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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

How To: Survive a Year Abroad When in a Long Distance Relationship

Wednesday, 1 July 2015
If you're planning on studying abroad for a year or even if you're already there, and you're leaving your boyfriend/girlfriend at home, you might start to worry. Will you make it through? Will they find someone else? What if they forget you? What if you forget them? Long Distance Relationships (LDR) can be incredibly difficult. I'm not going to tell you it's easy, it's going to be a real struggle at times, but if you're both committed to making it work, it will.

Photo taken from weheartit.com


First things first, calm down! Seriously, it took me a couple of weeks to do this before I left but if you're panicking and worrying it really isn't going to make things any easier. Run yourself a bath, listen to some music, binge on some Netflix, just do whatever you need to do to relax.

Now that you're calm, get together with your other half, pop the kettle on and sit down with a cup of tea. You both need to talk it through and decide on what each of you need to make it work, some ground rules. You need to be realistic with this, if one of you sets some hard rules, such as texting each other constantly you're going to crack. You also need to know if this is really what you both want. Some people just don't bode well with not seeing their partner in a very long time, if this is the case don't blame yourself, or them for that matter.

If you do decide you're going to give it a go then I'm going to let you in on a little secret: communication is key. Heck, communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in an LDR. Make sure you keep in touch regularly, but also give each other space. Remember that they have things to do too so don't get mad if they're not available when you want a chat. Plan chats ahead, set out times that you'll Skype or FaceTime when you know you'll both be available. Utilise what is available to you. WhatsApp and iMessage are also good forms of sending free messages from different parts of the world. Send fun and cute little Snapchats so that they know you're thinking of them.


One app that I found really useful is Couple. It's an app that's made especially for two people to keep in touch easily. You can send messages, photos, timed photos, stickers, audio clips, your location, draw a picture or draw together and send little 'thinking of you' clouds and much more. I think my favourite tool is the thumb kiss, it sends a notification to the person your account is linked to then you can both put your thumbs down and follow each other around the screen. It's nice to know that you're both interacting at once. You can find out more and download the Couple app by clicking here.

If you don't have a smart phone to use these apps or can't get onto Skype then how about reverting back to the good old days and send a postcard. I feel that postcards and letters have a lot more thought put into them and you can read them when you're feeling down and missing them. It's always exciting to receive nice mail in this age of technology and bills.

Make sure to plan visits and things for the future. It keeps you looking ahead to when you'll see them next and have something to look forward to rather than mulling over the past. When I was living in the Netherlands we made sure to see each other often and to take it turns on who travelled. If there's something that you both like to do when you're together in your home country, try to find somewhere you can do it in your host country. Being abroad gives you both the chance to visit new places together and use your host university as a base. We were able to visit Amsterdam and Paris and little cities along the way.

Don't see your year abroad as an obstacle in your relationship, see it as a challenge. If you make sure you both put time and effort into making it work, it will work, and it'll all be worth it when you get to the other side. Just think, if you can make it through a year apart, you can make it through anything together.

I wish you all the best, feel free to drop me a line if you ever need some advice on this or if you have advice and tips of your own to share.


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