Ten top tips for surviving a long-distance relationship

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As term begins again, for some of you that will mean that, like me, you’re now in a long-distance relationship.  This can be a scary and confusing experience, but here are ten tips to help your relationship survive the distance.

My boyfriend and I were in a long-distance relationship for two years whilst I studied for my Master’s degree. Now we’ll be long-distance again for three years as I study for my PhD, so I know how it feels to be apart from your partner.

We discussed it carefully before agreeing to be long-distance, and I think that is something you need to do. My general rule is that we both have to be happier more days than we miss each other. I would never want to split-up, but if either of us finds that we are spending all of our time miserable without the other, we would need to talk about our future together.

Being apart had its challenges and I’m sure the next three years will be challenging, but ultimately our relationship was stronger for the distance.  We truly appreciated the time we did get together and spent it exploring various places that fell vaguely between the two cities we lived in. These are places I doubt we would otherwise have gone to.

So, I can promise you that a long-distance relationship can work, but you need to look after it. Here are my top ten tips to help you.

Top ten tips for a happy relationship

  1. Before you even begin a long-distance relationship, make sure that both of you understand what this means for you, and that you’re happy to try it. Just falling into being long-distance without much thought is likely to end in heartache.
  1. Talking about how you feel is important in all relationships, but it becomes vital in a long-distance relationship. If you aren’t talking to each other about how the distance is making you feel, you will quickly start to feel incredibly isolated.
  1. Make time for each other. Whether you like to talk on the phone, Skype, text, etc. it’s a good idea to schedule a time that you will spend exclusively talking to each other without any distractions. If you do agree a time, try not to miss it. Your partner will feel unimportant and neglected if you regularly miss your phone calls/ Skype chats.
  1. Appreciate the positive aspects! The weekends we spent together felt special and we both made a real effort to think of unusual things to do, nice places to eat. We didn’t spend the time on our phones either. Enjoy this time together!
  1. Be aware that people’s opinions on long-distance relationships are generally slightly negative. Friends and family will give you valuable advice, but only you can decide whether it will work for you. Listen to what they say though, as they will know how capable you are of maintaining the relationship long-term.
  1. At some point, you will feel insecure. Your partner will socialise without you as part of a long-distance relationship, with friends, work colleagues and on nights out. Trust your partner and allow them to socialise. Please don’t text them every three minutes demanding to know who they’re with and what they’re doing. This obviously goes both ways, let your partner know if they are demanding too much of you.
  1. Be fair to yourself. University life is hectic anyway and can be very stressful; if the pressure of a long-distance relationship is making this unbearable, you need to put yourself first.
  1. Be fair to your partner. If you are having doubts, speak to your partner as soon as possible. It’s not fair on them to drag out the inevitable and hurt them more if you know you want to split up.
  1. Maintain an active social network where you’re living. If you spend everyday pining for your partner (and those days definitely happen), you will quickly become unhappy and depressed. Whether you play sports, act in plays, volunteer, go to the pub with your friends or join a reading club, spend time with people doing something you love.
  1. Know that it’s just like any other relationship – there are ups and downs, and no one knows the future. All successful relationships require hard work, and a long-distance relationship is no different.