Tell your friends you’re in a long distance relationship and there’ll probably be a sharp intake of breath.
There are those who think such relationships are doomed to failure because so-called LDRs are arguably at odds with university life – sex, drink and degrees don’t fit well with a long distance lover requiring reassurance, regular Skype calls and weekend visits.
Yet, many students make their LDRs work and keep the love going despite the miles between them.
Pairing up with relationships charity OnePlusOne, here are our top tips to keep things steady...
Things to consider before you go long distance
Before you decide to turn your relationship into an LDR you need to think seriously about whether it's right for you. According to OnePlusOne, relationship satisfaction is crucial to health and happiness- human emotions and romance are hard enough to maintain in regular relationships, throw in distance and you have a different beast altogether.
If you’re already in a committed relationship and one or both of you is off to university then it does require serious consideration. You'll need to be prepared for the lack of physical intimacy and think about the alternative ways in which you can maintain your relationship. But if the person matters that much to you, then it is definitely worth the risk.
You might also want to chat to family and friends about it. They will all have their own opinions – some will be critical, others will be supportive – but it will help you to reach your own conclusion by talking it through.
How to maintain a long distance relationship
If you’ve been used to a normal relationship with someone, the loss of physical contact can be particularly hard to live with. And we don’t just mean sex, simple things such as hugs, holding hands and talking to someone face-to-face are all really important.
Moving from that to a relationship which is primarily conducted through text, phone calls, Skype and social media can be a huge step down but just because it's hard doesn't mean it's impossible.
Use social media to stay connected
Before the advent of the telephone and internet, staying in touch with someone you loved was really tough. Luckily, we do have technology these days making instant connectivity a reality.
Use Facetime or Facebook Messenger, chat on Whatsapp or Snapchat, send photos via Instagram. There are even apps to keep long distance couples in touch like Avocado which lets you send virtual hugs to each other. It also lets you know when your other half’s battery is about to die so there is no need to get paranoid.
However, be careful not to use social media to check up on your partner. OnePlusOne’s research revealed those in LDRs were more likely to use social media but often did so to gauge their partner’s involvement and reported higher levels of jealousy.
Skype each other regularly
You may not be able to physically be with each other but Skype is the next best thing. Talk to your partner, gossip with them and share things with them that might get misinterpreted if you were to send them by text.
Consider planning a regular time to skype though, especially if you are in different time zones. If you don’t, before you know it a week or two has passed and you haven’t spoken.
Trust each other
This is a tough one but no LDR will ever survive without trust between the partners. You have to be confident your partner isn’t cheating- try to tackle any feelings of jealous that arise by being honest and open with each other.
Top tip- try not to jump to conclusions if you see (probably innocent) pictures on social media!
Surprise each other, do something spontaneous
Romance is vital in any relationship but even more so in LDRs. What better way to keep the relationship alive than by surprising your partner when they least expect it?
You might not be there to cook them a romantic meal but you can always send them a letter or care package to let them know you appreciate them.
Meet up regularly
It takes time and effort but try and meet up with your partner as often as possible. You may not be able to see each other regularly because of the financial cost but those pockets of time when you do are precious and vital to the success of your relationship.
Make sure to see your partner if you’re heading home or set time aside to visit them if you’re both away in a different place.
We've got loads of student couples in LDRs on the site, chat to them here for help and advice!
Visit our Relationships forum to ask your own questions or have a peek at what everyone is saying!