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How I’m surviving a long distance relationship at uni

LDR’s are one of the worst-best things


After being in a long distance relationship for the last two years, I'm a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to LDRs. Though I wouldn't say they are ideal, they certainly do have positives and sometimes you can't help who you fall in love with.

My boyfriend's home is normally in Germany and now he is a voluntary carer for the disabled in New Zealand for a year. Yep, New Zealand.

The distance between us shot from just over 800 miles up to near 19,000 and it has never been harder. We met as teenage pen pals and hit it off as instant bestfriends until we met for a summer and couldn't be just friends anymore.

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I’d never regret starting what we have even though it is difficult. We have had so many amazing experiences, learnt about eachother's cultures, built a relationship solely from the level of our personalities, and through the distance we have had to try harder than ever to keep together.

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The difference at uni is that the circumstances have almost completly changed, and I've hit that point in my life when I'm going to change as a person the most. The time you have is far more limited and you have to split yourself equally between friends, family and your partner. Unfortunately, as I've found, universities are full of happy couples that become the bane of your life with their proximity to each other and you very quickly develop into a relationships Scrooge.

This may all seem too much to handle but it is so possible, and it's in fact kinda fun. For almost every problem there's a solution and there is no need to rot in a stagnant heap of couple hating.

Here's the Bear Grylls guide to surviving LDR-dom at uni:

Skype, WhatsApp, Email…

Might seem obvious, but these are your best friends. Become very well acquainted with them because you're going to be spending a lot of time on them.

Communication is really what keeps LDRs going. Seeing their face lights up your day and although Skype can be a bit crap at times, it does the job and it's free.

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Skype's wonderful picture quality as always…

Always. Make. Time.

Your friends are pretty cool and your work is really important but (and note this down somewhere you'll see it) always make time for your other half. That's key even if you live down the road from one another. It will show them that you care, make you feel happier in the relationship even if it is only 10 minutes, and keeps communication up.

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Even on a student loan that barely covers your VK and a loaf of bread, try to make space for little gifts to send them. Yeah birthdays and Christmas are great but the unexpected ones are the best and they don't have to be big or expensive to mean something or make them smile. Don't forget the cost of sending it, but if you make it small enough to fit in a large-size envelope, even to New Zealand, it only costs £3.90 to send via Royal Mail.

Here's some suggestions:

Good ol’ fashioned love letters

Need I say more? A bit cringe, but who wouldn't like sending and receiving letters full of their loved ones thoughts and compliments? Just this little extra bit of effort can make a hell of a lot of a difference.

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Save for visits

This may seem impossible, but it can always somehow be managed. I’m not saying starve yourself or not have fun, but save for that all important flight as it's so worth it.

There are trains and coaches that are infinately cheaper so don't be put off having a look. The cheapest airline I've found is EasyJet and if you book early enough in advance on the app you can catch a flight for as little as £26

Sharing memories Avatar ponytail-style

Don’t actually though, it’s a bit weird. But the point still stands that you need to share memories with each other to involve your other half in this important part of your life. Photos, videos, messages and voice messages from your partner telling you what’s just happened or you showing them your night at Toast is a little boost when you're feeling lonely.

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New Zealand, North Island on a road-trip

Be (sort-of) single

Try to enjoy life without them whilst they can’t be with you. I'm not saying go and cheat or do things you would do if you were single, but treat life at uni as if you were. Go out with your friends, enjoy the moment that you’ll tell them about later, go on trips to the local area. Live. Make time for your boyfriend or girlfriend on the other side of the planet, but don't wait around for them.

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Set a date to next see them or to end the distance completely

Having something to count down to will make things so much easier for you, like having an advent calendar for Christmas. You can easily see how long until the big day and the present that is your partner. If you can set an end date to the distance, this is one better: My boyfriend and I have finally been able to set an end date as he’ll be going to uni in London allowing us to finally live together. The most exciting thing to ever happen. Ever.

Just keep going

This isn’t really a piece of advice but it still counts. A bit of perseverance and resilience will pay off hugely so stick with it and be patient.