Long distance relationships: can they really work?

People scoff at long distance relationships all the time. ‘They will never work’, ‘you’ll end up being hurt’, ‘you’ll regret not being single at uni’… you get the idea. Shannon Hyner explores the ins and outs of the infamous LDRs from the inside and asks: can we ever make them work?

It is indisputable that long distance relationships are hard. They require time, commitment and patience and above all else, communication. You and your partner both need to be on the same page before you decide to take on a long distance relationship.

“Finding the right balance between your new life and time for your partner is essential in having good communication”

You need to communicate about how serious the relationship is and what contact you want to maintain whilst you are apart from one another. If one party requires visits on a regular basis and daily FaceTime calls whereas the other person just wants weekly calls and monthly visits then the relationship will inevitably fall apart.

Finding the right balance between your new life and time for your partner is essential in having good communication. For me personally, my boyfriend knew I didn’t want to come home for over a month because I wanted to settle in properly.

This meant that he had to take the responsibility of coming to visit me but also timing it so I had a chance to find my feet; four weeks felt like a good time. This required essential communication from both him and I so we knew where the other stood.

Making sure you find the time to put aside for your partner is also vital in long distance relationships. Although they have to be aware that you need to focus on your new life and allow you space to work all that out, it is not healthy to completely devote all of your time to that.

Relationships are about give and take, no matter how many miles are between you. Taking half an hour out of you day to give them a call and see how their day is going shows that they are still a big part of your life.

Little things like that make a huge difference in a relationship, because all the seemingly mundane parts of the relationship which one so often takes for granted when distance isn’t an issue are still accessible and will make both partners feel involved in each other’s lives.

In is unavoidable that you will hear negative criticism about your decision to do a long distance relationship, especially when you head off to university. With even magazines telling you to ditch the high school boyfriend, more often than not you’ll be told you are making a mistake by going the distance.

Unfortunately, for all the people who gave you such a wonderful advice, it is not about them. The only people who can decide whether they can do this or not is the couple themselves. My boyfriend and I had a long conversation before I had even got into university about whether this was right for us and we both came to the conclusion that we are not going to be ignorant about this: there could be a possibility that we might not go the long run.

However, we both agreed that we didn’t want to break up after two and half years just because one of us was going to university; that seemed ridiculous.  We take every day as it comes and we work out what is right for us, not for anyone else.

At the end of the day, long distance relationships work because two people know what is right for them in regards of time and commitment. Don’t take anything too seriously just yet and just enjoy yourselves with that person. If it works, that’s fantastic!

If not, learn from what went wrong and, if you are ever faced with a long distance relationship again, change your approach. It’s about you and your partner, no one else.

Shannon Hyner

Image courtesy of ‘Dvortygirl’ via Flickr


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