Moving to university is hard enough – you’re faced with a new city, new people, and new things to learn. But add on to that moving away from your friends, and also potentially your partner? It’s tough! But long-distance can work, and we’re here to tell you how to survive in a long-distance relationship at uni.
1. Set out some ground rules
Before you move away, sit down with your partner and have a conversation about what is about to happen. This will allow you to not just set up some ground rules for your relationship, but it will also let you check in with each other about any anxieties you might have.
Talk through your concerns, and set up boundaries to give yourselves the best shot at succeeding together whilst you’re apart. These could be boundaries or rules like:
- Don’t expect instant replies when we’re out socialising
- Let each other know when you’re going out (this will help prevent one of you from feeling ignored if the other is at a party or a social!)
- FaceTime twice a week (or whatever suits you)
- No intimacy with others
Whilst some of the rules might seem basic, you don’t know for sure that you’re on the same page unless you talk about it first. Having a conversation before you move to university can prevent many arguments, which will relieve any tension in the relationship whilst you’re apart.
2. Organise a schedule
Likewise, before you head to university, try and organise a rough schedule on when you can both call/FaceTime, and also when you’ll be able to meet in person. This gives you both something to look forward to and guarantees that you’re both going to put in the effort. But also, remember, that these things might change! Your boyfriend might have agreed to a call every Thursday night, then found out his favourite emo club night happens then. So whilst setting a schedule before university is important, make sure that it (and you) is a little bit flexible!
3. Accept that change will happen
University is when most people ‘find themselves’, and some kind of change is inevitable. You need to go into this long-distance relationship knowing that there is every chance both of you will change in the next few months. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to become a whole different person, but it does mean that you’ll probably find new interests, new style, and maybe even want to explore your sexuality (uni is when most people do that!). These could cause rifts or arguments in your relationship, and so it is important you keep up to date with each other and check in regularly. Keep your loved one in the loop! You’ve found a new hobby? Great, show them!
4. Communicate as much as possible
Coming straight off of Tip 3, it is so so so important that you keep communication as open as possible with your partner whilst you’re apart. This will prevent arguments, keep you feeling intimate with one another, and will prevent any resentment from building between the two of you.
Now, when we say communicate with each other, we don’t just mean talk 24/7. We mean asking each other about feelings, emotions, issues. Ask how their day has been, tell them how much you miss them, tell them when they’ve frustrated you, if there’s something making you uncomfortable. And likewise, don’t dismiss any of their feelings! If they say they’re a little insecure because your new best friend looks exactly like your ex, reassure them! Maybe introduce them to your friend, do whatever you can to help their nerves – long distance is hard. It takes work on both sides.
5. Say good morning and good night
One of your rules of a long-distance relationship could (and, probably should) be to make sure you both say good morning and good night to each other. This doesn’t have to mean you go to bed straight after (or that you wait until your night is over at 4 am to send a sloppily typed drunk ‘good night’ message), but if you know you’re going out, tell your loved one good night before you go! You could also give each other a rundown of your days each morning and night, just to keep up with each other’s lives.
This will help the communication aspect, as it will help to prevent either of you from feeling too ‘needy’ and will instantly start a conversation each morning. Plus, who doesn’t love waking up to good morning texts? It’s the next best thing to waking up to your partner.
6. Sexting is okay!
Right. Let’s be gross for a second – you’re going to get horny. When your long-distance relationship, your partner isn’t going to be there to, well, alleviate that. One of the most common causes of infidelity is exactly that. So, to help you last in between seeing each other, consider sexting one another. You know you trust each other, and you’re both old enough, so it’s not a risk in any way.
Although, make sure you talk about this first. Don’t just spring a nude photo or a lewd text on them in the middle of a lecture!
7. FaceTime dates are just as romantic
If the gaps between seeing each other are longer than just a couple of weeks, then it’s worth investing time into some FaceTime (or Zoom) dates. Whilst we all feel like we’ve had our fill of these over the pandemic, it’s a simple way to make sure you’re both putting time into the relationship and gives you a chance to actually spend some quality time together.
But rather than just having a video call, why not make these dates actually romantic? Light some candles, make yourselves a nice meal and sit as if you were out at a restaurant. Or set up a movie together, play a card game, anything you like doing together that you might normally do on date night. Keep the spark, even if it is long-distance.
8. Find things you can do apart, but together
Another thing to do before you both move away is to find things you enjoy doing that you can do whilst apart. A lot of couples have things they usually do when they’re together, so just find ways to do these across social media, the phone or on a video call. Some things will be easier to do apart, like video games, movies, dinner dates, but most things can be adapted in some way or another!
9. Gifts can go a long way
You’re about to be a student, so you’re not going to have loads of spare cash, but gifts do go a long way in a long-distance relationship. It shows you’re thinking about each other, and that you care, and can help reduce the feeling of loneliness that can come with having a partner who isn’t there.
These gifts don’t have to be expensive – they can be a chocolate selection from Amazon, or a plushie, some flowers… Anything that just says ‘hi, I love you’.
10. Set an end date
Most students come home during the holidays, so plan out when you’re both going to return to your parents’ houses. This, like arranging meetups, gives you both something to look forward to. It gives you a set date that you know you’re going to be able to see each other, and that can really help you push through the hardest times apart.
There’s no doubting that long-distance relationships can be tough when you start university.
Additionally, so can long-distance friendships. If you’re having to revert to WhatsApp to stay on top of your social life these days then check out the 12 types of people you’ll find in every group chat.