to other couples who seemingly ‘have it togther’, just focus on yourselves, you’ll be ok.