- 1. Talk About It
Before you head off on your separate adventures make sure to talk to each other about what the change is going to involve, how you're going to adapt to it and what your expectations are. Make a plan for how often you'll see each other - will you alternate weekends at each other's or could you meet up at a midway point? Having a set routine and plans to look forward to will make it easier to adjust to the time that you're apart. And make sure to talk about how you're both feeling, to settle any worries you or your partner may be having before you go.
- 2. Keep in Touch
With so many instant messaging and video calling apps available, as well as the traditional phone call - it's so easy to keep in touch with your partner throughout the day, wherever you are. Make sure to keep each other filled in on all of the little funny and exciting things that are happening throughout the day - even if it's just sending each other a silly Snapchat or WhatsApping them about that cringey thing that happened in your lecture. Keeping in touch throughout the day will help you feel closer and more involved in each other's lives. If you want to get really romantic, you could even write each other some old-fashioned love letters.
- 3. Have Long-Distance Dates
You don't have to wait until you see each other to have a bit of couple time, get creative around how you can date long-distance. Why not both order a pizza, call each other on Skype and have a virtual dinner date. Got a TV show you love to watch together? No need to give up your weekly viewing - just pop it on at the same time and discuss over Skype, WhatsApp or Messenger, it'll almost feel like watching it together. Making time to keep up the dates you normally have will help strengthen your bond while you're apart.
- 4. Be Flexible
While it's important to make time for your partner, you also need to be willing to be flexible on your plans. If your partner has been invited out with their new flatmates and needs to postpone your call, try to be understanding - it's important that they settle in to their new surroundings and make friends. You can make time for each other, while still making time for yourself and pursuing interests of your own. Remember, a healthy relationship is about being excited for your partner and encouraging each other to make the most of new experiences and opportunities.
- 5. Trust Each Other
Trust is key in any relationship, no matter how close or far you live from each other. If you aren't going to be seeing each other often, you need to be able to trust that your partner is being loyal to you when you're not around and be happy for them to enjoy their social life without you - and you should expect them to trust you to enjoy yourself too. Feeling needy and constantly checking in on your partner could damage your relationship. If you feel you have a genuine reason to worry about your partner's behaviour you may wish to consider the relationship entirely, if not - relax and enjoy your independent time.
- 6. Find the Best Way to Visit
Nothing beats actually seeing each other, so try to visit as much as you can. Remember, 16-18 year olds can get 1/3 off of a single journey and 50% off a season pass on the train with your Young Scot card**. If you're 19+ it would be worthwhile to invest in a 16-25 Railcard to get 1/3 off rail fares. Make sure to check out the different routes you can take too, sometimes splitting your journey - for example a ticket from Glasgow to Dundee, and another ticket from Dundee to Aberdeen - can be cheaper than buying one direct ticket. You might also find that different routes and train companies will be cheaper than others, and remember you can save a lot of money if you buy your tickets well in advance. If you're travelling by bus, remember you can get a 20% discount on City Link** with your Young Scot card, and companies such as Megabus sometimes have fares from as cheap as £1.
- 7. Make the Most of Your Time Together
When you do get to see each other make the most of it by planning to go out and do fun things together. Why not check out a show, go for a nice dinner or visit a local theme park. It's also a great time for you to get to explore each other's new towns and meet each other's new friends, which will help you to feel more included in your partner's new adventures. Make sure to check out our pick of things to do in your local area**, plus discounts you can enjoy with your Young Scot card.
- 8. Accept That It May Not Last
Relationships don’t necessarily have to last forever in order to be meaningful. As we get older, experience new opportunities and meet new people, it's natural that we sometimes outgrow some of our friendships and relationships - and distance can sometimes make this happen slightly faster. If you find that you and your partner aren't as enthusiastic about seeing each other anymore, you're making excuses not to see each other or your partner seems to be resentful and unenthusiastic about your new situation, you may wish to call it quits. Distance can be hard for relationships, and it hasn’t ‘failed’ if it just doesn’t work out. Enjoy the time you had together and don’t try to force something that isn't working.
- 9. And Know When It Just Might
If you and your partner have been doing long-distance for a long time and are both invested in the future of your relationship, there might come a time when you decide you want to move closer to them - whether it's to spend a summer staying with them between semesters, or if you're working you might decide to start looking for a new job closer to your partner. So long as you feel the time is right and you've made sure to finish important studies and aren't giving up on your dream job or ambitions, don't be afraid to take the chance to move to a new place to be closer. Just make sure that you're making the move for the right reasons, and that it will be a good experience for you as a whole - not only to be closer to your partner. If the timing feels right and the right opportunity comes up then you'll know if it's worth making the move.
Remember, relationships are about enhancing each other's lives, and sometimes that might mean supporting each other from afar. But with communication, trust and enthusiasm, long-distance relationships can work for a lot of people, and absence really can make the heart grow fonder.
Is it a pal that's moving away? Read how to make the most of a long distance friendship.