Balancing your studies, extracurricular activities, making new friends – university can be tough enough as it is. And if you’re in a long-distance relationship, these things can become even more difficult and place undue stress on you and your partner. But don’t fret, many people manage long-distance relationships (LDR) throughout their studies, and while things can get trying, it’s definitely not impossible.
There are plenty of different strategies you can use to maintain an LDR if you and your partner are at different universities. It takes effort, patience and determination, but things will be more than worth it, ensuring the two of you are happier and healthier than ever.
If you’re worried about being apart from your significant other, then we’ve come up with some top tips and things to avoid that can help your LDR thrive while you’re at university.
A good starting point is deciding on a feasible routine of meeting up and sticking to it. Every other weekend is usually a good go-to as this allows for time apart so the both of you can work on yourselves. Of course, if you’re in different countries this is where things are a little less straightforward, not to mention expensive.
You’ll be living on a student budget, and if frequent travelling overseas is out of the question, then don’t commit to more than you can afford. At the least, take it in turns to visit one another so that you’re “sharing” the expense. Either way, it’s important to plan your time like you would on a date, as this will give both of you something to look forward to and allow time to nurture your relationship.
While communicating often is important, it’s a good idea to vary the ways in which you communicate with each other. If you’re constantly texting, you’re leaving little time for uni work and socialising; a short message saying you’re thinking of them or asking how their day is going is all you need.
However, be more pro-active in your approach to Skype and Facetime. Schedule in weekly or biweekly Skype sessions as this gives you the necessary time apart and lets you chat about how each others’ weeks are going. You can also leave them on in the background while you work or cook a meal.
During your time at university, you’ll be making new friends, and this can present new challenges. Although neither of you may be the jealous type, the distance between you can make small things seem bigger than they are, leading to doubt and anxiety about the relationship.
That’s why it’s good to be upfront and honest about how you’re spending your time away from them. If the situation is perfectly innocent, then you’ve no reason not to tell them. By keeping it to yourself, you only end up making it seem like a bigger deal than it really is.
Remember, part of the university experience is to make new friends. If you devote all your free time to your partner, you’ll end up missing out on a big part of what makes university so special. Likewise, it goes both ways: don’t neglect your partner because you’re always with your new friends. It’s good to find a healthy balance; make time for both. If the friendship/relationship is strong enough, then everyone will understand if you want to spend quality time with the other.
Following on from the above point, it’s good to socialise with your friends as a couple. A big reason why couples going to different universities become distant is because they have different friends and don’t do activities anymore. Take time to socialise with each others’ friends when you visit them, as this allows you to organically spend more time with each other, and the best bit is that nobody feels left out.
Long-distance relationships are tough, so it’s OK to find things a bit overwhelming every now and then if you haven’t seen your partner for a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to ring or text them letting them know how you feel so they can cheer you up. Also, it’s likely that one of your new uni friends is also in a similar position; talking to them about how difficult it can get is a good idea. It’ll make you feel better having someone other than your significant other who knows how you’re feeling too.
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