Navigating long distance relationships

14 August 2023

Picture this: you are excited to start the new chapter called university life. This summer, you look forward to prepare everything you’ll need for the upcoming semester in a completely new country. But then, the reality kicks in. You might find yourself facing the not-so-fun hurdle—the dreaded long-distance relationship (LDR). It is never nice to be far away from the people you love, even when you know you choose to do it for something important, like your education. In this article, I will share some tips you can use to survive the LDR while having a fun student life.

Communication: Setting the expectations

This may sound typical, but I cannot stress enough how important communication over a long distance is. While technology has helped us tremendously in staying in contact with those far away from us, we need to always be aware of the quality of those communications. Be sure to always talk to your partner openly, especially in expressing the not so positive side of your life – your fear and sadness about the distance, and your expectations on navigating them. How often do you want to call each other? What are your worries about the long distance and how can you compromise? Being in a long-distance relationship forces you to be more mature, as you cannot just meet each other to resolve conflicts. This makes communicating online crucial to build a strong foundation and stay close to one another.

Keeping the sparks alive

The lack of physical intimacy often makes couples feel like they have lost their sparks. This might be worse during exam weeks, or during times when both you and your partner are busy and have less time to talk and text one another. While of course regular phone and video chats help a lot to catch up, it is nice to go the extra mile from time to time, like sending cute texts, voice notes, or even sending gifts to let your partner know that you are thinking of them. If your partner studies in the Netherlands, sending ‘just-because’ flowers is always a good idea. The Netherlands is known as one of the biggest fresh flower producers and there are so many options to purchase it online and have it delivered to your partner’s home.

Finding shared activities

Another thing you can do to feel connected with your long-distance partner is to find shared activities you can do together while being apart. Maybe you want to try some new workouts? You can try running at the Noorderplantsoen while your partner does so at the park near their area. My partner and I, as we are both big foodies, we also like to have virtual dates by ordering the same type of food via online delivery apps and enjoy it together during our video calls. You can also read the same book, enroll in some interesting online classes together, or start watching the same films or series together. This allows you to have things in common to talk about with your partner, something that you share with only the two of you despite the distance.

Benefitting from the technology

Apart from texting and video chatting applications to stay connected, there are also some interesting applications you can use to make your long-distance more fun. Scener or Teleparty, for example, are free Chrome extensions that you can use to simultaneously watch the same Netflix show together. Another application I like to use is called Agape, a couple wellness apps you can download on your phone. The app provides daily couple questions that you and your partner can answer, and it also serves as a good discussion and reflection point to get to know each other better. Furthermore, I also like to use the app Locket to stay updated with what my partner is doing through pictures. You can also add your friends and stay updated with what they are doing.

In conclusion, being a student in a long-distance relationship is not easy, but fear not! With these tips, I know that you will be ready to conquer the challenges and keep the sparks flying across borders. Remember, communication, trust, and shared goals are the secret ingredients to a successful relationship. So, stay positive, keep the flame burning, but don’t forget to also cherish your own adventures. Cheers to your international love journey!

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