Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship at University

6 mins read

If you’re at university and are in a relationship, there’s a very high chance that it’s long-distance. According to a survey conducted last month by YouGov and ParcelHero, 40% of people in the UK have, at some point, been in a long-distance relationship.

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The Positives and Negatives

Maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship can be overwhelming and frustrating on its own, never mind on top of a degree. Whilst trying to manage your relationship, you have the daily pressures that come with moving away from home. These could be from your part-time job, exams, being financially independent, or even having to provide and look after yourself in general. It’s very easy to focus on the negatives, but being in a long-distance relationship can provide you with a great opportunity to build independence, trust, and a connection with someone that is purely based on the emotional and verbal, rather than the physical.

Being in a long-distance relationship involves a big commitment from both people involved. Some people may decide within a few weeks or months that it’s just not for them, and that’s okay! It’s important to be open and honest at this stage and communicate this to your partner. However, if you have both decided that you don’t want to give up on the relationship, here are a few tips on how to cope.


This seems like an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget to prioritise communication with your partner when you’re busy. You could call every day, but if you aren’t being 100% honest about your worries in and outside the relationship then it’s just not going to work. Communication is the number one way to ensure you are both on the same page and understand each other. When you take away the ability to read someone’s facial expressions and body language it can be hard to really understand how they are feeling, so it’s important to make sure that sometimes you are spelling things out for your partner.

Make your partner still feel like they are a priority. During semester times your schedule tends to get a little busier with classes during the day; lunch dates with new friends, nights out, and attending sports events, societies, or clubs. It can be easy to get caught up in this lifestyle, but it’s also important to set aside time each day to catch up with your partner whether that be over text, phone or facetime. Pick a time you will call and stick to it. That way your partner knows they can rely on you and it also gives you both something to look forward to.

2. Set your Expectations

Preferably before the long-distance begins, set your boundaries and expectations within the relationship. This will ultimately make you both be aware of what will keep you feeling happy and secure within the relationship. Let your partner know what you expect from them (and vice versa!). This could mean discussing how often you would like to text or speak on the phone or how often you would expect to see them during term time.

3. Be Ready for Tough Times

When in-person it’s so much easier to communicate and fully understand your partner, but over the phone, things can easily be misunderstood. Remember to take extra care when messaging to say what you actually mean, and if something you or your partner sends seems a little off it’s better to ask straight away if everything is okay rather than letting it drag out. It is always better to ask for clarification of something instead of getting into a fight over something they didn’t even intend.

4. Plan Ahead

From personal experience, a great way I’ve found that helps to keep you positive is arranging the next time you will see each other in advance. Having an end-point to the distance definitely helps it seem more manageable, and gives you both something to look forward to. Even if this means booking flights, trains or buses at a time that feels far too early, this can really help to speed up your time apart. It could also be a good idea to plan ahead what you will do or where you will go together if you only have a short period of time together so that you don’t waste the little time you have.

5. Think Positive

Going long-distance is tough, but it’s also the best way to test your relationship. You have to have an unlimited amount of patience with each other and understand that you both have separate lives going on outside of the relationship. You both need to be able to occupy yourselves with your own hobbies and interests and try to take your mind off the negatives as much as you can. Once you’re back together, it’ll definitely be worth it.

Featured Image Credit: Ariel Davis / HuffPost

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Journalism Student @UoS 🙂

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