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.
Although there are no tips or tricks I can offer you, I can instead give you some advice from my extensive experience. My boyfriend Jacob and I have been together for about four and a half years, and he has just now started a masters degree, so doing the maths that is just over three years LD. He’s in Cambridge and I’m in Southampton, however for the university holidays we are both back in Exeter. The holidays are a real saviour for us two, as we both are so busy during term times that we don’t get to see each other that much. Plus it’s a minimum of 3 hours journey where you have to go across London, so if we do meet up it’s usually in reading week, because its quite a long way on the trains (I know people do LRDs across the country but a journey is a journey either way!)
When it comes to long distance relationships I’m sorry to say that no two are the same. There is no secret equation or formula I can give you, as in:
Number of years together + number of texts per day ÷ Distance = Perfect Long Distance Relationship
The main things to really consider are sticking to a vague visiting schedule, making the most of university when you’re apart, and understand that being at uni means you can’t spend all of your time attached to your phone. I would suggest planning to meet in advance as this gives you something to look forward to when you’re miserable in the library on a cold winter evening. This doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. If I ever have an interview in London, or have to go and see a play for my course I see if he wants to come and meet me, so we go for lunch or dinner. It’s an hour train for him, but its worth it to spend a couple of hours together.
Be certain not to isolate yourself. This is my main mantra when it comes to LDRs. Yes you’re sad, yes you miss them but if you don’t make effort with your friends and just lock yourself away, or if you’re on the phone all the time you’re only going to make it worse. In a way an LDR can be beneficial to you because you get to have some independence, make your own friends and spend time with them without having to make the boyfriend/ best friend time split. Sounds like a strange thought at first but think of how many couples you know who live in the same place who are obsessed with each other and rarely bother with their friends. At uni, I’ve been to Budapest to run the marathon, I’ve been a part of RAG, written for the Wessex Scene and now I’m team leader for the Uganda Gorilla Trek – and I’m certain I wouldn’t have done half of these things if me and Jacob had been at the same uni. Some might say I’m a strong, sassy independent woman, but I’m just being me.
And finally, appreciate that you are both busy. Sometimes your schedules might clash, or the pressure of deadlines mean phones off in the library, instead of totally ignoring your other half, let them know you’re busy and arrange a time to chat when you’re both free. My cousin recently retweeted this on Twitter – admittedly it is super cringe, but the general premise is there.
I know that none of this is actually very helpful in surviving an LDR, but I like to look forward to the times that we do spend together rather than dwell on the fact that we are apart. You get me? Positive vibes!
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.