Unfortunately in life, it seems that the good things come at the most inconvenient of times. The top you’ve just bought will ALWAYS go on sale a week later, an old friend will ALWAYS want to meet up when you’re busy and your house mates will ALWAYS ask to get Domino’s just after you’ve eaten (let’s be honest, that one never stops me). So when you’re about to go on your third year abroad, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find that person that makes you feel something a little bit special. It’s almost SCIENCE it’s so inevitable. So what happens? The tension lingers for a while and at some point you have to have that conversation. It’s Do or Die. Do: You spend the next year miserable and lonely without your significant other, potentially for it all to be in vain years down the line. Die: You cut the cord and quit while your ahead. After all you’re both happy! And for that reason you might think it better to leave with great memories than risk the difficulty (and expense) of a long distance relationship.
It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
I met my boyfriend a few weeks after starting at university and KNEW how much I liked him from the beginning. A year above me at uni, he was going to go on placement in the following year, so please imagine my dismay as he announced that he wanted to go abroad, knowing that I would be going to France shorting after his return. Despite this, we made the decision to give it a go, and here I’m going to give you a few pieces of advice from the perspective of ‘the left behind’ to keep that flame alight, ooooh….
Skype Skype Skype Skype Skype
I genuinely can’t put this simply enough, JUST TEXTING FOR 12 MONTHS IS A DEATH SENTENCE. The times when my boyfriend and I argued the most this year were when we had solely texted for days, conversation is strained and boring and you’ll forget to text back.Viber,Whatsapp and Facebook are all at our fingertips, it’s the 21st century and compared to the telephone box calls and sending of letters that our former third year abroad students had to endure, this is really a piece of cake.
Split the cost of visits
So I know this is a controversial one and I was a bit dubious at first, but each time you visit one another, split the cost of the flight/train/ferry. Obviously the cost works out the same in the long run for each person, but it really makes the cost of those tickets easier to swallow (especially on a student budget), and it means you’ll be more inclined to visit more often as trips will (seem) a bit cheaper.
Always have your next trip booked
Two reasons: 1) Flight and train tickets are much cheaper when they’re booked in advance. 2) Your time apart is so much more manageable when you know exactly when you’re going see their pretty face next. I found it much nicer to leave my boyfriend each time by saying “See you in x-number of weeks!”, and it also breaks up the year into smaller chunks. 3 months to go? That’s only 12 weeks to tick off your calendar!
It’s so easy to sit in your bedroom, flicking through your Facebook friendship, bar of family sized Cadbury’s in one hand, vodka coke in the other sobbing “I REMEMBER WHEN HE USED TO DRUNK FEED ME A MR. KEBAB ON WEDNESDAY NIGHTS – I MISS THOSE TIMESSSSS”. Don’t be that friend. While your friends will be generally sympathetic for the first month or two, having to look at your miserable face everyday will start to grate and you’ll lose friends as well as your lover. Do something you enjoy! Focus on your sports, music, art, whatever it is that you didn’t have time when your significant other was around, now you have a couple of extra hours each week to do something fun. Even better, go study some more lolololol. Not only will it take your mind off of things but it’ll also give you WAY more to talk about when you do have those Skype calls.
Don’t be jealous
The green eyed monster strikes again: Your girlfriends Facebook profile shows her laughing jauntily with some tall, dark Spanish guy. He’s been tagged as Javier. You go on his profile and that photo wasn’t just a fluke, he is just….I MEAN HOW DO YOU GET MUSCLES THERE?! You’re sure you’ve seen him in an Armani advert somewhere. Before you know it you’ve found his Twitter, Instagram and a video of a musical theatre show he was once in at secondary school and you’re WRITHING in your own insecurity. Stop it now. You’re being stupid and insecure and I will not continue on this point. So let me google it for you, have a read in your own time and let us move on. If your partner loves you enough to go into such a hard and testing relationship, then they love you enough to be faithful. Simples.
Let’s not delude ourselves however, if you’re serious about staying with your loved one then you have to be aware that it is not going to be easy. There are going to be times where you would give your left arm to see them for 10 minutes, and there will be times where you are so seething with anger that you wonder why you put yourself through it at all. Hang. On. In. There. One year goes unbelievably fast and I promise that you WILL wonder what all the fuss was about. Is it cheesy to say that distance makes the heart grow fonder?.. Whether you’re about to start, during or finished your year apart from tu amor, I’d love to hear your questions and own experiences of long distance relationships, good or bad! Get in touch!