Long distance relationships……….how do they work?

**** Warning! Soppy Alert! Don’t read on if you are liable to vom! ****

I have been very fortunate in my short life time of 21 years to have known real love. (Sure you want to read on? Bleugh!) This real love has developed through 5 and a half years of being together. Real love does not happen overnight nor does it happen after a year…I would say it took about 2 years to say well this is it, I feel unconditionally in love with you! What happens next is purely circumstantial. After 2 years (or when ever feels right) you can move in together, get a pet, get engaged, get married, then have kids and live happily ever after! Although, I have been very fortunate to be experiencing such emotion towards another person and it has happened so early on in my life, I have been unfortunate to be in a long distance relationship! (Cue funeral procession music).

I know, I know, all long term relationships take effort and end in disaster. Wrong! They can make the relationship more special, and if you happened to be in a long term relationship and it failed, it is not necessarily the long distance that caused the break up of your relationship! If you were meant to be together you still would be no questions asked. I am not saying that we have had the perfect time, all the time in 5 years we have had ups and downs, but no matter how much I think “oh god is this the end, maybe we should stop,” I can’t, it is not the fact I can’t let go, I could if it came to it as I wouldn’t want to be a bitter ex. Sure I would be upset, but for the sake of my better half I would let him go. It is the fact that the problems we have had are worth working for, even if we see each other for a short time each week, those moments are worth it. With this new job I am liable to go 2 or 3 weeks without seeing him, I don’t have time to travel like I have done. This will make the relationship harder but we can try. Right?

When we first got together it was very cutesy, usual honeymoon period, we never argued but we weren’t one of those sickly sweet couples that are snogging in the corner we had self respect (well a little anyway). We were both in different Sixth Form Colleges some 20-30 miles apart but when we were at home we were just 5 miles. Not far right? Well try living in the country and at the age of 16/17 when you are just learning to drive but still have to rely on your parents, well things get difficult. We only really saw each other once a week at weekends but not and again during the week. Especially as to travel to my college I left at like 7:15 every morning and wasn’t home until 5:30pm and had to rely on my parents to get me to the bus in the next town over and pick me up from there in the evening. Eventually we both passed our driving tests, I 5 months after him, and things got easier. Then I went to University.

My boyfriend was intending to go that year as well but he had to re do a year of college, and if he hadn’t well he would have gone to a completely different Uni and may or may not have enjoyed it! At Uni, it would change how often we saw each other, he had rugby matches every Saturday and as the Captain couldn’t really miss them. But in my second year, he joined me in the same University, not just because I was there because if we had broken up that would be awkward! But because the course there was better than his original choice, and he already new the town and night life thanks to me and his father who to had attended many years ago. That year had its ups and downs more than most we had gone from seeing each other little and often to seeing each other all the time. We had arguments, (my fault, although like the stereotypical woman I am I don’t admit it) he was trying to make new friends, I was trying to create a balance he didn’t understand, but by the end of that year I had pretty much moved in with him. (Long story, will write a post on what happened soon).  I loved his flat mates and am still really good friends with them now! I loved being there, being able to cook for each other (mainly me cooking for him, although he used to make me bacon butties and toast if he was feeling thoughtful). But then it had to end.

My final year was spent with him on placement and myself doing a dissertation I did not want to do or technically have to do because joint honours students don’t have to do it. But because I did psychology and politics, the psychology department required me to do one. I hated it. (Another post to come on the actual course choice). He was on placement, working away each week and I was still in University. We saw each other at weekends, but I felt we had regressed. We had done back and forth testing long distance out why do we have to do it again. But this time we spent the whole summer together, and this time spending so much time together seemed to work. It was nice to be free of pressure and actually able to enjoy life again. Finally we get to where we are now. My boyfriend returned to University last month, and the novelty is starting to wear off a little, especially as I have been up every weekend but this one just gone, as he had come home for the weekend (family occasions). I think it may have something to do with the whole being daunted by working full time, and being too tired to go up every weekend. But I get one last week with him before I start, due to only having to give 1 weeks notice in the end. I also, get fireworks night ( I frigging love fireworks! They are so prettiful) which I originally didn’t think it would happen! (Another downside of the country and having pets we can’t do fireworks because we are nice humans or see fireworks because we live technically in the middle of no where) It is very romantic in my opinion.

Quick tips (may update these now and again, may not):

1. It is worth it no matter how hard you have to work or how hard it is on your heart.

2. The little things matter, tidying up for each other when you do see them, cooking for them, bring a small present because it reminded you of them. I know one couple where one is in South America and the other in Britain, the one left behind received flowers. If you can afford it do it! If not just go for a romantic walk or write a letter and send it (a proper one). They do matter!

3. Appreciate the time you have, make the most of it.

4.  Consider it a life lesson, you pass this test you are on to the next level….living together or proposal if it is your religion etc.

5. In the wise words of Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson on Titanic, “Make it count,” make everything you do count for something in your relationship.

If anyone wants some support in terms of dealing with such a relationship or any relationship, I am available to play Agony Aunt within reason. If you have read this because you are in a long term relationship Good Luck and enjoy.

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