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How to Support Your Long-Distance Relationship at University

Long distance can be daunting, but it’s doesn’t mean the end. Here are tips from successful long distance couples on how they make it work.

long distance relationship Illustration of two hands holding iPhones each displaying half a heart
Image: Shutterstock

Technology is at its peak, and so are online relationships. With Covid-19 forcing us to stay indoors, everyone managed to find increasingly creative ways to keep in touch and communicate online. This in turn created an environment where long-distance relationships could thrive and finally be seen as the ‘norm’.

Many people, especially those of us attending university, try to make long-distance work, as it feels like we have already done the whole ‘online relationship’ thing. Plenty of people with partners before university expect to make it work long distance, and for some it does – but it takes two, and a whole lot of effort.

Not only do you completely change the dynamic of your relationship, but you also change the ways you show affection, how you date, and most importantly how you make time for each other.

For those people who are going to be starting university, and want advice or tips on how to maintain relationships with loved ones, then here is a list of the most common and effective tips and tricks from 3 student couples who are currently succeeding long-distance.

Communicate everything

We’ve all heard this one at least 10 times, but it really is true! Whilst it seems obvious and easy, many people come to find that when their lives become separate, communication becomes more difficult to manage, especially with university lifestyles. One of the most important things is learning how to readjust your communication style to fit your relationship going during long distances.

For Annabel Lavelle, a Durham university student who made her long-distance relationship official last month, social media has been the saving grace of her relationship.

She said, “Without social media, we probably would never have stayed in contact, now that she’s quite a while away. It’s definitely useful to keep updated on what she’s doing and how she is!”.

Man and woman holding hands over mobile phones. Credits: Shutterstock

She added, “I have learned that it’s very important to communicate how you’re feeling, as often when you’re in a bad mood or something is wrong, it may seem like there is a problem in the relationship”.

In an article from Brides.com, Kavita Patel, a relationship coach, suggests that couples doing long distances should make time to talk in the morning and at night.

The basic idea of this is that couples keep each other updated on their daily schedules and can build that key communication time into their day. And whilst routinely calling your significant other may not seem so romantic, again, it’s all about adjusting. You have to remember that they won’t be doing all those little things with you anymore, and whilst it seems silly to talk about small moments of your day, is it what will keep you connected through it all?

Patience is key for the relationship to work

Making sure you see each other in person whenever you can is just as important as those regular phone calls and texts. As of 2022, long-distance couples see each other on average 1-2 times a month. Whilst this may sound small, those weekends away, or days when they come to see you will be the best time to bond and share parts of your new life. One of the best parts about long-distance at university (or just in general) is being able to show off all your favorite parts of where you live or explore a new place.

The general trend for long-distance couples seems to be that, despite the difficulty of not seeing their partner for a given amount of time, the time they do spend together is so much more special and appreciated.

Jake Perry and his girlfriend do long distance from Plymouth to Salford in the UK. He said: “It can be frustrating, but there is the flip-side of it when you do get to see your partner after a while, and that first hug is always a little bit tighter. I value the time we spend together a lot more”.

Annabel added, “A benefit of long distance is when we do finally get to see each other, we don’t take it for granted. She came to surprise me last week and it was really exciting!”.

Man and woman hugging at the train station. Credits: Shutterstock

The importance of trust

Whilst technology is a blessing for those of us doing distance, with video calls and online games, it can also be a curse. Being long-distance during the peak of social media can often make it hard to stop yourself from worrying about who they might be texting, or really anything going on behind the scenes. Trust is so extremely important to make a modern, long-distance relationship work.

Jake shared his views on trust in a long-distance relationship, after having one go wrong, and one goes right.

“My first relationship fell apart because of the long distance when I thought it was going well, so I definitely had my doubts about my new partner. But she has shown me time and time again that I shouldn’t have to worry or doubt our connection.”

Cardiff university student, Chloë Milne’s thoughts on trust in a long-distance relationship were also very positive.

She said, “I’ve definitely had doubts but at the end of the day I know I trust him.”

A recent article from 2Date4Love, showed that 55% of people are worried their partner will meet someone else. It is completely normal and valid to feel jealous, possessive, and even feel a little bit crazy when doing long distance, but the important thing to remember is that your imagination will be working non-stop. It is normal for trust to come and go along the course of your relationship, but the most important thing is to make sure that you communicate any trust issues with your partner, and find compromises or resolutions.

Obsession is normal but can be avoided

When we are stuck with our love life being online, it is easy to fall into a routine pattern of checking locations, online activity or re-reading messages obsessively, just to feel connected to our partners when they aren’t physically there.

Chloë said ”I feel like it’s easy to get obsessed with checking when he was last online or last seen. This negatively impacts me as I get really anxious if he’s not in touch for a while’.

She added “We had a few arguments at the start because we were so used to spending our time together. Even now, its hard because a lot of our arguments could be resolved if we could just see each other in person”.

Two hands holding drinks coming from laptop screens. Credits: Shutterstock

Like Chloë, a lot of people, especially those who had been together before going long distances will find it hard to let go of knowing certain things. It’s easy to keep track of partners’ day-to-day activities when you are involved in them, and when that changes, it may feel like you get lost, or that your relationship isn’t ‘normal’.

Jake also said, “There’s always a side of you that sees other couples on social media, living together or just having it easier distance-wise and you just wish that was you”.

Going forward into long-distance

Taking away from the personal experiences of these three couples, its important to remember that long distance does not necessarily mean the end of your relationship. Sure, it can mean the end of an ‘era’ but with everything that stops, something else will go.

The benefits of long-distance relationships can include better communication, more independence, and of course the chance to become more creative with your date nights!

So, if you’re looking for a sign that your long-distance relationship is going to work out just fine, here it is!

Written By

Hiya, my name is Megan! i am currently studying towards a degree in Journalism in Cardiff. I am in my second year, and my goal is to be a successful writer for a women's magazine one day. I want my brand to be feminine, meaningful and boundary breaking. Some things about me: I love chocolate pretzels, Christmas is my favourite holiday, even though summer is my favourite season and I am the oldest sister, daughter and grandaughter! And my favourite colour is yellow.

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