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Long-distance relationships are too complicated.
People often say “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, especially when it comes to long-distance relationships. But that’s just a lie we tell ourselves to make it easier. The constant yearning to see that special someone in our lives is too much, so we invent clever little phrases to help deal with the pain. The heart doesn’t grow fonder, it just gets desperate.
Some would argue that social media and Skype and all that exciting gubbins makes the long-distance relationship easier. I argue that it reduces the whole relationship down to endless streams of “I miss you.” You can stare at the pixels representing your other half many miles away on a webcam until your retinas burn, but it still hurts that they’re not really there. You can hear their laugh crackle through your laptop speakers, but you never get the full warmth behind it. You can have as many text based heart-to-hearts as you like, but you’ll never know how the other person is feeling until they tell you “I’ve stopped crying now.”
Having to travel to see someone also puts huge expectations on you. Sitting on a train for three hours just to laze around and watch TV can seem hugely pointless to some people, and eventually they just stop showing up unless there’s something planned out. Sometimes all you want is to spend time with the person you love. And sometimes that just doesn’t seem to be good enough.
Finding the time to see each other becomes an aggravating and upsetting experience as well. As two people living separate lives, miles away from one another, it’s likely that both your schedules will be pretty rammed with socialising, activities and work. One of you might want to just snatch a few fleeting hours, and be willing to make the trip just for that. But then what’s the point in only spending a few hours together? This argument comes up again and again, and before you know it, it’s been three weeks and you’ve forgotten the sound of their voice.
Perhaps I’m just bitter. Maybe they can work. But for me, long-distance relationships remain a bad idea. There’s too much upset and pain, too much longing and desire. It’s one set of compromises after another, and the pay-off eventually stops being worth it. Don’t bother. Find someone nearer. As they say, “there’s plenty more fish in the sea.”
Long-distance relationships can work.
Whilst my memory tends to fail me on a daily basis, casting my mind back to two years ago, amidst the blur that was Freshers’, lies a statement that I have never forgotten: ‘your long-distance relationship won’t last’. Right from the outset, I adamantly defied this; I like a challenge and wasn’t going to let some drunken know-it-all dictate my future romance. Snapping back to the present day, here I am, my long-distance relationship stronger than ever, as I resist the urge to smugly declare ‘I told you so’. Here are a few tried and tested ways to ensure that you and your partner won’t part ways over Uni. (If you didn’t just mentally sing Ed Sheeran’s U.N.I. lyrics, then I applaud you).
Plan set weekends where you can see each other. Purchasing a railcard was one of the best decisions I have made since living way from home. It cuts train prices dramatically, meaning I am able to squeeze in an extra visit to see my partner. Weekends away where it’s just the two of you will make up for lost time and will also aid you in ploughing through your work if you have something to look forward to.
The technological era we live in lends itself perfectly to bridging the gap in-between visits from your other half. Take your pick: Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Snapchat, need I go on? There is no excuse for lack of communication when we are so constantly glued to our beloved electronic devices. I find that making the time to arrange a phone call every couple of days is the perfect balance, ensuring you have lots to catch up on.
Make the most of holidays together. Whilst I am not suggesting you both suddenly retreat into a cocooned love nest, neglecting your friends and family, non-term time gives you the ideal opportunity to spend some quality time together, so don’t waste it. Alternatively, spending too much time together during this period will only make the transition back to a long distance relationship harder, so try and find the right balance.
Ignore any negativity. Whether it’s from your peers who vowed that long-distance would never work and started placing bets on how long your relationship would last, or reading horror stories about how X cheated on Y when they moved away. None of this is helpful. Optimism is all too often neglected but it holds the key to ensuring a healthy long-term, long-distance relationship.
Jealousy may rear its ugly head from time to time, but trusting your other half is imperative. Seeing them tagged in a group photo where they happen to be standing next to a person of the opposite sex should not be a cue to either a) stalk the said person or b) interrogate your partner about who they dared to look at during a night out.
Call me cheesy, but ultimately, if you want it to work, it will. Oh and whilst I’m at it, I’ll add the cliché you all expected – absence does makes the heart grow fonder!