Maintaining a normal relationship is hard work at the best of times, but what happens when you throw 100 miles of distance between you?
One of the hardest things for some of us when moving away for uni is leaving things behind. Leaving your home town and your family isn’t so bad because you know they’ll still be there anytime you want to go back. But when it comes to leaving behind your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a completely different story…
Summer can be the best time ever when you’re in love. You spend every day together, talking about the future, making plans to see each other every weekend and doing other cute ‘coupley’ things. On the other hand, it can be the countdown to your freedom and your own space.
But, if you have decided to make a go of things whilst you’re away studying, there are some important things you should keep in mind.
- Give each other space! You’re both going to be meeting new people and making new friends. You will both need time to socialise and attend fresher’s events, for example. The last thing either of you need is your other half ringing or texting you every five minutes asking to talk. Accept and remember that with uni comes a lot of changes and that will mean changes in your relationship too. You might not be able to pay as much attention to the other person as you did before, but as long as you both find some time for each other, things will be fine.
- Go in with an open mind. When we start uni, we’re usually around the age of 18 which is still very young. During the next three or four years we will be doing most of our growing up and a lot of people will change. So, when you go away, just remember you don’t know where life is going to take you; you don’t know who you will meet or what opportunities will arise – just keep an open mind. If you go in with the expectation your relationship is solid and nothing will change or break it, you might be kidding yourself slightly and if anything does go wrong you will be feeling heartbroken and as if you have nothing to live for.
- Learn to trust. If you’re relationship makes it through uni, it is a great achievement. They do say in the book of relationships that university is one of the biggest tests. You and your partner will both be mixing with a lot of new people and going out a lot more than you are both used to. Make the decision whether you are going to trust each other and be open and reassuring, so that you make each other feel at ease. It is very common that one if not both of you will be feeling insecure and worried, which may result in you doing strange things. The most important thing for both of you is to be open; share things with each other and involve each other in your new lives.
- Make an effort. As I mentioned before, it will be hard to make time for each other whilst you are away. So, when you do get the chance to see or speak to each other, make the most of it. Don’t meet up if you’re going to argue because that won’t be a good thing for your relationship at this insecure stage. Imagine your girlfriend going back to her place of study after you’ve just told her you don’t trust her and she’s planned a messy night out that evening. Not always a good idea. Talk to each other about how you’re getting on, plans to meet up etc. Happy things.
- Don’t forget why you are there. The main reason we go to uni is obviously to study but also to have a good time and enjoy the experience. You will only get this time once in your life, so make the most of it. That doesn’t mean to get drunk every night and sleep around, but just to enjoy the time of being young and free. Don’t let arguments or insecurities get in the way of your studies. If you find you’re constantly depressed or angry then something’s not right. Like I said, you only get this chance once, so don’t mess it up. If your relationship is meant to be, then it’ll sort itself out eventually and that person will still be there.
The most important things in making a relationship work are communication, trust and respect. Managing a long distance relationship is similar to making a normal relationship work, except you need to be more trusting, make a little more time and put in a little more effort as with the distance, it’ll be harder. Both of you need remember what your goals are in both you’re studies and relationship.
I think I’ll end on an important lesson that I have learnt through my own experiences. Relationships are not the be all and end all, if something doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes things are just not meant to be and when they’re not, you have to know when to walk away. Don’t stay in a relationship if it’s only making one of you happy or neither of you. It’s true what they say, there are plenty more fish in the sea!
By Amrit Pnaiser