Another Academic year has commenced. Another relationship faux pas has been achieved. It may or may not be known that this time last year I did the ‘forbidden’ thing of entering into a relationship with my flatmate Stan* which actually worked out quite well for us!
For this year’s extravaganza we have commenced a long distance relationship. Thanks to the blessing that is having different years abroad, he left for China in August. As it stands we currently live around 7000 miles away from each other; that’s approximately 1000 miles per time zone between us! As a delighted added bonus, because apparently life wasn’t being cruel enough, shortly after he returns I shall be jetting off for my year abroad. Although, as I regularly point out, France is much closer and convenient than China. Therefore making me the less awkward person in the relationship.
Long distance life is a lot less fun than living with your flatmate/other half. I have to make my own breakfast these days, which has been one of the biggest hardships of this whole ordeal. I got too accustomed to being allowed to sleep for an extra fifteen minutes whilst someone else made my toast and coffee for me. It is really rubbish missing someone you’re used to seeing all the time, although there are some advantages.
To say that I have let my physical appearance go is the mother of all understatements. I set myself the challenge of not shaving my legs until he comes back for Christmas. We’re nearing two months in and even I’m pretty disgusted with the result. I’m just thankful it’s jeans season and that nobody bar my housemates will see them. Sorry guys. Also, given the monstrous time difference, Stan goes to bed at around 4pm my time. It’s proving really handy to have my evenings free to get on with Uni work…or watch Netflix. When I’m asleep here, he’s at university there, so he gets to go to classes without me bugging him. So really it’s working out just fine on that front. It’s still weird to Skype someone who is getting ready for bed when you’ve just got in from Uni though.
It’s not all unshaven legs and film nights though. Long distance loving is hard work, whether it’s 20 miles or 2000. Most people at Uni are either in, or know someone, that is in a long distance relationship. They’re not uncommon, although most people just traverse between cities or across to Europe as opposed to the other side of the world (Cheers Stan.) However, after being thrown into the deep end of the long distance life I have learnt a few things and am excited to share these nuggets of wisdom.
So here we have it, some top tips to survive being away from the one you love!
1. Communication is key. Quite an obvious one really, given you are thrown into the terrifying realms of relying on WhatsApp instead of your actual voice to keep in touch. In this technological age, talking to your significant other is a breeze. Skype is an absolute lifesaver, even if it is only once a week. There’s something lovely about getting to see each other’s faces. Although be warned, Skype is unpredictable and only works when it feels like it. I’ve spent many an hour tearing my hair out over the terrible Chinese Internet connection.
2. Trust is essential. Jealousy is no longer an affordable luxury. We’ve all been there, let us not lie. Whether it is because bae has liked another boy/girl’s Instagram photo or because an ex crops up. It happens. When your beau is far away, you’ve only got their word that you have no need for concern. Which is absolutely terrifying; take it from someone who struggles in the trust department. Trust is essential for all couples and when you’re hearing about your other half’s new friends you’ve just got to ignore the tempting pull of paranoia and believe in them and your relationship.
3. Discuss problems as soon as possible. I am one of those godforsaken people who just cannot bring themselves to admit when something is bothering me. I’ve improved in recent months but my word, I used to be a nightmare. When body language can’t do the talking for you, it is up to you to disclose what’s on your mind. No matter how insignificant, talk it through before it manifests into a massive kerfuffle about an unanswered text (an offence I’ve committed.) After all sharing is caring! I nearly always realise that once I’ve stated what’s wrong that it was an absolutely pointless worry, but talking about it still helps and it always shall!
4. Show them that you care. In long distance relationships you can be really cringey and it just comes across as endearing. Admittedly, Stan and I bought pet fish together, which I’m looking after this year and he’ll look after next year. This, I’d like to express, isn’t the simplest way of going about it. Doing little things, like sending a photo of where you are or maybe even a hand-written letter upon occasion, can really help to brighten the moments when you miss your other half the most. Also keeping a countdown of when you’ll see them again is glorious, watching the number get smaller is so exciting! Or you could just get fish because they’re really cool.
To paraphrase Coldplay: Nobody said it was easy, however they definitely said it was going to be hard! I’m a firm believer in long distance love (just as well really) and although it’s not for everyone, it can really bring out the best in a couple. If your relationship can survive long distance, it can survive pretty much anything. So stay strong and keep loving!
*Changed his name because I did it in my last post and I like consistency.I even changed the name on my countdown. Dedication.