By Amber Tatton
One issue that so many students face is the problem of attending a different university to their significant other. It really can make or break a relationship, but from experience there are lots of ways to survive it. The first thing I had to learn with my boyfriend being at a university 220 miles away was that you shouldn’t listen to the people who will tell you it won’t work. Friends and family only have your best interests at heart when they say this, but if the relationship is solid then it will last the distance. If the relationship is meant to last then you will find some way to make it work, it sounds cheesy but there’s a few things I can advise you with.
The next and most important piece of advice I have is talking to each other as much as you can – phone calls, skype calls, and even voice messages just make it so much easier. Even when I’m busy, I try to send good morning and goodnight text as well as a few updates throughout the day. Just texting about the weather, sandwich fillings and trivial thoughts enable you to have the closeness. I do think that talking about everything, even the darkest of feelings or the happiest days, in phone calls or video chat actually helps with the honesty and trust in my relationship.
Another thing that helps with the distance is surprising the other one with gifts, letters or the smallest of touches. It can only be the smallest thing, and as students we can’t all afford crazy extravagant Instagram worthy bouquets. I once arrived home after an especially bad day to a box of flowers that made my day. Those thoughtful, personal moments feel so special and remind me that I’m in my boyfriend’s mind. It’s also a very traditional thing to get a love letter through the post, and unlike a text it is there to hold when you need help through the hardest days.
The final piece of advice is to have plans in place for when you will next see each other in the future. It might be 6 months from now but it gives you something to look forward to. Counting down gets me through long days of study, exams and work by giving me the security of seeing my boyfriend soon. Without that forward planning it can cause insecurities and planning issues – through my long-distance relationship I have learnt to be independent and strong but also treasure the moments we have together. Long distance relationships are a real learning curve but worth it, hopefully the distance won’t be forever!