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14th March 2023

Navigating long-distance for the first time

Lifestyle discusses the anxieties of long-distance relationships, how to navigate them, and how to not let a period of long-distance be defined by missing your partner.
Navigating long-distance for the first time
Photo: Tzk @ Unsplash

As my boyfriend went abroad this semester, moving as far away as you could possibly get (New Zealand) I have begun to experience long-distance for the first time. Having only been long-distance for a few weeks now, I am no expert, but I would like to share some hopefully helpful tips from what I’ve experienced so far. Long distance can be hard, but there are ways to adapt and things to do that can make it so much easier.

Firstly, the time in which you are long-distance does not have to be sad. You can’t think about this time apart as something to just get through, but as a time to have fun and spend with your friends. This doesn’t mean you won’t be sad at all, but, it’s a great opportunity to focus on relationships outside of your romantic one. I have six months until my boyfriend will come back to England, and I have decided I can’t waste semester two. Uni doesn’t last forever, and you have to make the most of it! This is why, one of my most important tips is to just have fun – go clubbing every night of the week if you need to. 

Since being dedicated to fun, I wanted to share some suggestions for how best to have fun. Here are some of the fun things I have done in the past few weeks: 

  • Visited my bestie in Leeds! Why not take this time to visit your home friends and explore new cities? 
  • Nights out at White Hotel and Hidden – these are some of the best nights out I have had at uni so far. 
  • Sports night at 256 – a guaranteed great night every week, I will always be praising 256’s name. 
  • DJ Billy at The Vic – another guaranteed great night out. 
  • Movie nights – housemates and I have now managed to get through the whole Harry Potter series.
  • Concerts/ gigs – spontaneously went to see the incredible Loyle Carner.
  • Library days with coursemates – long days at uni are ideal for both purpose and distraction.
  • Galentines pizza night – while galentines is now over, making dinner with your friends is always a great idea.

As well as going out, stay on top of your modules and keep productive, or in other words: work hard, play hard. Spend long days at uni, meet up with coursemates, go to Milk and Honey, and treat yourself to a coffee.

Over the last few weeks I have really enjoyed being in uni, and spending all day with my coursemates has been something really positive for me. I don’t mean exhaust yourself by studying, but enjoy going to uni and having productive days. Of course, make sure to give yourself a break, have nothing days if you need them, and don’t beat yourself up if you are feeling sad. 

If you are feeling sad, I cannot stress enough that you have to communicate. It is so important to tell the people around you how you are feeling.

Feeling sad is so much worse when no one around you knows how you are feeling, and sharing this with others helps people understand what you are going through. Equally important, is to tell your partner how you are feeling. Keep in contact, facetime when you can. Obviously, this can be hard with different time zones. In my case, there is a 13-hour time difference which makes it more difficult, but still very possible.

Facetime dates might be a fun idea; cooking dinner together, having a wine night or trying some online games together. Plus, BeReal is a great app to keep up what with each other is doing that day. 

A great thing to do, and of course this is harder if there is no end-point in sight, is to plan events in the future. My boyfriend and I are planning to go to Glastonbury in 2024. This is a long time away, but I am already really excited. Whether this is planning a holiday together, or planning the day you will next see each other, it is nice to have something to look forward to.  

As I have said, I am no expert. I am also navigating long-distance for the first time.  In the month or so that I have been long-distance, I have been surrounding myself with friends, spending days at uni with my coursemates, going to club nights and trying to keep up with all my reading. While working out a routine with your partner, times that you can call and facetime, it is important you are still enjoying your time without them.

The best thing for me so far and my biggest tip would be to go out and have fun. This time in which you are long-distance does not have to be defined by missing them (though of course you will), but you can still have the best time with your friends and family in the time your partner is away. I hope these tips help and good luck with long distance. 

Miriam Alston

Miriam Alston

Deputy Lifestyle editor 2023-24

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