Managing a long-distance relationship at uni

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It’s the age old question: are long distance relationships feasible when you’re both in different cities at university?

In my opinion, yes. I don’t pretend to be any sort of love guru, but having been in a relationship for three years – the majority of which I’ve been two and a half hours away at uni – I like to think I’m a good example of the “for” argument and I know what’s helped make a long distance relationship (LDR) work.

Here’s some steps you can take to make maintaining your LDR a lot easier for yourselves, and hopefully make the journey through university in one go a lot smoother.

Talk about it before you actually go 

I’ve seen countless friends’ relationships fail at university because neither party established how they were going to work things out once they went away for a three year stint in another city. Would they be completely exclusive still? Would they call every other night to see how the other person was? Were they even staying together at all? If you want to be the person who sleeps around in freshers’ week and beyond then chances are staying in your relationship is not a good idea; assess whether staying together is what you both want before you’re knee-deep in an LDR.

The key is knowing your time apart isn’t forever – are you planning to stay together after uni? If not, it’s worth assessing whether the relationship is worth putting through the long-distance ringer: it does take work but if being together for the long run isn’t what you have in mind, it won’t be worth it.

That said, if you’re looking to one day settle down with them after university, the time you spend living apart might be a small fraction of the rest of your lives together (awwwww). Establish roughly how often you’ll visit, how often you’ll call, etc – if you’ve told each other you’ll visit once a month, the other person can’t be pissed off when you don’t visit them fortnightly.

Try not to be that boy/girlfriend

You know what I mean – the obsessive 24/7 hounder. Understand that your other half needs to socialise, keep up with their work and Couple Relaxing in Meadowenjoy all the crazy bar crawls and socials before the novelty wears off.

Hassling them because they aren’t responding to your 2,348,236 messages and 48 voicemails isn’t fair or considerate of you and will probably just piss them off. If you’re obsessive in trying to keep up with their daily activities minute-by-minute it’ll put a huge strain on your relationship.

Trust is key in a long-distance relationship, and the ability to give each other the space to do your own thing will mean you don’t resent the other person for hindering your enjoyment at uni. A bit of time away from each other will probably do you good and make you appreciate the time you do speak or see each other a lot more. Yay!

Make plans and communicate

Thanks to the digital age – with FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp often in the palm of our hands – it’s really easy to keep in touch with loved ones hundreds of miles away. But if you’ve got a date set for the next time you’ll see each other it gives you both something to look forward to, whether it’s a day out somewhere fun or just spending some quality time together just the three of you (you, them and Netflix).They say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and you’ll definitely appreciate each other more by having some distance between you.

A little bit of romance

Sending each other small gifts or cards every now and then lets the other person know that you’re still thinking of them even while you’re off galavanting in a university far away. You don’t have to be all soppy and tell each other how much you miss/love/can’t live without the other, but showing a bit of affection will help keep the flame of love alive… or something.

You’ll defo experience sex withdrawal (you won’t be getting it on at all while you’re away) but being apart doesn’t mean you have to deal with your horniness alone. Never underestimate the power of sexting – when you’re not together, you’re not getting any so by all means let the other person you’re missing their, err, company.

If it really isn’t working, don’t try to maintain it for the sake of it

By all means I advise giving it a go – I went into my first year not putting too much pressure on my relationship and hoping for the best and it turned out pretty well for me. You can make things work if you really want it. But if neither of you are happy you’ll only end up resenting each other.

LDRs do take a bit of effort, but if that’s something you’re not prepared to give then be fair to the other person and end it. Nobody wants to be strung along thinking that the other person is happy only to be crushed feeling like they “wasted” of their university life.

Whatever happens, if you’ve been making the most of your university life while being in a relationship there’s no reason to regret staying together, just look to the future from here on out and enjoy the rest of your crazy three years whether you’re in an LDR or not.


Words by Lucy Abbersteen

Aminah Khan is your Editor-in-Chief

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