For most people the words ‘long distance relationship’ and ‘university’ create the biggest paradox. Isn’t university meant to be the longest 3 year party of your life? And what is ‘long distance’ anyway? Forget inter-continental relationships, some students become so invested in life on campus that even a university on the other side of the city can start to feel like long distance. So in that case, are you supposed to only date people in your immediate vicinity, and completely disregard the rest of the city/world? And at what point does it start to become a little incestous that you and all of your friends have dated Brian from the flat next-door?
So if you don’t want to limit your options and want to take the plunge of trying your hand at long-distance, this article is for you.
Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. If you’re feeling a little lost on the concept, this is what communication isn’t:
Obviously there needs to be a little more substance to a conversation between two people who are dating. It’s nice to keep your significant other in the loop about what you’re doing or where you’re going, but they’re not an agenda book. You should be informing them about more than just the basic skeleton of what’s going on in your life. Try to share your feelings and what’s going through your head at a particular moment. Are you feeling nervous about an upcoming test? Annoyed because your flatmate ate your food again? These are all things that will help your boyfriend and girlfriend understand how you’re feeling and bring you closer together.
And if you’re thinking of taking the easy way out, simply texting is not enough. Schedule weekly Skype sessions, maybe even ones where you both watch your favourite Netflix show together so you can see the other’s reaction like you would if you weren’t long distance. And send them letters! It’s not outdated, it’s romantic. Wouldn’t you want to read a long letter from the person you love, talking about how much they miss you and how amazing you are? For extra points, spray the paper with your perfume or cologne.
2. On the other hand, don’t bombard them
Would you like to be woken up to 13 missed calls, 56 messages and 4 frantic voicemails all because you fell asleep studying with your phone on silent? No, and your bae wouldn’t like it either. It’s important to stay in touch and be involved in one another’s lives, but overdoing it is going to have the opposite effect and drive your lover away. It’s normal to be anxious in a long distance relationship; you wonder what they’re doing, who they’re with, freak out when you see them on Snapchat spending time with people of the opposite gender that you don’t know. Which brings us into the next topic: the deadly relationship killer.
3. Try to combat jealousy
Jealousy can creep up in any relationship, romantic or not, long or short distance. Have you ever been jealous of the fact that your friend Chloe has perfect hair and always gets a first on her essays? Most likely. Even if you don’t consider yourself a jealous person, it’s very easy to get possessive over a partner. When it comes to long distance, this can double in intensity. You don’t get to see your boyfriend or girlfriend often, and if they choose not to share their lives on social media you essentially have no idea where they are, what they’re doing or who they’re doing it with. You need to trust this person possibly more than you trust Wikipedia to save your essay, and believe that they are with you because they love you and no one else. Otherwise, not only is your relationship going to be poisoned, but you’ll turn into an anxious wreck during a period of your life where you need to be focused and thinking about your future.
4. Plan to visit each other
When most people enter a relationship, they aren’t looking for a penpal, and you shouldn’t either. Skype, video calls, text messages and letters are all great, but if you’re only seeing this person virtually can you even say that you’re in a relationship? Assuming that your boyfriend or girlfriend is a university student as well, it might be hard to find the time and finances to go visit them, which is something you should take into account before trying your hand at long distance. More importantly, you have to give as much as you take. If you’re the one visiting them and planning romantic trips all the time, maybe you should step aside and reconsider the situation. Do they actually really like you and just don’t have the time or money to see you? Or are you just their side-chick/bro who they see when you come to town, but once you leave they go back to their own life with someone who lives closer? These are tough yet valid questions to ask yourself. Even if you think that they do really love you and just don’t have the resources to take a trip to you, is it really worth it? There are other, closer fish in the sea, even if those fish have been caught and thrown back into the sea by all of your best friends.
5. Have a game plan
Unless you live on opposite sides of the same city and your relationship only feels like long distance because you’re both so immersed in your friends and life on campus, it would be practical to at least have a plan to move closer to each other in the future. If you want to spend the rest of your life in China teaching English and your significant other wants to become a shaman in Peru, you have a problem. Long distance can work great if it’s a temporary period before you’re both reunited, but no one really wants to spend the rest of their lives in a relationship with someone they can rarely see. If you have drastically different ideas of where you want to live in the future then maybe it’s best to either compromise, or consider cuttings things off before they get too serious.
6. And, finally, don’t lose heart
Relationships can be daunting, especially if the whole world and their dog is telling you that yours isn’t going to work out. At the end of the day, everybody has a stigma against long distance relationships always failing, but if you look around most no-distance relationships don’t work out either, especially at this age. If you love your partner and you’re both willing to put in the time and effort to make things work, then nothing is standing in your way. There is no one-size fits all guide to making relationships work; everybody and every relationship is different. What’s important is finding the right fit for both of you where you can both feel loved and secure despite all the extra miles between you.