Hi! I’m Millie- self-proclaimed long distance relationship expert and Durham Fresher. Somewhat ironically, my first day at Durham marked myself and my boyfriend’s one year anniversary. As he’s from London and I’m from Bath, it’s never been straightforward. But we’ve managed to make it work- here’s how:
1- Give each other space: Going to uni is a big change, and sometimes it makes us want to cling to our home comforts. But if you’re ever going to thrive independently, you need to learn to let your relationship flow in the direction university will take you in. This won’t be easy at first, but giving each other space to grow will enable you to bring your relationship with you along the journey
2- Get in a routine: Maybe you would like to Skype your girlfriend every night instead of going to Klute- but don’t be that guy! Getting into a routine for when you have quality time gives you something to look forward to, and allows you to incorporate your partner into your uni schedule. For me, seeing my boyfriend every three weeks (taking it in turns to visit) really helps me plan ahead with work and fun, and allows me to still feel like I’m getting the most out of uni without letting my relationship suffer.
3- Make it affordable: Being a student isn’t the easiest thing financially- thetrainline.com and national express (complete with student discount and railcard) became my best friends within a matter of months for travel. Booking in advance will end up saving you a fair amount too
4- Find other ways of making romantic gestures: A few weeks into uni I was having a rough week when I got an email telling me I had a delivery to collect asap. Carrying the massive bouquet of flowers my boyfriend had sent me back to my room was a bit cringey, but it was the sweetest gesture and really made my week, as well as making me feel infinitely more loved up every time I saw them. Major LDR brownie points
5- Don’t do too much: Yes, you haven’t seen her in two weeks and yes, you want to take her to your favourite club, your favourite chippy, your favourite coffee shop, a romantic walk, but don’t plan too much for your weekend. With all the stress of uni, it can be quite nice to have a mellow weekend and just hang out with your partner, instead of giving them the whole tour. Plus, you’ll have no idea what to do for a date next time they visit!
6- Mix up the communication: Snapchat, Whatsapp, FaceTime, Skype, even the odd postcard! This keeps it fresh and interesting, and I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to see and hear each other. If you’ve been texting all week, you’ll be amazed at how refreshing it is to Skype- because let’s be honest, texting all day can be a bit monotonous.
7- Be honest with each other: This is important in every relationship, but when you’re long distance it’s vital you keep an honest and open dialogue going. You’ll both be going through so much and feeling so many different things, if you aren’t honest about the difficult things, you risk growing apart.
8-Have something that reminds you of them: For me, this is the classic boyfriend’s t-shirt, but it can be anything- a picture of the two of you above your desk, a gift they got you, I even have a pebble in my purse from a day trip last summer. Mementos are oddly soothing for those days when you miss him!
9- Find something fun for the two of you to do: There’s this really great website called Rabb.it which I would recommend- it allows you to set up a browser in the chat room which means you can surf the web together- watch funny cat videos on YouTube or your favourite TV show- it’s a nice way to have an activity which is personal to the two of you. We like to simultaneously watch a Netflix series whilst on Skype (If you haven’t already seen Making a Murderer, would 100% recommend).
10- Always say goodnight and good morning- this seems like a small one, but it links back to that idea of having a routine. This quickly became a sort of anchor in my relationship when I started uni- I appreciated the sense of stability it gave me. Plus, who doesn’t want to start the morning with a text from the one you love?