Should we, should we not, will it work, is it worth it? Whether you yourself have been caught up in one or it’s one of your friends, long-distance is something we can all relate to. In one way or another.
It’s a hassle for sure. You hear the girl in the bedroom next to you crying down the phone every night or the boy the other side of you doing something much worse. You ask yourself, why are they putting themselves through this?
And now, it’s going to happen again. Summers spent travelling, working, and volunteering means that someone you know will be moving back all gooey eyed for this hot chick they met. Maybe it’s even you, reading this right now.
Sure, an LDR (Long Distance Relationship) is capable of beating the odds and succeeding. 75% of engaged couples have claimed to have been in a long distance relationship at some point in their lives. I know many sixth-form sweethearts who made it through three years apart and are now happily together and thinking about settling down.
But here’s the thing.
It doesn’t always work.
In fact, 40% of LDRs are doomed for failure. Once you find yourself at university without bae, it can turn complicated.
For one, it impacts on the friends you make. Whether you want it to or not, there will be nights when everyone will be off out to a new club opening, where they’ll all bond over something ‘lit’ that happened that night, and proceed to go on about it for the next semester. Meanwhile, you’re sat on a coach alone for 6 hours so that you can spend a day with your SO.
“It certainly affected my social life,” Ed admits to The Independent. “We would spend so many weekends in each other’s company that I neglected my friendships in Southampton. I didn’t mind at the beginning, but I started to miss out on more and more social events, and I suppose I didn’t make as many friends as I could have.”
It’s the same with meeting new people at social events and parties. Emma Johns, a former student at London College of Fashion, told The Guardian “I think if you have a boyfriend, you don’t get involved in the same way. If you’re committed to someone else, you’re not as likely to meet new people,”
Long-distance can effect your actual relationship too. Finding the right balance between ‘too clingy’ and ‘not showing enough attention’ is difficult enough when you get to see each other constantly. When it’s long distance though, it gets even trickier.
But, of course, every relationship is different. Hell, every person is different.
Just because experiences and statistics are pessimistic, it doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Most students will face a LDR at some point in their lives. Whether it be over the summer, during term time, or during a placement year.
I managed to survive a year-long LDR with us both living in two different countries and we just made it work.
Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist for relationship charity Relate spoke to The Independent about the issue. “Of course they can survive,” she says. “It’s challenging, and it depends on how good the relationship was before you went away. University is a time of significant personal growth, and some couples grow apart.”
But some couples thrive on it.
Toby Marsh related his story about how he and his wife stuck together “through uni, through travel, career changes, births, deaths and marriage. We grew up together. It’s easy to say relationships don’t survive through university, but, as with many things, you need to work at them and respect them. We are very lucky.”
So if you’re about to head off to university without your SO, don’t fret about it. If you want it to work, then it will. Just make sure you don’t ignore the friends you have around you, and those future friends you’re bound to meet along the way.
By Holly Smith