Perhaps you’ve been together through college, and up until now everything has been hunky dory. You’ve discussed whether it’s better to part ways as you both begin your new adventures in different cities, but you’re both so emotionally invested at this point that you decide to stay together. You can make your relationship work through university, right?
University provides new experiences and new people, with which can come temptation, but thats a whole other discussion in itself. The distance can cause strain and lead you to drift apart. Ed Sheeran even wrote a song about it based on his own experience in which he sings “You and I ended over U N I.” Many relationships fall to pieces once uni comes along, so how do you keep your relationship alive through the first year of uni?
I have a friend who managed to do just that, I asked her what her secret was and this was what she had to say:
Well I think we just get each other… It was an instant connection… Our relationship was special to the both of us… so that really helped us stay together…
We fell in love quite quickly and we felt like we were worth holding on to. We are best friends, which is very important in a relationship.
We saw each other every other weekend, or more often if we had the money. Skype and texted every day to fill each other in on the day, so just regular contact. And just told each other everything. I don’t know what made us different, but I think our feelings are the real deal.
FashionRocksMySocks (Rhiannon & Doug) on youtube also have a few things to say on maintaining a relationship after a year of being long distance.
Looking at both stories some clear lessons can be extracted:
This is the 21st century and communication is easier than ever. With so many avenues for keeping in touch there really shouldn’t be an excuse for not doing so. There is no right way to keep in touch, the important thing is finding what works for you. For example Rhiannon and Doug don’t call much but text frequently whereas my friend Skyped daily if not often.
Communication is so important as it keeps you involved in each others lives; it helps you feel important to each other and shows that you value each other. Even if you’re schedules clash and you’re unable to communicate much during the day, a simple good morning when you wake up and good night before you sleep can go an awfully long way.
Not only is communication crucial in the context of keeping in touch, it is also equally, if not more, important when it comes to any issues you may have. It is important to be open about your problems as failure to do so may cause what may otherwise have been a small matter to fester and become something full blown. Talk things through sincerely, and create an environment within your relationship whereby you know you can openly approach each other and maturely discuss anything you need to.
Not only is it important to trust each other but to trust that you have something special. Know what you are about as a couple. In saying “Our relationship was special to the both of us… I think our feelings are the real deal,” my friend demonstrated that she has confidence and trust in the relationship itself. That she believes it will work and is worth holding on to. When you are mutually secure in your relationship trusting each other is easy.
A huge part of trust links back to communication. Remain open with each other and it will be easier to maintain the trust.
I view trust as a cycle. The more you trust each other, the more you trust in the relationship, and the more you trust in the relationship the more you will trust each other and so on and so forth.
Let’s be frank. Travelling to see each other can become very expensive really quickly, which can be especially hard as a student, but it is important in order to boost the chances of your relationship surviving. Costs can be mitigated by investing in rail cards for significant savings, but even then travel costs can still add up.
If you live an affordable distance apart, then seeing each other fortnightly, like my friend did, is ideal. You simply alternate who visits who so in that sense you need only fork out on travel once a month each. Of course in many cases this may not always be possible, either with financial or time constraints, so this may need to be scaled back to once a month and alternating.
I see once a month as the minimum amount of time you should see each other. Of course you will have the holidays together but it is also important to spend time together during term time where possible. We’re intimate beings by design. As such the sensation of touch is often more powerful than we realise and affection has the power to keep the fire burning so to say. Not only this but spending time together helps maintain trust as being in each others presence creates a sense of reassurance.
You will soon discover that the distance makes you appreciate the time you have together all the more. The main thing is that you make the time you have together count during the course of the year. Before you know it you will be looking forward to a solid few months together once summer returns bringing with it a close to the academic year.
This is the glue in every relationship, knowing that nothing in life is ever easy. All of the above 3 points require effort in any relationship, so of course when distance is thrown into the equation it only magnifies the degree of work required. The important thing is that you keep in mind the fact that you need to work at your relationship regardless of the distance. Ultimately, life has a proven formula, you only get out what you put in, so if you believe in your relationship you will put in what you can to make it work, through thick and thin.
Featured image from Kelley Boone
Inline image from Syxrious Sergio