Back to School… Back to Distance Love

In September, campus was buzzing with excited students anticipating the new school year. For many students not from the Vancouver area, however, September meant having to bid our loved ones farewell. It was time to once again hop on a plane, hold back difficult feelings, and brave the many challenges ahead.

Fast forward the days and we are now almost halfway through October. Perhaps, like me, you are in a long-distance relationship. And perhaps, like me, you have felt the challenge of being away from your partner. I have been in a long-distance relationship for over a year now and have often wondered how successful couples cope with long-distance relationships. To help answer this question, I developed an online survey on long-distance relationships and gathered information from long-distance couples.

Here are just a few of the things which I learned from the survey, through reading professional relationship advice, and from my personal experiences:

When you miss your partner:

  • Tell them you miss them- text, message, call, or video call (Skype) with your partner if it is possible.
  • Browse through photos you took together and reminisce the good times you had.
  • Distract yourself by doing something that you enjoy, for example – volunteering at an organization or trying something new.
  • Collect messages and cards your partner sent to you and reread them.
  • Hang out with your friends – go for lunch with a friend and do fun things together!

Benefits of being in a long-distance relationship:

  • You will treasure each other more when you can be together in person.
  • You have plenty of ME time and space to find your passions and grow individually which can eventually cause you to become more mature and stronger as a couple.
  • It is a test of true love, resolve, willingness and patience to wait for the day you can be together.
  • Instead of just focusing on physical interaction, you learn to communicate more effectively through words and thus, you get to know each other better each day.

Keep your relationship strong by:

  • Communicating frequently.
  • Sending parcels, letters, cards and gifts to each other through mail.
  • Praying for each other daily.
  • Encouraging and supporting each other in daily challenges.
  • Trusting each other and persevering when times get tough.

Conflicts are normal, even over distance, but it is important to learn how to handle them well:

  • Think carefully before saying anything during the heat of the conflict.
  • Talk things out, and try to resolve conflicts before hanging up a call or going to sleep.
  • Be honest when talking things out.
  • Listen to your partner’s heart, not just the words they say.
  • Be willing to change for the better.
  • Do not blame each other for things, as it hurts the relationship. Instead, be willing to admit mistakes and take on responsibility for words said or actions done.
  • Show empathy, understanding and support to your partner.
  • Most of all, work to resolve the conflict as a team and not against each other.

How do YOU cope with your long-distance relationship? I would love to learn from you!

Here are some good articles written by UBC students on long-distance relationships. Check them out!