By Ruth Hoey | Advice Editor
If you’re at Uni and in a relationship, the chances are it’s long distance. There are two likely cases which you fall into. Either you head off to Uni each term leaving your significant other behind in you. Or, you met at Uni, had a whirlwind romance only to face the dreaded, almost month-long holiday breaks. Both are common situations. According to a 2021 Cornell study, 25% of students in America claim to currently be in a long-distance relationship and 75% say that they have been at some point in their Uni career.
The Pros and Cons
In both situations, it’s safe to say that it’s not ideal. Maintaining a long-distance relationship can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. Getting used to not having your partner available 24/7 can take some time. Even then, with so many people saying that ‘long-distance relationships are doomed to fail’ it can start to feel all the more likely.
It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives. On top of managing this relationship you have the struggles of ‘adulting’ and fending for yourself away from home. But being at Uni in a long-distance relationship can be an amazing opportunity. This can be both for yourself and for you and your partner as a couple. It’s a great way to learn independence, trust and build a relationship based on quality time talking to each other rather than just the physical side.
It’s a Big Commitment
To begin with it’s important to work out whether you’re both ready and willing to commit to a long-distance relationship. For some people, it’s just not for them, or what they have the capacity to cope with: it is a commitment which takes a little bit of work. It’s absolutely okay if you decide that you don’t want to commit to this, but it’s important to sit down and have a chat with your partner about it before either of you leave. It saves you from a messy chat you’ll have to have over a phone call!
However, if you both sat down and decided that you want to make this work; here are some tips for maintaining a long-distance relationship.
Set Boundaries and Expectations
Preferably before the long-distance element of your relationship begins, it’s important to let your partner know what you need and expect from them, so that you feel valued in the relationship (and vice versa). Let them know what they can do to make you feel loved at such a distance. This can be things such as how many times (approximately) you would like to FaceTime them throughout the week or how many in-person visits you need throughout the term. Ironing out the details can really benefit you as a couple as it allows you to feel as if you are on the same page.
Make Time for Each Other
This goes without saying, but to have a relationship with someone you have to talk to them. It’s great to get caught up in the Uni lifestyle. Having a busy schedule with lots of friends to see is amazing. But also, remember to set a little bit of your time aside to devote to catching up with them. Planning a FaceTime date can do wonders for your relationship.
Be Aware of Miscommunication
It’s so easy for a text message to be misconstrued. A full stop in the wrong place or a poorly chosen word can cause chaos. Remember to be really careful when texting that you say what you actually mean, and if something your partner sends you seems a little bit off, it’s better to ask for clarification that to get into a fight over something that they didn’t even intend to suggest.
Plan the Next Time you can See Them
A great way that I’ve found helps to alleviate the sadness that comes with beginning a stint of long-distance is the countdown to the next time I can see my partner. Having an end point to the long-distance can make it seem more manageable. Even if this means booking train tickets or even flights a long time in advance, it can really help. Let the excitement build as weeks turn into days until the next time you meet!