Agony Aunt: Long Distance Relationships

My boyfriend and I are going to different universities. We’ve been together for a year but it’s the first time we’ll be in a long-distance relationship. Everyone keeps telling me long-distance is really hard … Any advice for making it work?

Many people assume that long-distance relationships are incredibly difficult. The truth is that maintaining a happy long-distance relationship is much the same as maintaining a normal one – it just requires a bit more effort. Here are some things I’ve learnt that keep a long-distance relationship running smoothly:


1. Make time for each other
When you live close to the person you are dating, spending time with them is effortless. In long-distance, you need to be more proactive about dedicating time to your significant other. So, whenever you have an opportunity, visit your boyfriend. Of course, time and money are rather significant restraints. If you have few contact hours and don’t live too far away, you could adopt a system that works well for two friends of mine. They see each other every second weekend and alternate who travels to minimise costs.
When you’re not visiting, make time for each other by talking on the phone or on social media every day. It doesn’t have to be for long, it can even just be a message, but it’s vital to show the other person you are thinking of them. Send a text saying “I wish you were here” when your boyfriend knows you’re out with friends or send a photo of something that made you think of him. Both actions will come across as thoughtful and reassuring. My boyfriend (in Canada) and I (in England) used to send each other good morning and goodnight messages. A bit cheesy perhaps, but I loved that it was the first and last thing I saw each day.

2. Communication
I cannot stress the importance of honest communication enough. If your boyfriend does something which upsets you or if something relevant to your relationship is troubling you, tell him! Once he knows there is a problem, you can talk through the issue until you arrive at a solution. Don’t let things fester, and don’t try to ignore a problem. Trust me, it won’t go away.
And, once a problem has been addressed, try not to dwell on it. If every time your boyfriend calls, you are unhappy, it isn’t going to be an enjoyable time for either of you and that will erode your relationship.

3. Keep things exciting
Not only is it important to make your virtual time together a happy one, it’s important to keep it interesting. Send each other presents from time to time as a surprise. Even something small, like a hand-written letter, goes a long way. And when it comes to keeping things exciting, Snapchat and Skype are your friends, if you know what I mean…
I’ve shared with you what helped me during my long-distance relationship, but throughout yours you’ll discover what does and doesn’t work in your unique situation. Ultimately, there are no rules as long as you’re happy with the person you’re with.

Mariana Avelino

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