Long distance relationships: we’ve all tried one at some point. For some people the distance doesn’t seem to matter but for others it all just ends in tears.
On a July evening in 2015 I met my boyfriend after work and told him the news that I had just been awarded a scholarship for my PhD at the University of Leeds. We hadn’t been together all that long but we decided to try to make it work regardless of the distance, and, a year later, here we are. Still together, still happy, but there are moments when it all seems a little too much.
My first go at a long distance relationship was when I was 18. Me and my then boyfriend were at different universities across England and it was very short-lived. A similar thing happened a couple of years later when I moved to France. But now the long distance is working and I thought I’d share my experiences.
It IS going to be difficult
Sometimes it is wonderful but there will be hard points, and it is important to try to work through them. I am an emotional person and am prone to tears, and this means that whenever I have a problem with work or I’m just sad then the boyfriend gets a teary phone call. This usually ends with me telling him that I wish he was here in person. This is not a good move: it doesn’t make me any happier and I’m sure it frustrates the boyfriend no end. So I’m trying to stop bringing the long distance into every little problem.
Communication, Communication, Communication
I’m lucky. There are only 200 miles between us and we don’t have to worry about time zones, flights, and huge lengths of time apart. But keeping chatting and texting every day helps the distance to not feel so big.
Every couple needs to work out the communication situation themselves as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. In my relationship, we send good morning messages, chat occasionally throughout the day, send the odd voice message on Whats App (sometimes I sing, I don’t think my dulcet tones are appreciated!), and have a call in the evening. This could be too much for some couples so just feel your way with it to find a balance between keeping the communication open and being glued to your phone.
Plan Trips and Events
Having something to look forward to together is so important. We tend to go on little weekends away throughout the year and it allows us to get all excited, spend lots of time planning and chatting about our trip, and then spend that little bit longer together than usual. Sometimes money is a bit tight so, ahead of a weekend together, we’ll browse the internet to find exhibitions, gigs, and films to go too. Having sometime to plan can give you something to focus on other than distance when things get tough.
One day the reason for the distance will be over. Although that moment is three years away for me, I’m sure we’ll be fine! If you trust in your connection and keep your relationship fun then why shouldn’t it end well? That is what I say to myself and it helps when I’m feeling a little lonely. I hope that all of the other couples doing long distance feel the same.
Are you in a long distance relationship?
Have you got any tips to share on making long distance work?