Megan Shaefer recounts her experience with long distance relationships in St Andrews, sharing her advice on making it work.
I entered my first year at St. Andrews in a long distance relationship. I’d heard cautionary tales of tumultuous long distance relationships, but I refused to let them deter me. Of course it would work –we were meant to be.
It wasn’t meant to be. The durability of a relationship is never fully tested until partners are separated. While it is noble to make such a commitment, the longstanding cliché rings true: things don’t always work out the way you thought they would.
To all dewy-eyed, besotted freshers entering St. Andrews without their hunny, I have words of wisdom to share.
DO: Make time for them. Whether it’s a weekend home (if at all possible), a Skype date, or a phone call. As thrilling as university can be, and trust me, it is, a relationship requires work from both parties. Make sure they are making time for you too.
DO: Ensure there is mutual trust between you. Regardless of whether your partner is also attending university or pursuing an alternative route, distance and lack of regular contact breeds paranoia–the kiss of death for any relationship. Do you trust your partner completely and utterly? Do you believe they trust you? Ask them. Talk it out. Any sort of resolution is better than the limbo of not communicating.
DON’T: Put too much pressure on the relationship. Going from close proximity to hundreds of miles apart is one of the most difficult things to overcome within a relationship. The desire to continue the relationship is often derived from the shared belief that it will endure until you can be together again. If you don’t believe this to be true, consider your options.
DO: Miss them. It’s allowed. Don’t beat yourself up for not throwing yourself into the university experience like some of your single friends appear to. It’s different for you, so don’t feel any pressure to take part in anything you don’t want to, especially if you’d rather Skype your significant other.
DON’T: Let being in a long distance relationship take anything away from your university experience. If you feel like you’re ‘missing out’ by not being able to flirt or experience the sexual freedom of university, this needs to be addressed. Ultimately, a loving partner would want the best for you. If a desire to go out and explore your new environment is met with anything but enthusiasm from your significant other, don’t leave it unnoticed. From personal experience, it may be the indicator of a much bigger problem, and you can’t hide from that even in the Bubble.
The takeaway: never let anyone make you feel like you’re doing university ‘wrong’ by maintaining a long distance relationship. At the same time, know what you’re getting into. Don’t take the potential heartache of a long distance relationship lightly–take care of yourself.