sex & relationships student life

How to make a long-distance relationship work

Written by Leah Benthin

Moving away from your significant other to go to university, or them moving away from you, can be a daunting and upsetting thing to go through. From spending as much time as you want with them to now only being able to see them occasionally, can be something that’s really hard to adjust to.

According to UK research, just 12% of couples are in a long-distance relationship; that really isn’t that many people, so it can be easy to feel lonely and like you’re the only one struggling. But there are plenty of people who are in the same boat who you can speak to, and many ways to get around these feelings of isolation, so here are ten top tips on how to survive (and enjoy!) a long-distance relationship.

Contact each other every day

Even if it’s just a quick call or text message to say good morning or ask how their day went, having some kind of contact with your partner every day can make you feel much closer to them. Knowing what they’ve got planned for that day or how they’re feeling can make you feel much more content, as well as them knowing these things about you. Knowing if your other half has a busy day ahead of them can make you feel much better if they’re being distant with their communication; knowing that they’re busy rather than just ignoring you can make a big difference to how you feel and having this contact every day allows you to find these things out.

Plan things together

The small amount of time that you get to spend together in a long-distance relationship is precious, so make sure that you always plan ahead to when you’re next going to be together and make sure you’re making the most of your time. Planning a date night to a restaurant or the cinema, or a day out doing an activity you both enjoy, can mean that you really look forward to seeing each other. Having something to look forward to also makes the time without them go quicker. It’s also good to plan things for the future too, for example during the university holidays when you have a longer amount of time together. You could plan a holiday, days out or even just a day in watching films, so that you also have something to look forward to in the long run

Have a regular routine

Whether it’s once a week, once a month, or even longer, it’s always good to have a routine of when to see each other. This way, you both know in advance when it will be so there is no chance of you making plans when you should be seeing your other half. Having a regular routine means you can also budget to travel to and from wherever they are and can also plan your spare time seeing friends or studying yourself.


FaceTime or Skype is an amazing way to keep in touch with your other half in a long-distance relationship because you can actually see each other and it’s much more personal than a text message or a call. It will also allow you to see where they’re living if you haven’t already visited them, which can make you feel much closer to them by seeing the place where they spend most of their time. Try to FaceTime or Skype once a week if you have the time, it’s a great way to catch up.

Watch things together, but apart

Having a program that you usually watch together is something that almost every relationship has. However, when you’re apart it can be very difficult to keep this up. One good way to maintain this is to watch the program at the same time as each other, but to talk about it over text whilst your watching. This way you can still discuss what’s going on and share the experience of watching it together, even though you’re apart.

Ask about their friends

Knowing about the people your other half spends the majority of their time with can really help in a long-distance relationship. Knowing they have good friends who they can unwind with, have fun with and talk to if they need to, can be comforting for you when you know you can’t be with them to do those things.

Always talk about your feelings

Keeping things bottled up can be really damaging to a long-distance relationship, so always make sure you’re open about how you’re feeling. If you miss them and are struggling with being apart, simply tell them and you can work through it together. If you’re not happy with something they’ve done, then just tell them and you can talk it out. A problem shared is a problem halved and keeping it in won’t help anyone, especially not your relationship.

Know how to compromise

If each of you have a busy schedule and are juggling university and a job, it can be hard to organise a time when you’re both available to see each other. Furthermore, sometimes you won’t have time to do everything you want to do in the time you have with each other, so it’s important to know how to compromise so that you’re both happy. Perhaps take it in turns to choose your activity each time you see each other, or where you go to eat, so that you both get to do things you want rather than just one person.

Note down their address

Being in a long-distance relationship sometimes means you aren’t together on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day. By taking a note of your other half’s address it means you can still celebrate these occasions by sending a card or a small gift through the post. Or perhaps they might just be feeling down and you want to send them a little something to cheer them up- having their address means you can do little things like that which can make a big difference to someone’s mood.

Enjoy your time apart

Being apart from the person you love is hard, but it’s also so important to have space from each other so you’re not in each other’s pockets. This is one of the benefits of being in a long-distance relationship because it means you have plenty of time to see your friends and family. Don’t mull about feeling sorry for yourself because they’re not with you, make the most of the time and do something you know they wouldn’t want to do. Neglecting your friends for a relationship is one of the worst things you can do, so this gives you valuable time to spend with them. Also, if you’re studying yourself then having time apart means you have lots of time to concentrate on your work.