Sex and Drugs Survey 2020

Long distance relationships: a big ask?

To make my life at UEA easy-going, I gave myself two rules to follow: ‘never get into a long-distance relationship’ and ‘never fall in love with a flatmate’. However, life isn’t that easy to plan. Sometimes life throws an Australian exchange student across the hall of your flat. As you can imagine, I broke both of my rules within the first few months of uni. And now having been in a long-distance relationship for a year and a half with my boyfriend, not only did I break my rules, I shattered them into tiny pieces.

Being long-distance wasn’t even an option for us at first, because we were both focused on the negatives. The first negative is in the name, the distance. Being about 10,500 miles away (yes, I just looked that up), there is no chance of surprise weekend visits, as it would take the whole weekend and about £2k just to get to the other person’s house! Which brings me to the second negative – time. We spend a lot of time apart, a lot of time waiting and counting down the days. So, you must be asking yourself, how is this relationship possible or even worth it?

People tend to focus on the negatives of long-distance relationships, and there aren’t a lot of success stories. However, if you and your partner are both committed to making it work, there’s no reason it shouldn’t. My advice is to make time for each other. For us, due to the huge time difference (11 hours), we can’t talk all day every day. But I see this as a huge benefit, I wake up in the morning to tens of snapchats about his day and we ensure when we are talking, it’s a conversation worth having.  We also plan times to skype call and save certain stories, so we chat for hours at a time.

A huge benefit to a long-distance relationship is the long phone calls. I’ve never had such a strong bond with a partner, because for a lot of our relationship all we can do is talk. There is no ‘netflix n chill’ where we sit in silence for hours watching a movie until someone makes a move, and … well, you know the rest. As much I love nights like that, I also love talking to my boyfriend for hours at a time about everything and anything, while I think in a ‘normal’ relationship it’s easy to slip into meaningless chat or putting on a movie.  

But no relationship is perfect. Long-distance can be emotionally draining at times. The goodbyes are horrible and the waiting to see each other can feel like forever. An important aspect to long-distance relationships is knowing when the distance will come to a permanent end. Being in a never-ending long-distance relationship is nearly impossible. 

Knowing my boyfriend will move to the UK by the end of 2020 is what keeps us both going, and gives us something to look forward to. For a lot of students, it might be waiting until graduation and moving back home to be with your partner. Whatever it is, there must be an end-date which makes the distance all worthwhile. Once you are reunited and can live a ‘normal’ relationship, you will have been through the toughest times together and can only get stronger. And until then, the long phone calls and the excitement when you do visit each other will get you through.


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Sarah Duffy

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June 2022
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