Is your long distance relationship doomed to fail at uni?
We asked people in them whether they’re gonna break up
Most students will experience a long distance relationship at some point, as term ends and everyone heads home to let their mum do their laundry for three months. But for some couples, being apart is an everyday part of their relationship. From partners living across the channel to across the Atlantic, here are some of the students making it work despite the distance.
Kamilah & Immad
Northumbria Law grad Kamilah, 23, and her fiancé Immad, 22, who graduated from University of California Davis this year, have survived the distance since before they even started uni.
After meeting at a wedding in Pakistan 5 years ago, where they bonded over their lack of Urdu language skills, the couple got engaged in 2011 to the delight of their friends and family.
Since then, Immad and Kamilah, who still lives in Newcastle, have unbelievably only seen each other once a year.
Kamilah said: “There’s lots of staying up until stupid o’clock in the morning, because of the time difference and it’s sometimes the only time we’re both free. It takes a lot of patience, ridiculous amount of trust and willingness to compromise.”
But that hasn’t stopped them from building a happy and successful relationship, with the pair planning their wedding for next year.
Kamilah said: “We communicate using FaceTime and constantly talk on Whatsapp and Snapchat. A normal phone call is out of the question because it would cost the earth. Basically without smartphones, I don’t think we’d manage.
“Being apart is hard to describe. But people seem to think long distance doesn’t work because everyone says it doesn’t work. I’d like to think anyone who knows us would disagree.”
Hannah & Ludo
Hannah, from Luton, and Ludo, from Amsterdam, got together last year while at the University of Birmingham, where they both studied in the English department.
Having both graduated this summer, the 21-year-olds were always separated during long uni holidays, but now are looking towards a future where distance could play a much larger part in their relationship as Ludo returns to Amsterdam.
Hannah said: “It is hard and frustrating at times, but at the end of the day it is do-able if you both want it to work. Also, it can get annoying hearing other people moaning about an hour and a half train ride, when you’re so much further away from each other. But my family almost think it’s good in a way because in the holidays we could both focus on our own work and goals.
“Regular contact is really important. But it’s much easier not to miss someone if you’re not sitting at home doing nothing.”
Indigo & Alex
Indigo and Alex, both 22 and from London, faced the daunting prospect of being separated for a whole year when Indigo left to study abroad at École Normale Supérieure in Paris last September.
While the couple had known each other for years through school friends, it was a chance meeting on the streets of London in early 2014 that reunited them and sparked their relationship.
Even though their relationship was still young, and they were restricted to seeing each other only once a month, KCL History and French finalist Indigo was always sure that they would survive the distance.
She said: “From the beginning, I was confident. We just kind of thought, what’s the point in not being together? We really enjoyed each other’s company, we loved each other, so we were like we may as well try and make it work.
“When he was in Paris we used to spend literally the whole time together. When I was in London, sometimes I had to see family, but he would come with me. We argued a lot though. The minute it got to like, 10 days apart, it started going downhill, we would argue or not find the time to talk to each other.”
However, being long distance doesn’t just come with emotional costs.
Indigo added: “It was incredibly expensive. When he was a student and not working, I used my Erasmus loan to pay his train fare. I didn’t want to always be going back to London because I was meant to be living in Paris.”
“To any couple going into a long distance relationship, I would say: communicate. Even if you think the other person will be bored or not care, take the time to explain situations to them.”
What the experts say
Speaking to The Tab, sexpert Rachel Morris believes that self confidence is the key to success in a long distance relationship.
She said: “If someone says they feel jealous, don’t bite their head off for feeling jealous. If I didn’t trust my partner, it wouldn’t be because I didn’t trust my partner, it would be because I didn’t trust my worth, I’d be thinking ‘I’m not good enough to keep you’. If you feel good about yourself then you’ll feel safe in your relationship no matter how far apart you are.”
Rachel also advises that couples in long distance relationships should focus on the intimacy in their relationship, rather than sex.
She said: “It’s really easy to keep things sexy now we have digital media, but I get a lot of letters from people saying they don’t know how to keep the sex going. What we really need is to be intimate with our partner.
“My suggestion is that you forget the video chat and just lie in the dark with each other and talk. Because that’s what you’d be doing on a pillow, and it doesn’t matter that they’re not there.
“If you take care of the intimacy, the sex will take care of itself.”