The Student’s advice for being in a long-distance relationship

Long-distance doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for your relationship. In fact, it has the potential to make it stronger than ever. My own experience with long-distance relationships has been largely positive.

Being an international student, I knew that the second I got into any relationship at university there would be a possibility of long-distance. Now nearly two and a half years into my current relationship,

I’ve dealt with long-distance of varying lengths of time apart and a number of different time-zones. From spending two summers apart with an ocean between us to going fulltime long distance this year between Edinburgh and London, I can officially say that I’ve “been there, done that”.

Here are my top tips for keeping your relationship alive while navigating the complicated world of long-distance lovin’. Set reasonable expectations: The logistics of long-distance relationships can be a nightmare. How often should you visit each other? When should you call?

Some people might be tempted to just ‘go with the flow’. And if that type of relaxed attitude works for you then great! But I always found it helpful to set expectations for how the period of long-distance would go. It will depend on your situation and the distance between you, but I found that visiting each other every two-three weeks worked well for us.

That being said, it’s really important to be flexible about these expectations. If your partner can’t make it for a visit one weekend because of a work commitment, don’t get upset. Long distance is all about compromise.

Communication is key: Good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. But with a long-distance relationship, this is crucial. While we’re lucky that we live in a world where texting, phone calls, and FaceTime mean we can get a hold of someone at a moment’s notice, bad communication (or over-communication) has been the downfall of many a long distance relationship.

Knowing each other’s communication style is key. Is your partner quick to respond to texts or more reachable by phone? Knowing this can help you avoid conflict and undue stress. Regardless of communication style, though, video-chatting is always the best option.

Seeing each other’s face is not only a great way of avoiding misunderstandings, but it also makes you feel closer. Have boring conversations: While you might keep your conversation with your parents limited to the ‘highlight reel’ of your day, it’s important to talk about the little things with your partner when you’re long-distance. Chat about what you made for dinner, how your classes were, and that dog you saw on your walk to campus. It might seem boring at first, but it makes you feel like you’re more involved in each other’s lives.

Along with that, constantly sending photos to each other (of silly things like memes, the view from work, your home-cooked dinner) can make you feel even more connected when you’re apart. Make your visits special, but also make time to just hang: It can be easy to plan to do everything when you finally get to see each other.

From gallery visits to nights out to fancy dinners – you’ll be tempted to want to make your visits picture perfect. But be sure to make time for mundane activities too. Cooking together, watching Netflix, and going for a walk are just as important as anything, so make time for it!

Embrace your independence: Believe it or not, there are some benefits to going long-distance. One of them is that it gives you space to do some of the things you love the most without feeling like you’re taking away from spending time with your partner. Going long-distance for the past six months, I have had more time than ever to build on my relationships with my friends, get more involved in societies, and focus on my personal health.

Your newfound independence can be a great thing as long as you embrace it. Plus, you’ll always have stories to tell your partner. It really is all about your perspective. If you keep these tips in mind, long distance will be a breeze! Or at least, a little bit less stressful.

 

Image: Ibrahim Asad via Wikimedia Commons

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