Me and my boyfriend have been together since we were 14. For all those years, I’d seen him near enough every day and was used to him not living far away at all. So when it came to going to uni, I deliberately chose somewhere that I didn’t move far away for, because I knew I’d find it too hard being far away from him. I didn’t just choose Essex based on where my boyfriend was going to be, but it did help that we would only be 45 minutes apart. That said, it was still really hard. Luke worked night shifts including weekends and I had lectures in the week and also worked weekends, so we had very little time together! But with hard work, trust and patience, I’m happy to say that we will celebrate 6 years together this year.
Everyone at university with a long distance relationship is different. You may have moved to different unis, you might have moved 4 hours away while your partner stayed at home, or you may even live in a different country. Whatever your own situation, I hope that from my experience I can advise on how to cope.
Make time for phone calls/Facetime/Skype.
I think the biggest help to any long distance relationship is planning regular times to talk. This gives you time to catch up, tell each other about your day and talk about your feelings.
It can be difficult when your lives become so separate, especially if your partner didn’t go to uni; to them they just see you hanging out with all these new people and going out and partying. When I first got here, my boyfriend said he saw all this cool stuff I was doing and wished he could be involved, so speaking regularly on the phone meant I could keep him up to date about what I was up to and tell him about all the new friends I was, which made made him feel more of a part of my university experience.
Plan to see each other
A good idea is to set dates that you’re going to see each other. This always helped me because when I was really missing him I could think ‘only 3 more days till Luke comes down’.
This is all about compromise. If you’re both university students money may be an issue, so take it in turns to do the visiting. Plus, this is a great opportunity to go to their uni and meet all their new friends, so the next time you’re speaking on the phone you know who it is they’re on about! I’m sure you’ve told your flat mates about your partner and they’ll be eager to meet them!
Have one date night a month
If you are able to see your partner once a month, I think a date night is a great idea! It’s nice when you see them to watch movies and chill or go on a night out with the flat, but personally I think every so often you need an occasion where you can put some nice clothes on and go out for the evening just the two of you. It gives you the quality time as a couple that you need after spending time apart. I know we’re students and we’re on a budget, but a date night does not mean you need to splash out. Even just going out to Cine10 on campus or Frangos is a great idea for a date night!
Make plans for your time off university
Remember, university terms are only actually 10 weeks. Yes this may seem like a lifetime when you’ve gotten to week 7 and your thinking ‘will this ever end?’. But you have a month at Christmas, a month at Easter and 3 months off in the summer to spend with your partner! So make sure you make some plans so you have something to look forward to! For example, over Christmas you could go to winter wonderland and during the summer you could make plans to go to the nearest city, or to the beach, however you like to spend time together as a couple!
Long distance relationships can work while at university. If you are both willing to put in the effort, trust each other and communicate, then you’re on the right track to make it work.