Being away from your significant other whilst at uni may feel unbearable at times. Working around clashing schedules for FaceTime calls and weekend meet-ups is a painful process that makes long-distance relationships tough. However, take it from me, someone whose two-year relationship has included a year of long-distance, they do work and the extra effort certainly does pay off when you see them again in person.
Starting off, believing in the success of your long-distance relationship is the mindset required to maintain your connection whilst apart from each other. Distance certainly takes some time to adjust to at first, but soon both parties will get into the routine of uni life and staying in touch digitally. It helps to remember that your relationship is not your life, and that the time apart gives you the opportunity to grow individually without giving up your relationship. It is important to focus on yourself and the pursuit of your own interests, likewise for your significant other, as pondering on the difficulty of the being-apart situation will only get you down, eventually affecting the health of your relationship. As I have mentioned, your attitude towards your LDR affects the reality. My best advice is to focus on uni, stay on top of your work, immerse yourself in all the aspects of university life, and catch up with your SO in the moments when you are free to talk. Inevitably, schedules will clash – it may be that you are spending the night in and wanting to FaceTime, whilst your partner has a night out scheduled and can’t make the desired time slot. In these moments, frustrating as they may be, emotional maturity saves us all. Taking the time to be happy for your partner whilst encouraging them to keep up their own interests and fill you in afterwards, is better (and healthier) than a ‘we’re doing it my way’ argument. Making the time for yourself, knowing that your SO is doing the same, is the key to a healthy long-distance relationship.
Communicating digitally in a relationship just isn’t the same as in-person and this can often lead to misunderstanding or overstressing when you think the tone of a text message comes across as cold. Staying positive when talking to your SO over text and trying not to let the frustration of time apart or missing them seep into the conversation is a hard, but beneficial route to take. Overthinking a long-distance relationship when nothing bad has happened will not work in anyone’s favour. In my opinion, FaceTiming is the most effective form of digital communication. Whilst spontaneous calls are nice to receive, it’s not guaranteed that both parties will always be free at the same time. Scheduling calls – like adding a uni lecture to the calendar – means you can work other priorities around your relationship and look forward to catching up with your SO. The same thing can be said for in-person meet-ups, if it’s a weekend trip to a different city, scheduling that in so you both know which days ahead to keep free, might be the play. Personally, I think it’s useful to have a set period of time for meet-ups – for example every x number of weeks – so you both know when the trip is due, rather than needing to specifically work plans out each time. Sometimes, however, it may be the case that unmissable uni deadlines or other priorities catch up, and a weekend trip has to be held back. In these moments, as irritating as it may be, trying not to take it out on the other person and understand their point of view is important.
Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day honesty and communication are key. If you find yourself feeling unsure about the relationship for whatever reason, tell them! Being honest about your emotions is the most important aspect of a long-distance relationship – from telling your SO you miss them to admitting that you’re feeling doubts – let them know! Bottling up emotions and hoping the problem will go away will bring you no good and will likely worsen the problem over time. Trust me, if something feels off, talking it out with your partner often means reassurance for your feelings. They’re then aware of the problem which can hopefully prevent future occurrences.
Like any relationship, at the end of the day it’s the little things the matter the most. Who doesn’t love a good morning text or remembering specific things about the other’s day. Since communication in a LDR is more important than anything, giving your partner compliments and reminding them ‘I love you’ is always a thoughtful act to let them know that you’re thinking of one another. Inevitably, down days will approach where one of you has a tough day and you’ll want your partner to put in that extra effort to give a sense of reassurance that they’re there for you. On days like this, putting in an extra 10% can make the other’s day, it means knowing that your person is there supporting you from a distance. Don’t be afraid however, to tell your partner if you are feeling down – like I said, communication is everything!
Ultimately, long-distance relationships are hard work, and both parties have to be willing to put in equal effort. However, when done so they do pay off and staying together with the person you love, despite being in different places, is what makes my long-distance relationship so worth it for me.