Maintaining a relationship when moving away to University.
Afraid of leaving your school sweetheart behind as one – or both of you – pursue a further education? This is a common problem when moving to a university that is far away.
Whether you have been together 3 months or 3 years, it is frankly unpredictable as to whether your relationship will last. However, here are a few pointers on to how to keep the magic of your relationship for when you’re far apart:
Social Media is an absolute gift for Long Distance Relationships.
Social media means we can contact pretty much anybody from any place in the world. This is a great way for you and your partner to feel connected no matter the distance. There are apps on the market designed specifically for couples that are free, to make your partner feel close to your heart – even if they aren’t close to hand.
Specifically designed for long distance relationships, it is app much like Facebook messenger except it is exclusive to you and your partner. You can send each other photos from your day, create lists of things to do together when you finally do see each other again and, my favourite part of the app, send each other fun little stickers that tell each other what you’re doing and express your emotions in a fun and amusing way. You can draw silly pictures together on the drawing tool and even give each other ‘thumbkiss’… for when you can’t kiss your partner in real life. Other actions include sending a ‘thinking of you’ speech bubble to show your partner how much you miss them – this is particularly nice when one of you may have something stressful coming up, such as a job interview or assignment deadline.
Video Messaging Apps
A perfect way to speak to each other after a long day. This is great for contacting anybody you are missing, whether it be your mum, friend or pet cat. It makes it that much easier to feel closer to your partner (although you may end up irritable with each other when you signal drops and you can’t seem to hear each other properly!). Skype and Facetime are particularly popular and well-known apps useful for talking to loved ones, and are special in the sense you can feel like you’re both in the same room as each other.
This is a relatively new app, and is different to the ones above. It aides relationships through tracking its progress and asking you questions. Through bringing up negatives allows you to have something to work on with your partner, such as your communication and closeness, which may take a dip when living away from each other. By doing it together can also give you something to talk about and encourage honesty and communication. Many reviewers do say the app’s response to your relationship does tend to be a bit harsh, so it is recommended you don’t take its responses too seriously. If you’re happy with a side of your relationship the app has detected a ‘serious’ problem with, it’s recommended you ignore it. You may want to track your progress by answering a few questions each day, or you may only wish to use the longer questionnaire about your partnership once and bear in mind its response.
Give them something thoughtful
It is important to show your partner you’re thinking of them while you’re away from them – no matter how busy you are. There are lots of quick and easy things you can do at minimal cost that don’t get in the way of your busy University Schedule. By making it clear your partner is on your mind strengthens your relationship. There are many ways you can make your partner feel special and cared for even when they are far away. These can be free or at minimal cost, suitable for that all too common tight student budget. There are always ways of being thoughtful that cost you nothing. Good morning texts, a phone call, reminders and compliments are all invaluable.
Gifts in the post
While this may not be possible depending on your budget and how far away you are from each other, little gifts in the post can always be a great way to make your partner smile and feel thought of. This does not need to be expensive and can be as small as their favourite chocolate bar or simply some photos of the two of you together. There are many photo printing companies online that will print off your first few photos free, meaning postage will be all you have to pay for! It is best for your budget to stick to sending your partner gifts only every once in a while, such as when they need their spirits uplifted, and to keep the gift small and thoughtful.
Cewe Photoworld is a great example of an online photo printing service that provides you with a large number of free photo prints just by making an account with them! This is a great way of giving a thoughtful and romantic gift without breaking the bank.
Write them a good old-fashioned letter
You might think writing a letter is only suitable these days for sending a thank you letter to your great old aunty Sue who bought you an unbearable jumper for Christmas, or that sending a ‘love letter’ is just about as embarrassing as reciting self-written poetry to them. But you don’t need to announce your undying love for your partner in a very cringy letter… unless you want to, of course. What I suggest is set up a letter correspondence between the two of you because there’s nothing more exciting than getting mail in the post! You can send each other letters as often as you like and as long as you like. With second class stamps costing only 55p each, this is a thoughtful and inexpensive way to make your partner feel good. If you are unsure of what to say, here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Write about your plans for the week / what you have done this week.
- Suggest some things to do when you next see each other – this will give your partner something to look forward to.
- Mention something you are proud of them for doing.
- Write about the events they have coming up in their life.
- Don’t forget to tell them how much you miss them!
Activities are better together.
Just because the two of you are apart doesn’t mean you can’t do things together. Playing games and watching films are still possible through video messaging apps and can give you something fun to do instead of discussing your dreary day. Here are some recommended activities to do with your partner:
Name that Tune
This is a great game to play with your partner over skype or any other video messaging app. Play five or ten seconds of a song and see if they get it right. This can also be a great drinking game to play together! If you guess it right, the other person drinks, if you can’t guess correctly, the other person drinks! You might want them to guess some of your favourite songs as a couple or play some 90s classics to get you both feeling all nostalgic. You can have a laugh as some of the most ridiculous songs of your youth are remembered and scoff over the ones your partner just cannot get right! Spotify is a great app for this game, whether you pay or subject yourself to the adverts to keep it free.
Every once in a while it might be nice to watch a film together by video call while also watching a film on your laptop. If this isn’t possible as your laptop isn’t able to accommodate both a skype call and load a film, you can watch it at the same time as messaging each other. This a great way to have something to talk about and enjoy together. By getting settled in front of your screens with popcorn and snacks you can laugh along (or cry) with each other – after all, films are much better as a shared experience! Watching the same TV series as each other is also something fun to do, keeping your interests similar means you can talk about it when you next contact them.
It differs from couple to couple the extent you wish your partner to be involved in your university life, and the most important thing to do is to ensure both of you are happy with the arrangement you have. Communication is the most important way to maintaining any relationship, long distance or otherwise. However, you need to maintain a balance between closeness and taking a step back to allow yourself and your partner to grow as individuals. Talk about your feelings and be honest about what you want, as well as be willing to compromise. This way you’re relationship is bound to survive.
Emma Collier, 19. English Literature student.