Written by Sherina Bhundia
Design by Ellen Stanton
Being with someone you click with so naturally is the best feeling. You feel like you’ve been best friends your whole life; you’re so comfortable with them. Maybe that’s what a soulmate is – not someone who you have everything in common with but someone who feels like home.
You’re thinking about them, aren’t you? It really does SUCK to cope with a long-distance relationship as it is, but a long-distance relationship and a pandemic *SIGH*.
People in your life will tell you – from experience – long-distance relationships are soul-sucking and will always end in tragedy (yeah, tell them to mind their own business please), but I am here to tell you that this is definitely not the case.
While I do believe long-distance relationships are ‘make it or break it’ situations (cliché, I know), it can still be one of the most beneficial experiences one can go through! By the end of this article, I guarantee you will change your mind about the stigma around long-distance relationships.
So, I’ve been with my boyfriend for a little over a year now and while it’s a fairly new relationship, it is still difficult at times, as every relationship is. He goes to Imperial College London and I study at Cardiff University, but we have been friends for over 3 years which makes it worse considering we would see each other so often before we actually got into university!
AND, don’t even get me started on this pandemic! We practically live 5 minutes away from each other at home and I still can’t see him without it being basically illegal *SIGH*.
I am no relationship expert but, from experience, I may or may not have some tricks up my sleeve to help your relationship survive during these difficult circumstances:
- LOVE YOURSELF
Not being able to spend time with your other half can sometimes make us feel insecure about our relationship and inevitably start doubting their loyalty and commitment. In order to combat this feeling, I suggest loving yourself a little more.
I had to adapt to his schedule and learn that I don’t need his reassurance constantly. I found that attempting to keep busy through studying, binge watching the crap out of Netflix, or even chatting to friends made me feel less attached to my boyfriend and just feel wayyy less anxious about being far away.
Loving yourself is the perfect start to coping with a long-distance relationship because in the long run your relationship will feel more real, secure and most importantly mature!
Understandably, the pandemic doesn’t help – my boyfriend literally studies non-stop and finds it difficult to make time for me, but while I may be his least prioritised priority at the moment, I’m still on the list! Yes, we still argue about spending time with each other, but we make it work because our feelings are so much stronger than before and worth fighting for. You can always call them for 15 minutes when they’re on a study break, the little gestures matter!
By loving yourself, you will become more positive and happier; they say ‘good things come to those who wait’, and I’ve definitely realised what that means now I’ve entered a long-distance relationship. I genuinely feel I value my boyfriend more than I already did.
- STEAL THEIR CLOTHES FOR COMFORT
There is one thing we can’t seem to let go of, and that’s our significant others hoodies and sweatshirts. My boyfriend HATES when I ask for (steal) a hoodie, but when I explained how much something so simple can mean so much to someone, he came around.
Giving your significant other something that reminds them of you will allow them to connect with you when you’re not around. As weird as it sounds (I know you do this too), I like to smell my boyfriend’s hoodie because it reminds me of him. Smell can trigger some memories and helps me feel comforted even though I know he is not next to me.
So, next time you see each other make sure you ask for their hoodie, or even have them send it over by mail; I do love an unexpected gift through the post, it makes me feel as if he really is thinking about me and misses me.
- DATE NIGHTS
I don’t care what anyone thinks – dates are important for a healthy relationship. The pandemic obviously restricts you from seeing your partner, but there’s always Skype, Zoom, Facetime! The list is endless.
My boyfriend and I were struggling to Skype during the day because, as an Asian couple, it is pretty difficult, so we have calls at literally 1am. He’s an avid gamer and we make it work using Discord so I can message him on there and he’ll reply faster than say WhatsApp or Snapchat (sad truth: Gaming >>> me).
Nonetheless, every single relationship will get boring after you’ve been together for so long, especially considering with a long-distance relationship you will have to work 10X harder than with someone who you met at a university club social and rushed into things because you were told you’ll meet ‘the one’ at university.
Sometimes, love isn’t a feeling, it’s a commitment – to love everyday, physically and emotionally. It can get hard. People tend to quit when it stops being fun. This is why date night is important!
I suggest scheduling a date once a week and picking something to do online… it will be fun to pick dates alternatively, like movie nights, dinner dates or even just a quick chat – nothing too fancy! In my relationship, we rarely have date nights and that’s something I would like to focus on more because I do believe that spending some time with them makes you feel as though they want to see you.
Overall, if they like you, they’ll text or call you because yes people are busy but we make time for what we want. My mum told me that if your absence doesn’t bother them, then your presence never mattered to them in the first place!
A long-distance relationship brings maturity, commitment and a whole lot of effort, but you should see a future with them or all you gain from it is some life skills … oh and a hoodie.