Long distance relationships: Can they work?

MANY people take the view that long distance relationships don’t work, especially when you’re young and at university. But is this really the case?

A lot of people come to university already in relationships, either with their partner left back home, at another university or attending the same university together. Some people also come to university having just ended a relationship because they didn’t want to commit to long distance at this point in their lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s all a matter of personal preference. However, long distance relationships have a reputation for not working, with few people having much faith in them. Is it really fair that these relationships are given such a grim outlook? I think that the success of long distance relationships depends upon the type of relationship and the couple themselves.

For example, there are people who are more comfortable in an ‘intense relationship’, where they put their courtship before anything else. These are the types of relationships that are the least likely to work when confronted with the difficulty of long distance. This is because the people in the relationship tend to try and over compensate for the lack of time they physically spend together. This tends to cause the person to slip behind on work and sometimes drop relationships with friends. There is nothing wrong with putting effort into your relationship, but the key to a happy relationship is to balance it with any other commitments you may have. If you neglect things, it’s bound to stress you out.

On the other end of the scale, you have the more relaxed relationships where both partners are comfortable with seeing less of each other. This type of relationship seems the most successful because it allows effective time management by keeping up a healthy relationship and getting a decent degree at the same time.

Another reason long distance relationships can struggle to work for university students is due to a change in personality. We continually develop during our young life, and it’s not only long distance relationships that suffer from this. The first year of moving to university is an intense time; our personalities and character change a lot more rapidly than in the home environment. For most people, it is the first time they are completely independent from their parents and they grow a lot because of that. If partners aren’t there to witness this change, couples tend to grow apart rather than grow together.

There’s no doubt that long distance relationships aren’t easy, especially whilst at university, with many not lasting. Relationships go through good and bad times, but what matters is if the two of you can make it work, no matter what situation you’re in then you’ll make it last.