Getting into college can be very difficult. For many people, that means leaving their hometown and setting off on a new adventure in a new place. It’s about packing up, saying goodbye to family and friends, and trying to build the future career of your dreams. It’s exciting, but it can feel a bit overwhelming.
For many fresh-faced students, this may mean leaving their partner behind – their stone, their support; their best friend.
It’s quite a step to take in a relationship, and moving to a new part of the country while your partner is somewhere else can take a lot of getting used to, especially if you’re very close.
This can make college even more difficult at first, as many people will want their partner to be there with them, guiding and supporting them along the way.
Relationships that start in college can also be a roller coaster. If you both go to the same university, great! You found yourself a partner, fellow student and party mate. However, for those of us in long-distance relationships, the story can be very different.
Distance university relations: how do they work?
I’m not going to sugar coat this on anyone – long distance relationships as a whole are hard. You will find that many times you just want your partner to be there. Maybe to celebrate one of your big accomplishments or to be there when you’re feeling down and just need a hug.
Your friends might wonder if the relationship is worth it – if you really should put so much effort into something when your partner could do anything without you knowing. It might cause you to question everything yourself, feeling upset while your friends are hanging out with their campus partners.
However, as any relationship can be, they are also wonderful. Your partner is always your favorite person, your friend and your support. Sure, most of the time you’ll see them via video call rather than face-to-face, but if they still put in the effort, it’ll mean the world.
They’ll always want to hear how your day went, and they’ll always be there for you when you need them most. Plus, there’s no better feeling than seeing their face for the first time after a while without seeing them in person.
My personal experience with a long distance relationship
I met my boyfriend in January of my freshman year of college. He was a friend from back home who quickly became something more after he came to visit, and we had made quite an impression on each other on New Years Eve (it’s always NYE right?).
He is everything I could want in a partner and I see a wonderful future with him. The problem? He lives 113 miles away (about 182 km).
We both learned a lot about trust, commitment and understanding through a long distance relationship. I had my own personal struggles, including worrying that he would find someone better at his university.
He struggled with the idea that I might not have enough time to see him and be with him because I have a lot of extracurricular activities.
Even across the country, he saw me at my highest and my lowest. He was on the phone after a long night, chatting incoherently, and he was there when I couldn’t sleep at night, his sweet voice lulling me to sleep.
How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work
If you are currently in an LDR or considering entering one, especially at university, here are my tips for you:
1. Set your limits
It is really important to know what your limits are and those of your partners. Are you looking forward to those good morning and good night texts? How will you approach the situation where your partner is upset? Can you talk late at night every night or do you need to schedule times when you can talk?
Do you need to tell your partner where you will be all the time, or is there a lot of freedom? Every relationship will be different, but as long as you understand your partner and they understand you, things will probably work out fine.
2. Show your partner that you are committed
Staying committed and loyal is more important than ever in an LDR. Your partner not being there all the time with you, you place great trust in him. You trust that they will be with you and only you.
Tell your partner you love them when you can. Don’t be afraid to tell them you miss them and always show them that they are a very important part of your life. It will save a lot of excessive worry and sleepless nights, trust me.
3. Make a schedule of when you can both meet
You may feel like you want to see your partner all the time, especially at first, but that’s not always healthy. Although you are a couple, you are still separate people with individual lives, friends and schedules.
Establishing a routine for when you meet will create a sense of order in your relationship and ensure that you see each other when you want, while making time for each other.
I see my boyfriend once a month during university periods and we take turns taking the train for each other. This ensures that one person doesn’t spend more money than the other, and we create a healthy schedule.
At first, I really underestimated the importance of my “me time”, and now I try to indulge in it a lot more by working on myself and spending a lot of time with my friends.
Keeping your life busy and varied can really help you cope without your partner in college.
4. Understand that it will sometimes be difficult
Relationships aren’t always sunny and rainbow, and long distance relationships are no different. They also have the added difficulty of not always being with your partner, which can make them harder than normal.
You and your partner are going to fight. You will piss each other off. You can sometimes feel like the world is against you, especially when your partner is distant.
Give yourself space when needed, but always seek to work out your issues before they arise and get out of control. Always remember that in a good relationship, it’s not you two against each other, but you two against the problem.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Understanding each other is the key to a successful relationship. It can be difficult on the phone or by text, so it will take time to learn about your partner in ways you might not have to in a regular relationship.
Listening to them, being there for them, and just spending time with them will help you figure out when they’re not feeling well and when something needs to be fixed.
It is also important to be clear, upfront and honest with each other. Worried about something? Tell your partner. Has your partner done something wrong? Tell them, but respectfully.
Sure, everyone can have their personal information to themselves, but being open with your partner and not hiding anything will help them trust you more and create a more stable relationship.
Although it may seem difficult at times, being in an LDR and going through the tough times is an incredible display of trust, loyalty and resilience. Don’t be afraid of them – after all, the world is big; your soul mate is not always at your doorstep.