Long-distance relationships are obviously nobody’s first choice. However, especially as university students, sometimes there is no other option. Many people, myself included, will understand the struggle of your first serious relationship being put on the rocks by the looming prospect of moving away from one another for university. Nonetheless, having spent almost half of my five-year relationship at varying long-distances, I have discovered a few benefits of living far away from your other half. From going to different universities to living in completely different countries, my boyfriend and I have somewhat become experts at long-distance and, by now, definitely, know how to make the best out of a bad situation. Here are a few things I have learned and actually come to appreciate over the years about long-distance.
- Self-care: Focusing on your own wellbeing at university is challenging at the best of times. Between deadlines, financial troubles and other adult-y worries, it can be hard to take care of yourself properly, let alone of a whole other human being. Long-distance relationships allow you to concentrate on yourself and actually equip you with skills to cope better in your relationship because, to quote RuPaul Charles, “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?”
- Being independent: Sometimes it is really easy to get too comfortable with your partner and forget to work on other relationships outside of your romantic one. Whilst it is lovely clinging to that one person you share everything with, it can become suffocating and lead to isolating yourself from the other people around you – and even make meeting new people anxiety-inducing. Enjoying your time alone or with other people is nothing to feel guilty about: living independent lives, building other friendships and relationships outside the relationship you have with your partner is completely healthy and normal, especially at university, where there are always opportunities to meet new people.
- Appreciating time together: Not to suggest that I didn’t love and look forward to the time we spent together when we lived 10 minutes away from one another, but something about the planning and excitement of seeing my boyfriend after a long spell of being apart gives me so much joy, no matter how short that time may be. There is always a long list of things we have planned to do together, making for a busy and exciting time catching up on lost time. In the back of your minds, you know that there is no room for arguing or bickering as you both are aware that the limited amount of time you have together is precious.
All things considered, it has to be noted that long-distance, obviously, is not always positive. FaceTime sometimes just doesn’t cut it and missing someone can really take its toll. Living far away from the person you are meant to be closest to is, at times, draining for you and your relationship, so it is important to be honest and open about how you are feeling with yourself and your partner. But don’t lose hope, long-distance relationships are more common than you would think. Some people actually prefer them to living with their partner, so don’t write off long-distance before giving it a go.
If I could impart one piece of advice to anyone who is about to get into or already in a long-distance relationship, it would definitely be to always know or at least have planned the next time you’re going to see each other before you head your separate ways. This gives you something to look forward to and also doesn’t leave you with an almighty low after being on such a high whilst together. Oh, and also, get used to FaceTime, it is your new best friend and worst enemy.