Surviving The Dreaded LDR

Lizzie Acutt talks us through the ordeal of long-distance relationships and how to survive them.

When I tell people that I have been in a long-distance relationship throughout my time at university, I am usually greeted with the same aghast expression that I imagine adorned the faces of marketing executives at Unilever who were tasked with the promotion of Marmite-flavoured chocolate. (I wonder why that mutant brainchild never took off?)

Better or worse than an LDR?

To be honest, I can’t blame them (the doubters, not the marmite-men).

Many perceive LDRs as torturous periods of loneliness, punctuated occasionally with awkward sexploits transmitted – pixel by pixel – via a dodgy Skype connection; hardly the stuff of romantic legend.

Those of us foolish enough to be undeterred by this notion will usually gamely battle on for the first few weeks before eventually acknowledging that help may be required. Help, however, is disappointingly unforthcoming.

Google ‘long-distance relationships’ and you will be directed to a nauseatingly vast collection of cutesy blog posts and articles, written almost exclusively by women, the majority of whom seem to have based all their advice on the films of Nicholas Sparks novels.


Ideas like ‘photograph parts of your body onto which you have written romantic messages, send them to your partner and have them guess the body part’ are fraught with problems – just ask my friend Bethany whose mum walked in on her writing ‘I want you’ on her side-boob.

The more you look, the weirder these ‘keep the romance alive!’ suggestions become. When researching this article, I was directed by one well-wishing LDR advisor to the imaginatively named website:

Would you really want to receive panties by post?

What will he do when he reads his personal message from you printed on his very own gold card attached to the panties? Imagine the look on his face when he realizes he has a secret admirer!…The mystery is driving him wild’ , exclaims the home page.

Good. God.

Even 4 weeks with nothing but a pixelated partner could in no way induce me to resort to this tacky underwear valentine. I was under the impression that sending thongs through the post was generally considered more like sexual harassment than foreplay.

“Awkward sexploits transmitted pixel by pixel via Skype”

Marginally creepier is the idea of making a wax cast of each other’s hands, enabling you to hold hands, even when you’re miles apart…I don’t know about you but I find that cradling the disembodied limb of a loved one is the perfect way to stave off the loneliness.

There are also the truly tragic tips – when you find yourself reading a website full of ‘fun conversation ideas’ and actually writing them down, it may be time to acknowledge that the two of you are just not meant to be – from a distance, up close, or, frankly, at all.

You may be wondering after reading this how on earth I myself have managed to sustain an LDR for the past three years.

The answer to this is simple (and maybe just a little bit Nicholas Sparks-cutesy): if you can find the right person, all of the mornings waking up alone, rushed phone calls, and frustrating (in every sense of the word) Skype sessions are erased as soon as you next set eyes on them – no gimmicks necessary.

How have you made your LDR work? Or did it crash and burn within a few weeks of moving to uni? Let us know in the comments below.