Can Long Distance Relationships Work at University?

Less than a month before I started university, I was asked on a date by a guy that I’d met on Tinder a couple of weeks before. I decided to say yes because I couldn’t see myself getting involved in anything serious so close to the start of my university experience. Long story short, fast forward a year and we are still together.

So why was I so hesitant to begin with?

1. The ‘University Experience’

We’ve all heard of this supposed ‘experience’ that everybody strives for whilst being at university. Josh, 2nd year, Computer Science student puts it so eloquently as ‘smashing lines and banging nines’. I was worried that being in a relationship would somehow ruin my experience and that I would be restricted in what I could do. I also feared that I wouldn’t make friends and wouldn’t be able to go out and have fun. I am now in my second year and I can easily say that I have made friends for life and I have not felt restricted in any way when I have gone out. I know that lots of students want to ‘go on the pull’ but I don’t think a single random encounter could compare to a potentially amazing future with someone. Of course, from my boyfriend James’ point of view, I know that he worries about me when I don’t return his messages until 5AM when I get home. However, he knows that I am with a group of close friends that will always make sure I get home safely.

2. Time apart

This was our main concern because, obviously, when in a relationship it’s natural to want to spend all your time with your other half. Of course, this depends on the circumstances of the relationship. Luckily, James works full time and has a car so he is able to visit me every other weekend. I find it difficult spending so much time away from him but, on the other hand, it does give me the freedom to go out and spend time with friends during the weekends when he’s not here. It also means that I can get on with my uni work because he’s not here to distract me. Equally, when he does come to see me, we appreciate the time we have together even more, and we make the most of it by going on cute dates.

(Photo Credits: @junkyardgolfclub)

Do I still have these worries? Of course, even after a year, I still have these worries. I don’t particularly enjoy being so far away from James and I do worry that this will get too much for me and him. I have my year and term abroad next year and so this will get even harder for the both of us. However, I believe that getting through these few years whilst I’m at uni will strengthen our relationship and our perseverance will have meant that we have managed to keep and nurture something incredibly special. The most important thing to have in a long-distance relationship is trust. If we didn’t trust each other our relationship would be consumed in paranoia. My advice would be to only stay with a partner at uni if you are sure that they are worth it. I am 100% sure that I would never regret spending this time with James, whatever happens in the future, and so I know that this is right for me. However, it is not right for everyone and I have found myself advising friends that their relationship isn’t worthwhile and maybe they should move on.

Advice

Take time to stop and evaluate your relationship. Talk to your partner and see if you’re on the same page and whether time together will be likely. If it looks like you will only see each other every few months or if the relationship seems to be one sided, then, I’m sorry, but it might not be worth it.

It’s the little things. Make time to text/call/facetime your partner. Make sure it’s not always one person initiating conversations as this can get tedious. Send them a surprise letter or gift (or sneaky snapchat, if you know what I mean). Make that extra effort when you do get to see them. Make sure they know how much they mean to you but don’t forget that they should be doing the same!

Trust. Like I said before, every relationship needs trust. Try not to get paranoid because it’s not good for you or your relationship.

Finally, don’t force it. If it’s meant to be then the two of you will work it out. It takes two to tango and so both of you need to be all in. If it feels like you’d rather not be in a relationship or that your partner doesn’t seem to be as dedicated, then you’re probably better off not being together.

At the end of the day you have to think of you. Being with James enhances my life and my uni experience, which is why I know this is right for me. If you’re working through a long-distance relationship at uni then I feel you. I know how hard it can be. If your relationship feels like more effort than it’s worth then it’s probably time to join the single club for now.