When it comes to long distance relationships, there’s no cheat sheet that anyone can offer you. Everyone who has ever been involved in one will have had a different experience. Some end in disaster and some don’t. In fact, I’m pretty certain all of you reading this will be able to think of someone you know who has successfully navigated the perils of a LDR and those who haven’t made it out the other side. It’s exactly this reason why we’ve started this Long Distance series. As part of the internet generation, there are multiple and ever-changing of ways of keeping in contact with your loved ones at all times, even when it feels like they’re half the world away. As a result, increasing numbers of us are embarking on long-distance relationships than ever. In this series, the Wessex Scene will be documenting different students’ experiences with both long-distance relationships and friendships alike; so if you ever feel like you’re the only person pining after their loved ones, then know you’re not alone.
When Jason first told me that he wasn’t returning to Southampton this September, the thought of us breaking up never even entered my head. I remember standing in stunned silence for a few moments and then thinking how my final year of university was going to be clouded by his absence. This all happened last August so we’d been long-distance for the entirety of the Summer, I had been looking forward to being reunited back at university. The end of long-distance had been within reach and now I was being confronted with the reality that we were going to be apart for the foreseeable future.
After discussing it at length, our only real option was to continue doing what we were doing. We aimed to to see each other every two weeks and just enjoy each other’s company while we had the chance. While I was going in to my final year of an English Literature degree, Jason started looking for jobs back home in Sussex.
Even though I couldn’t be happier with Jason and I feel so lucky to have found a best friend as well as a boyfriend, the truth is, long distance relationships are hard. Especially when you’re in a bad mood or feeling the stress of uni and the only person who can cheer you up isn’t around. Phone calls are great but it’s not the same as having that person actually there.
Ultimately, being in a long-distance relationship has taught me to be more independent at university. With the time I would have spent hanging out with Jason in the evenings, I now have more time to devote to friends, writing and editing for the Wessex Scene, and completing my applications for hundreds of Masters programmes. I’m also very lucky that I’m surrounded by such lovely friends in Southampton, a couple of whom are in long-distance relationships themselves, so it helps enormously to have people who understand what you’re going through.
Although I don’t have many tips to offer beyond the obvious (phone calls, fortnightly visits, trust, communication, etc. etc.), I have to say that no matter how often I am or am not seeing Jason, I always find saying goodbye upsetting. Always. So if its him that’s about to embark on his journey home, I’ll make sure I surround myself with people once he’s left. Trust me, it’s much better than sulking alone in your room. If it’s been mine turn to visit him then I’ll deliberately save a magazine or book to read for the journey home so as not to dwell on the fact that he’s not coming with me. Distractions are key!
I’d also recommend trying to keep to some sort of schedule when it comes to visiting each other. I can’t explain how important it is to have something to look forward to when you’re missing them.
Although every long-distance relationship is different, I hope reading a little about my experience has helped some of you realise that it is do-able and that your relationship is not immediately set for disaster! The most important thing that it boils down to is whether you want to be with that person. If the answer is yes then you’ll make it work, the alternative just isn’t an option.
Are you currently in a long-distance relationship/friendship? Interested in writing about your experience for the Wessex Scene? Then please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.