sex & relationships

How to make a long distance relationship work

Breaking news—long distance relationships suck. Seriously, they do.

Breaking news—long distance relationships suck. Seriously, they do. And, if you’re a student, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point you’ll be in one, whether that’s during the year, or once you go home for the summer.

However, they can work. Distance isn’t a death sentence, it’s just an obstacle, and it’s not going to last forever. So, here are a few tips on how to survive the time apart.

Don’t expect a fairy tale

You need to be realistic. It’d be nice to get long romantic love letters or flowers through the door every week, but most couples end up in a long distance relationship because they’re busy people who’ve been taken away from each other to do other stuff. If you do get tokens of love through the letterbox, then that’s great! But if you don’t, don’t be hard on each other. I mean, you’ve both found somebody who loves you enough to enter into what is a really difficult, frustrating situation, so all things considered you’re doing quite well and anything else is a bonus.

Plan time for yourselves

This sounds obvious, but it makes it so much easier when there’s a set date to look forward to. If you’re lucky enough to be able to see each other every weekend, then go ahead! But if you’re not, then arrange something as soon as you can. Otherwise, you’re in danger of feeling like the relationship isn’t going anywhere at all, and that feeling of not knowing can be quite overwhelming.

Don’t text each other during the day

I read this somewhere and was a little sceptical at first, but the logic is that if you don’t talk during the day, then you’ll have plenty to talk about later on the phone or over video chat. Get into a routine of texting at certain times—for example, a good morning text makes all the difference, as it immediately eliminates that ‘why haven’t they been in touch yet’ feeling. It seems totally insignificant when you’re together, but when you’re X number of miles away you’ll thank yourselves for it!

Of course, some will survive the distance and some will not. At first, being in a long distance relationship is the worst feeling in the world, and to be honest, it never really gets beyond being tolerable. After all, it’s one of the biggest pressures a relationship can be put under.

However, if you want it to work enough, it will. The keys to success, in my experience, are kindness, compromise, dedication and, as difficult as it is, patience.

Accept that you won’t always have time to devote to a two hour conversation

Don’t let each other feel guilty for this. However, never leave your partner feeling forgotten about, and be sensitive to their feelings—if they call you when you’re on a night out, it’s most likely because they want to know you’re safe.

Show your loyalty and care for them as much as you can, not with five billion text messages a day, but by being there for them when it really matters (putting aside a bit of student loan for an emergency last minute train ticket is also a really good idea if you can afford it). 

Be prepared to feel anger, hurt and resentment towards the situation

No matter how much you love them, don’t be surprised if you argue and bicker and threaten to break up because it’s just too hard. Seriously, though, the best thing to do is wait it out. Long distance adds a horrible, weird, unsettling dynamic to a relationship.

But once it’s removed? Well, it’s just the person you fell in love with, isn’t it.

What do you think is the key to survive a long distance relationship? Have your say in the comments section below.