‘Dear God you’re starting university NOT single?!– How can you possibly enjoy yourself if you have someone at home? You need to be finding yourself- not stuck on the phone to someone miles away. It’ll never last…’
WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH.
I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over a year and, it’s perfectly okay. There’s this huge stigma that long distance relationships will be the pain of your existence but, trust me- it really isn’t that bad. Read on for the reality of managing a long distance relationship at university and all my top tips.
THE GOLDEN RULES
I have three golden rules that apply to ANY relationship but, are essential for you to stick to when you’re a hundred miles apart.
- Never go to sleep on an argument.
- Always say Good Morning and Good Night.
- Don’t forget I Love You
Such simple little things yet, when you’re caught up in a hectic university schedule or work shifts they can become so easy to forget. I often find that if we don’t have any sort of conversation first thing- there is no way i’ll be having a good day.
James recharges me. A conversation with him, no matter how short, will guarantee to give me an energy boost to at least get through till the next quick chat we can sneak in. Good Morning, Good Night and I Love You are taken for granted all too often. They’re the most important words, don’t forget them.
As for the first rule, anyone who says they can sleep after having an argument is insane. If you care about someone there is no way you can get a peaceful nights sleep if you’ve exchanged bad words. It’s even more horrendous when you can’t just roll over in bed and give a quick kiss to their back just to let them know, I still love you. I will not stand for it. Nobody can sleep unless everything has been resolved or calmed to an agreeable point.
Train journeys and petrol fees are just not sustainable on a student budget. They’re expensive so, you need to be smart and fair in how you organise seeing each other. Do not leave all the travelling to one person. You need to be balanced in your visits otherwise it’s all too easy for those trips and the racking up of costs to cause resentment.
As a couple you need to be equalised in the effort you put in to see each other. Take it in turns. If someone pays to travel down, the other should pay for food or the activity. Balance costs, balance who travels where. Help each other out.
MY CHEAP TRAIN TRAVEL TIPS
- Invest in a railcard. Mine costs me £30 for a full year which I get via the Railcard App. It’s electronic and kept on my phone (just make sure it’s charged before your journey). It ensures you get discounted prices on all train journeys, so that £30 will be back in your pocket within a few train rides. A worthy investment.
- Avoid peak times. Early morning trains (6am), mid morning trains (9-10am on a weekday) or late night trains (8.30pm onwards) are always the cheapest options. Durham to Sheffield can be up to £45 for a single, but sticking to off peak times I can normally bag a ticket for as cheap as £8.
- Book in advance. Train prices are constantly fluctuating. If you know a set day you are going to travel back for, get them booked NOW! I’m already organising trains for November. It’s almost always a cheaper option and guarantees you a seat!!
- Or, if you enjoy the adrenaline of risk taking you can opt for bagging very last minute tickets. On a few occasions last year I made some rushed trips home and found that booking an hour before I got tickets as cheap as a tenner. (Much prefer the comfort of an early booking though!)
THAT LONLEY FEELING
I’m not going to lie to you, it gets really tough at times. Flicking through Instagram stories and seeing other couples going on date nights or moving in together. Your tummy starts to knot and it feels like you’re carrying this massive weight around with you. It hurts. A lot.
Try not to dwell on that lonely feeling. Keep your mind focused on those euphoric butterflies that erupt through you when you see them step off that train or you manage to pull off surprising them. Those moments of utter bliss are the one’s to dwell on.
It can become all to easy to let that sinking weight of missing them take over- this is where your relationship could become restrictive. University is there for you to enjoy; something that’s impossible when you’re in the depths of despair missing your significant other. If one of you is struggling make sure you do all you can to lift them out of it.
WHAT IT’S TAUGHT ME
Spending 85% of our relationship so far away from each other I realised just how much I care for my boyfriend. I’ve never been ‘in love’ before so I had no idea what it would feel like it or how you would even know. I think I was pretty sure from the get go with James but, all this distance made me certain.
It made me understand how much of a comfort my partner is to me. I also realised just how sure I was that this was all I wanted. Living mostly apart it would have been so easy to throw it all away yet, I know I wouldn’t change anything for the world. No matter how difficult it all gets at times, it’s worth it.
So no, having a long distance relationship whilst at university (especially as a fresher) did not limit me. It didn’t restrict the amount of fun I had or limit my experiences. It hasn’t and won’t ever restrict me because, when it’s with somebody you truly care about it really doesn’t matter at all.