Advice: how to manage being in a long-distance relationship at uni


By Matthew Jones, 3rd Year History

Relationships at university can be difficult to contend with at the best of times, and if your relationship is long-distance, it can raise even more challenging issues to work around. With the stereotype of student life involving promiscuity and hook-up culture, being in a long-distance relationship at uni while your mates are free to do what they want is definitely not easy but if you can pull it off, it can be extremely worthwhile. In this article I will be including some of my own personal experiences and what has worked for me, and will hopefully give you a few tips that can be useful in making a long-distance relationship work.

The first term of university is a really important time for long-distance relationships. You’re getting to know Bristol and meeting too many people to keep up with, and with the reality being that you probably spent a lot of time with your significant other over the summer; it’s good to give each other space. Giving each other enough time to get settled at uni will definitely help in the long run. I found that there was nothing worse than speaking on the phone and having absolutely nothing to spark up a conversation. Giving each other the time to settle in allows you both to make friends, explore your new cities and get used to your courses. This will give you much more to talk about, which in turn will make for much less frustration when you talk.

Although you should make sure to give each other enough space in the first term, it is still important strike a balance after this point, and chat regularly so that you don’t feel alienated from one another. Making time to talk to each other in the evening while you’re having a break from work always seems to feel right for me. Things like FaceTime are great for keeping in touch and I find that they are way better than just a phone call. It’s much nicer to see the person that you’re talking to, and I’ve noticed that it’s easier to set time aside every few days for a call when you get to physically see your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Going on alternating trips, or meeting in the middle, makes sure that you share the burden of travelling

Whilst it is all well and good FaceTiming each other a few times a week, seeing your significant other regularly in person is also a key aspect to maintaining a healthy long-distant relationship. I’ve found that alternating trips works well, especially when you plan your trips around events like nights out or gigs. Going on alternating trips, or meeting in the middle, makes sure that you share the burden of travelling too. In terms of how long your visits are and how far apart they should be is up to you. Everyone is different but there’s definitely a balance to be found, making sure that you see each other frequently enough whilst leaving a long enough gap to make the cost of the journeys worth it.

Following on from the last point, it’s also a good idea to keep your visits interesting. We live in one of the most vibrant cities in the UK with loads of great things to do, so when your boyfriend or girlfriend comes to visit Bristol, why not try a few of these date ideas that are perfect for the winter semester.


Unsplash / Diogo Palhais

Bristol’s home to numerous places for good food at a whole range of prices, and some really unique cafes too. Places like The Canteen and The Social in Stokes Croft are a good suggestion. Keeping it reasonably simple, Bristol has a huge variety of areas from Clifton to Gloucester Road and there are some great sights to see on foot for free. Places like the Clifton Suspension Bridge may not seem too exciting after a few months in the city but for someone visiting, going up to the bridge is a Bristol essential. If you fancy travelling slightly out of the city, Bath is a great option this time of year. With its Christmas market open from Thursday 22nd November until Sunday 9th December this year, not to mention its picturesque architecture, it’s the ideal place for a winter date night.

Being in a long-distance relationship at university comes with its challenges but in my opinion, it’s doable. There are some obvious downsides to being apart from each other, often for weeks at a time, but it’s definitely rewarding. Getting to enjoy the best of two cities you get a unique university experience that very few students are able to enjoy.

Featured image: Unsplash / Mike Kotsch

Do you have any advice for people who are in long-distance relationships? Epigram wants to know! Get in touch!

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