You’re leaving for college soon or maybe are already there, and are looking for tips on how to survive your college long distance relationship? You have come to the right place!
My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship ever since we got together in April 2020. We met in college in the United States, me as an international student, he as an exchange student. After lockdown started, we all got sent home, and since he is from the UK and I am from Switzerland, 1,000 miles away.
When I went back to college in the fall, we didn’t see each other for 4 months! It was hard, but we did it, and in this post, I want to share my college long distance relationship tips with you.
LDR Tip #1: Set Goals
It’s important to know what your goal is with your relationship, both for you and for the two of you.
Sit down and write down what you wanna get out of the relationship. If it’s just fun and having company, doing long distance might not be successful for you, since it takes wanting more than just a fun company.
Also, having a goal to work towards can motivate you when you’re feeling hopeless or overwhelmed in your relationship. An example would be that after you graduate you’re going to move together. Or after this study abroad semester you’re going to do a road trip together.
Having something to look forward to can be so valuable in hard times. And I know you don’t want to hear this, but there WILL be hard times, it just depends on you and your partner whether you’re going to get through it or not.
For me, going back to the US without him was incredibly hard. Our entire friend group was gone, and it was just really difficult for me to enjoy my time. It really helped to imagine that this was my last semester (which ironically it really was but I didn’t know that lol) and that I should enjoy it, while I looked forward to spending my birthday with my boyfriend after the semester was over.
Long Distance Tip #2: Communicate Openly
This is self-explanatory, but such an important point. Make sure to communicate your feelings, your worries, what you look forward to, and what you’d like your partner to improve on.
Especially in a long-distance situation, it’s even harder to know what your partner wants or feels if they don’t communicate it. So bring this up if communication is a general issue in your relationship (which is completely normal!), and work on it together.
For us, I struggled with explaining my negative feelings because I knew it made him feel upset. But after talking about communication, he told me I should always let him know if something is on my mind that won’t go away if I don’t tell him. After that, it was much easier for me to actually talk about my feelings because I knew it was okay. Does that make sense?
College LDR Tip #3: Know Your Love Languages
I didn’t know about this until I was researching things to do in a long distance relationship! Basically, there are five main love languages. Every person has a percentage of each, but one or two are always dominant.
Why that’s an important college long distance tip? It helps you survive the hard times with your partner, as well as avoid little misunderstandings.
For example, if your love language is quality time, you can plan one date a week where you spend time together and do an activity, whether that’s watching a movie “together”, cooking “together”, or planning a future trip.
If your partner has a different love language, you should include something for both of you in your weekly schedule (or monthly if you’re super busy), so both of you feel valued and fulfilled in the relationship.
If your love language is physical touch, being in an LDR is harder than the others, since you NEED touch to feel loved and happy, which, obviously, you don’t have in a long distance relationship.
However, even if that’s your love language, there is no need to panic. It is one of my two main ones, and I survived!
Long Distance Advice #4: Have Regular Dates
Setting regular times and dates for an activity together can help both of you plan your weeks better and look forward to something fun each week (or every other week).
For example, every Wednesday, my boyfriend and I would watch our favorite house decorating show together, besides having our daily afternoon call.
It depends on your classes or work schedule and if there is a free time frame overlapping, but it’s something you should consider if you feel like you want to spend more time together.
If you need date ideas, here are 15 long distance dates for college.
LDR Tip #5: Set Expectations
This is similar to goal setting, but is a little less “fun”. However, this is an important part of succeeding in a long distance relationship while in college.
To avoid having crazy expectations from your partner and constant disappointment, it’s important to communicate how much time each of you have for the relationship, and how your life is going to look like outside of it.
Are you going to stay exclusive? Are you going to be busy and want to let your partner know that you might not call them every day? Those are important questions to answer.
For example, my expectation in our LDR was to call at least once every day unless we otherwise told each other that we wouldn’t be available. That might be a lot for some of you, but for me it was helpful and I always looked forward to our call.
College LDR Tip #6: Involve Each Other
Another college long distance tip from me is to involve each other in your lives. When you talk daily, you can let each other know what happened, how you felt that day, etc.
You can go as far as presenting each other a college presentation, doing a mock interview, or proofreading an essay.
While those things can take up some of your time, it’s great to have someone support you while sharing what you’re currently up to in your life.
For example, when I prepared for my pitch competition speech, my boyfriend helped me improve it and I practiced my speech from memory with him. That really helped me and made him feel more involved in my life.
Tip #7: Send Each Other Little Gifts
Of course, this can go on your budget, especially if you live in different countries, but it’s such a nice gesture once in a while.
To give you a short example, I sent my boyfriend a random card to let him know how much I loved him. Stuff like that can really make your partner happy!
I sent it from an online shop in the UK to reduce my shipping costs and the delivery time, so that’s a tip I can give you too!
LDR Tip #8: Plan Your Future
This might not be for everyone, depending on how long and deep your relationship is. For me, it helped with my anxiety to plan something I could get super excited about.
So for instance it was my boyfriend’s last year at college, so we made a bucket list for things to do in the summer when he is done, or we looked at apartments to move into and wrote shopping lists.
If that’s too “into the future” for you, you definitely don’t need to do it, but for us, it really helped to have something to look forward to, even if we never actually choose those apartments and will re-write the shopping list anyways.
You can also research places to travel to, write a bucket list for when you’re going to see each other or make a list of recipes to try.
If you’re further down on the path of a serious relationship, you can also write down baby names you like, research business ideas together, or write a wedding guest list for fun (or for real).
Related Post: The Ultimate Summer Bucket List
College Long Distance Tip #9: Value Your Freedom
I know this one is hard, and I didn’t do great at it either. But sometimes it can help to look at long distance in a different way, especially if you know how temporary it is (such as in college).
Think about it this way: This might be the last time you’re living alone. Or the last time you live with your friends. This is your only time in college, and it was expensive, so you might as well take advantage!
Join clubs that benefit your future career. Talk to people to make friends. Go out and have fun (obviously within the lines of being in a relationship).
Like I said earlier, sometimes it helped me to imagine that this was my last college semester or my last semester at that university. Why? Because I appreciated it more. I talked to more people. I made more use of my time.
Try it and let me know if it makes you feel better!
LDR Tip #10: Play Games
Playing games can be so fun, even if it’s virtual.
Something I found really fun to do is creating quizzes for each other. That can be about yourself and your partner has to get it right, or open-ended questions where you hear their answer and just acknowledge it.
Even if you think you know your partner well, some answers might surprise you and it’s a fun way to keep connecting.
You can also create different themes for the quizzes. One week you can create a 10-question travel quiz for each other, next week a romantic one, etc.
Something else that’s super fun to do is to do a challenge for each other. For example, my boyfriend and I chose a continent for the challenge, Asia, and planned a 2-week trip to a country of our choice.
At the end of the week, we presented the trip on a Zoom call screen sharing the PowerPoint presentation we each created.
That gave us something to 1. plan for the future, 2. do in our free time, and 3. to use in the future and actually go there.
Those where my top 10 college long distance tips!
Comment below how far away you’ll be from your partner and let’s support each other!