How to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship at Uni

Freya Hugheson 5 February 2020
A silhouette of a man and woman holding hands on an evening beach.

When you’re about to start university, there will be a few things you’ll be worried about. How can you make sure your relationship isn’t one of them? Here’s how to survive the unknown with your beau.

University represents change. It’s a bridge into adulthood, with some excellent parties and steep learning curves along the way. 

But distance can be a huge strain for even the strongest couples, no matter your age or stage in life. 

Plus, your fellow students are going to go a bit wild at their first taste of freedom. And that can leave you wishing you had the same opportunities as them. 

Weigh up your relationship before you go and make sure you’re definitely invested. 

And if you are? 

Well then here are some tried and tested tips to help you and your partner survive university.

1. Communication is Everything

Charge your phone, you’re about to get very familiar with FaceTime. When you’re not spending your evenings cuddling up in front of a movie together (or in the pub, whatever your jam is), the social cues you don’t usually even think about vanish. 

Think body language, facial expressions, and if you’re an avid texter, even your tone of voice. 

That means you’ve got to learn to spell things out for each other. As when you were in a more local setting, your partner cannot read your mind. Nor should you expect them to. 

Communication is vital. Up. The. Ante.

2. Set Out the Rules from Day One

If you think you’re going to want to see each other as regularly as possible, get your visiting schedules hashed out early.

Being able to look forward to seeing each other will keep that spark alive.

On the flip side of that, don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. If you really want to go to an event on campus that clashes with when you were meant to see your partner, discuss moving the visit. 

Missing things you’re excited for can lead to resentment. And that will snowball, leaving you on rocky terrain.

3. Give Each Other Space to Breathe

Tempting as it is, try not to be in constant contact. You’ll miss each other and that’s natural but don’t get to the point where you’ve run out of things to say. 

Make peace with the fact you won’t be in every university memory your partner has – and vice versa. 

It’s normal. Healthy, even. 

The last thing you want is to be the annoying person in the relationship that is cramping the other person’s style. 


4. Don’t Fear Growth

You’re going to change a lot in the coming few years. And that should be exciting. 

Go out, meet people and don’t hold back. There’s a whole world out there. 

If you stay in pining over your relationship instead of spending this time exploring the world and yourself, you’ll regret it. 

That’s the thing with university: it’s over before you know it. Embrace every second.

Not doing things with your partner is ok and you’ll have so many awesome stories to compare when you next see each other. Win, win.

5. Make Time for Each Other

If you’re staring down the barrel of separation for a fair few months, complacency can set in without you even realising. 

Getting annoyed your partner wants a phone call when pre-drinks are about to start? Yeah, this is the kind of thing that’ll derail you guys. Even if you have a quick chat to let your partner know you’re thinking of them, that’ll dispel any worries they might have of you losing interest. 

Try and follow up with a proper call the next day or whenever it suits. Remember, your relationship shouldn’t be a chore.

6. Know When to Call it a Day

We’ve snuck this in here because it’s important you don’t stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy. When the cracks begin to show and neither of you are enjoying it anymore, be brave and call it. 

Wasting valuable time at this stage of life isn’t going to do you any favours. And painful as it might be, you’ll be so much better off in the long run.

The most important thing to remember if you want to make your LDR work? Be kind to each other. Don’t get sucked in to point scoring or games, instead be mindful of your partner’s feelings. 

Freya Hugheson 5 February 2020