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Sex + Relationships

Why Long Distance Doesn’t Scare Me Any More

When I first came to University, all I wanted was to be back home. Faced with the prospect of new friends, a new flat, new nights out and new nights in, all I could see was that my (ex) boyfriend would be living four hours away. At the time that felt like I would be moving to another planet – a bit ridiculous, I know. As you might imagine, after going through a tough breakup in my first long distance relationship (LDR), I was reluctant to get into another. Well, here I am! Now in my third year at uni, I have lived through all of the ups and downs that LDRs have to offer, and am now in one where my boyfriend of two years lives a whopping 9 hours away. In this article I want to have a proper sit down, a cuppa and biscuits kinda chat, about the makes and breaks of long distance, and why often it’s a blessing in disguise.

If you Google ‘long distance relationship’ (as my poor little first year self did), the articles that pop up are a bit intimidating to say the least. ‘How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship’ and ‘8 Best Tips to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work’ make LDR’s look like they’re always on the brink of collapse. Clambering through heart wrenching pain and impossible numbers of Snapchat messages, you might just ‘survive’ it, if you only do these steps just right. From my experience, making mistakes is part of the process, but simple ‘survival’ is not. You might forget to reply to a message, or are in the middle of a busy week at uni and don’t manage to allot enough time for online date night – often, this is just part of learning to cope with how LDRs work. They’re tricky things and don’t come naturally, which is why it can take some adjustment time.

I might be a bit cocky in calling myself a seasoned professional, but going through two LDRs has definitely taught me what is a natural adjustment period, and what is a bad relationship. If you are going into an LDR, or are in one at the moment, here are some tips that I think might have helped me way back when:

  1. Expect miscommunication: Messages are not the same as talking – that’s pretty obvious. Even with the helping hand of an emoji or two, things can come across as passive aggressive, sarcastic, or peevish when they’re written in text form. While this could be easily explained in a conversation, make sure to always be extra understanding if your partner feels upset, and expect this same kind of understanding in return.
  2. Air your worries: Being far apart, for many people, leads to higher anxiety. Whether that manifests as jealousy or upset, make sure to voice your feelings. Your partner should always be open to hearing your concerns and working through them, even if they aren’t founded in evidence.
  3. Set a standard: Whether it’s having a weekly date night or saying good morning and good night every day (both of which I recommend!), having routines can be really helpful when you’re far apart. Even little moments – a phone call after lunch – give you some time to be with each other, and can help to blur out however many miles are between you.
  4. Trust your gut: Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. If your needs aren’t being met, you are free to go. Long distance is a great way to ensure you are both invested in the relationship, even when it doesn’t include as much of the physical side.
  5. Enjoy the process: LDRs can feel like a waiting game until when you and your partner will next be physically together, and I won’t deny that. Still, try to enjoy the process as much as you can – see having more time to yourself as opportunities for self-care, learning, and retaining a sense of self. Send letters, order each other food, or exchange flirty texts. Enjoy being together, apart.

So if you’re plunging headfirst into an LDR, do not fear! They have so much to offer, and can grow your relationship in ways it never would have if you were always together. Thousands of people are going through the same feelings of worry, nervousness, excitement and love that come with LDRs, so you are far from alone. I, personally, have learnt so much through long distance. I have improved my communication skills, my confidence as an independent party, and have learnt so many ways to deal with anxiety when on my own. I value our time together, but I also value the growth me and my partner can undergo apart. That’s why long distance doesn’t scare me any more.

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