As these long summer weeks draw to a close, moving (or returning) to university is only a matter of weeks away. Hundreds of thousands of young adults will be travelling to every corner of the country to start the next chapter of their lives, but does this mean the end for relationships? Of course it doesn’t have to.
Relationships split between different cities are not easy. Imagine one of you is in Cardiff student accommodation and the other in York, a *mere* four hours drive in the way and most definitely the joy of Megabus or umpteen trains helping to get you there. There will be times when you will ask “is this going to work?” and “is it really worth all the travelling?”, and this blog post cannot answer those questions for you. If you’ve already answered ‘yes’ or ‘let’s at least try it’ to both of the above, here are some tips to see you through and strongly out the other side!
The relationship you’re in is undoubtedly one of the most important connections in your life, if not the most important. But at the same time, the university experience is unbeatable and will flash by in an instant. Take the time to build relationships with your housemates and course-mates, and make the most of the city you’re in. Not everyone will remain a friend for life, but some will and this is the time to grow those friendships. Spending every weekend travelling to and from your other half will eventually take it’s toll, if not in the form of tiredness - then your bank balance will start to feel it! It’s easy to isolate yourself without realising (especially if some of your new friends are single), so a balance between university and your loved one makes for the perfect formula. Try seeing each other every other weekend to give yourself time to go out and have a university experience that is solely yours.
This one is blindingly obvious, but you really do have to trust someone when there’s distance involved. You won’t know where they are every second of the day, and when their out and about you won’t know who they’re talking to all of the time. The best mentality to try and get into is to trust someone until they give you a reason not to. Nine times out of ten your instincts are right, so if you feel something is wrong and you can’t let it go then talk about it together. University throws all sorts of obstacles at relationships, and it’s about how you overcome them together. There will be house parties, drinking games, unintentionally awkwardly pictures and Facebook hijacking, all involving other people. It’s easy to jump to conclusions but as long as you know your other half respects you and share mutual faith in one another, you’ll get through it.
If you play by the suggestion above and see each other once every two weekends, it can get lonely and seem like a long time apart. To try and turn this into a positive, make plans that are personal to you as a couple to give you something to look forward to. You can then count down the days knowing you’re closer to seeing them and to a fun weekend. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and could be; making your signature dinner together, going for a picnic, binge watching your favourite show with your standard snack collection, or exploring a new area of the city together.
Oh the wonders of technology! There’s officially no excuse for not staying in touch, and each couple has their own preference and habit. Some will text every few hours, and others prefer shorter instant messages on a more frequent level. Try and decide this before heading off to different cities, taking into account that you’re not always going to be available and that your priorities will have changed since the summer. A good formula is to split between two methods of communication, a mixture of messaging and actually speaking to each other on the phone or on Facetime/Skype. It’s nice to get spontaneous calls but remember you won’t always be able to answer, so planning an hour or so one night a week that’s reserved for you to catch up should avoid you missing each other's calls. And most importantly - it’s fine to give each other some space! If you’re off on a night out it’s okay to put your phone away and say you’ll speak later.
Taking things one step at a time
You can’t predict the future, so there’s no point trying to! It’s easy to worry about the ‘what if’, but speaking from personal experience; that doesn’t get you anywhere and can actually create problems. What will be will be, and you will have a great university experience no matter what happens!