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.
About 3 weeks before starting uni, I met a guy. I spent the first semester of uni enjoying myself as much as everyone else whilst still talking to him most days. I didn’t know it then, but this ended up being good practice for when we began our relationship over the Christmas holidays. I guess this makes our experience different to many university couples, at least those in their first year, as we were long distance from day one. In fact, there was only a few days left of the Christmas holidays when we became an item. Nearly four years later I can honestly say it is something I will never regret, and I feel I have learnt a lot about relationships and communication in general from our experience.
My attitude from the start has always been ‘it (the distance) is only a problem if we make it one’. That is probably the best single piece of advice I can give. Sure relationships have problems at times, but you don’t need to make distance one of them. In fact, being in a long distance relationship has many benefits.
For me I love that we have the opportunity to explore new cities separately, and enjoy them when we visit each other, as well as making our own groups of friends to introduce each other to. I am in my last year at Southampton now and my boyfriend is back home 4 hours away, and as much as seeing him more would be comforting during third year stress, it is probably going to be worth having the extra hours to work on my dissertation.
That being said, visiting each other is something to really look forward to, and making the most of it by treating yourselves to a nice meal out or a concert makes it really special. For us, we wait to see the latest Marvel/Star Wars release until we are together. Enjoy a relationship based on quality vs quantity!
You have someone special who thinks your relationship is worth the distance as much as you do!
The times between visits are just as important and making sure you trust each other 110%. Communication is also vital. In this day and age we are privileged to be overwhelmed by methods of communication, so try to message each other at least once a day even if it’s just ‘I hope you’ve had a good day’.
Communicating doesn’t need to mean constant texting, Snapchatting etc, texting each other 24/7 can lead to those worried moments when you don’t hear from them for a while, when really they are knuckling down with some work or being dragged on a spontaneous night out. Which brings me to my next point; respect that you both have lives and might be incredibly busy from time to time. If you have a deadline or a friend in crisis you can’t sit there texting your OH, and equally if they don’t reply straight away you can’t sit there worrying what you’ve done wrong.
In that respect, you have to learn to become somewhat laid back. There is probably more compromising when you are long distance, I know there have been times for us where we have had to rearrange visits because of deadlines, but there are also times where we change who’s visiting who so we can make that friends birthday and introduce our friends to the person we keep talking about.
If communication does start to become sparse, it is something you both need to address; and when it comes to having the serious talks, do it by phone or Skype if you can’t face-to-face; texting can put you at risk of playing Chinese-whispers with your emotions. That goes the same for any argument or feelings-based discussion. No relationship’s perfect, but I have found from my experience and from friends in LDR that arguments tend to be fewer. If you’ve waited 3 weeks to see someone why would you want to waste your time arguing?
Finally; embrace it! Make the most of the fact you have someone special who thinks you are worth the distance as much as you think they are, and don’t mope around between visits. Use the opportunity to spend time with your friends and doing the things you enjoy.
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.