‘It’ll be over by Christmas’
‘Don’t waste your university years’
‘You’ll break up eventually, why prolong the inevitable?’
‘One of you will cheat on the other and it’ll all end in heartbreak. Just get it over and done with!’
In the year that I started university, UCAS sent out handy pamphlets reminding all prospective students to unburden themselves of any lingering ‘School boyfriends/girlfriends’ (see below). They were helpfully categorised in the ‘what not to take” section, which included nuisances such as cars, televisions and school leaver hoodies. Whilst I’ve known more than one individual that has treated their partner little better than an old piece of clothing, aligning them in a nationally distributed handout doesn’t send a great message to the 2016 cohort.
Why do relationships transform from lauded to lambasted constructs as we approach university? People extoll the possibilities of university life and portray it variously as a new slate, a chance for self-discovery and, often, a sexual playground. However, are relationships necessarily inhibitors of these opportunities?
Writing for us this week with her own experience is a second year History major. The success of her romance will sing out hopefully to all you long-distance lovers, and leave the rest of us hopeful of romance…
Upon starting St Andrews, my boyfriend and I had only been together for four months. So, moving nearly 400 miles away could potentially have been the end for us. A year and four months later, we’re still going strong and happy as ever.
Jack and I had been friends since we were 11 and so we already knew each other fairly well. He was actually my first kiss back in year seven at the local bowling alley and we had a short but sweet romance when we were 15. We both attended single sex schools and so we hadn’t spoken for some time before we moved to the same school for Sixth Form. Only after we both went through semi-messy break ups in the middle of our last year at school did we start seeing each other again.
I guess thanks to our history of sorts, moving away to Scotland to begin university didn’t strain our relationship much at all. Last year, Jack also decided to go on a gap year meaning we could see each other every two weeks. This year, we’ve agreed on every three weeks as he has just started university in London.
The Big Break
Long distance relationships tend to get a lot of bad press. Just before I moved up to St Andrews last year, a few of Jack’s friends placed bets that we would last until November at the latest. Obviously they were wrong and I did take pleasure in bringing up their comments during the following summer and watching their awkward apologies. I personally think people are scared of the separation and not knowing exactly where and what their partner is doing. It is hard at times but it is definitely not as hard as people tend to imagine it is. In a strange way, I’ve actually quite enjoyed it. We have our space and then when we do see each other, I get the same old butterflies that I did right at the beginning of our relationship and it’s so exciting to see him again. I have an awful habit of counting down the days until I get to see him – which is quite sad I know. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to be able to get out of the St Andrews bubble for the weekend and go elsewhere. It is also great fun having him in St Andrews with me, even though he probably prefers spending time at the golf course than with me…
How to Cross the Distance
I believe that the key to making a long distance relationship work is trust. If you don’t trust your other half, cracks are going to show quickly and they’re a lot harder to seal when your partner isn’t sat right in front of you. It is harder having a trusting and loyal relationship when your only form of communication for most weeks is your phone, because it is easy to lie over text and avoid decent conversations. Thankfully, my relationship with Jack is very solid in the sense that we both trust one another completely and don’t feel anxious or worried when one of us is on a night out or doesn’t reply for a few hours.
Communication is also another vital factor. Jack and I are constantly talking, perhaps too much sometimes (but I’m not complaining). I guess it’s one of the perks of modern technology. I can text him throughout the day, send Snapchats of what I’m doing, FaceTime etc. It’s made keeping in touch with him unbelievably easy. I do think it would be a lot harder if we couldn’t talk as much as we do.
You have to want to make a long distance relationship work though. It will fall apart if neither of you are really that committed or wanting to put too much effort in. It can be stressful at times and it does get tough when little blips occur. Jack and I both knew this before I left and we had the same discussion again this year before we both left for university. But we agreed that we wanted to put the effort in, to make it work and that ultimately, what we have together is too good for us to let it go. I certainly wouldn’t want to be without him and so for me, having to make the extra effort with him has never been a problem.
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