In September 2011 my boyfriend and I parted our separate ways for university. It was unplanned and completely unexpected; one day we were together, the next we were on different sides of the world.
Here we are, halfway through our degrees, still together and stronger than ever; we’ll soon be celebrating our third Christmas together. Yes we have our ups and downs, but who doesn’t? We have remained strong and so can other relationships. If you’re willing to try to stay in your relationship over a long-distance, the following advice can help you, just like it’s helped us…
WhatsApp and Skype are amazing applications for making you feel that much closer. Whatsapp allows you to talk 24/7 (providing you have 3G internet), wake up to nice messages, and send pictures wherever you may be. Skype gives you those moments away from everything, and allows you to give your full attention to the one you love. Also, you could try creating your own private Facebook group, sharing whatever comes to mind and keeping each other up-to-date with the latest gossip, from both sides of the world. Technology really makes the world feel that much smaller.
Important days like anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine’s Day may be spent apart, but they can be beautiful moments to really show how much you care about each other. They can be extremely difficult dates to get through, but you really are not alone, your partner would be going through the same thing as you. These dates can make your surprises for them more imaginative. Try finding hampers of gifts to be delivered to them, or send them a piece of home – food they may miss or items of clothing or jewellery to give them a sentimental piece of you. Be creative. Make a video. Make a song. Make a dance. Just make it beautiful.
Timetables, social lives and time differences may get in the way of sharing moments with each other, especially when you may want to Skype them. Set scheduled times, like ‘dates,’ to speak to each other each day/week. Treat your time apart as an opportunity to grow individually; if you want to finish your degree with a good grade, your loved one not being there means there is one less distraction! Time spent apart really does make the heart grow fonder – this is such a clichéd saying, but it is so true. The separation will make you stronger, make you dream bigger, allow you to make your own decisions and use your gut instinct, whilst thinking ‘what would happen if they were there?’ I feel that you can learn so much about yourselves and each other in this time away. When they come back, things WILL start again where they left off and you WILL find new and exciting experiences to do together.
Finally, use each other. University is meant to be the time to help set you up for the rest of your life. You will come across new people and new contacts. Working together you can make a variety of contacts for every possible occasion that could happen in the future. We’ve travelled to so many countries and stayed with people for free, as a result of the friends that we’ve each made around the world. “Believe, networking is a beautiful thing,” as my other half would say (he literally says it all the time). It can open doors you never thought of, and deliver some exciting perks.
Above all, stay true to yourself and keep your emotions open. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with that special person, three years really is nothing in a lifetime.
Nick & Ben.