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How to keep your relationship going over summer

24th June 2013

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So you’ve had the year of your life, met the person of your dreams and now you have to disappear back home, move in with your parents and turn into an angry 15-year-old again for a few months. There is absolutely no definitive way to do this and no sensitive way to say this: it’s going to be tough. 

If you’re lucky your significant other will be nothing more than a quick train ride away, however it will still take added effort to keep your relationship going after the ease of university turns into summer jobs, old friends and distractions. 

Here are some questions you should consider to be in with a chance of preserving your relationship over the summer months:

Are you both on the same page?

Before the crying and hugging commences as you part at the train station it’s worth asking some obvious but potentially awkward questions. Asking these questions will ensure that you are both on the same page about what the relationship means to you and will avoid severe disappointment. How serious is this relationship? Do you trust each other? SPOILER ALERT: If there is a lack of trust it will not last the summer. Chances are the only reason you have made it this far is due to living on top of each other, leaving no room to be sneaky.  It’s also important to question each other’s summer plans and what they may entail. Let’s face it, you’re asking for trouble if you’re doing a three month stint as a rep in Zante.  However if you are heading back for a summer of office work in your granny’s Post Office you probably seem like more of a safe bet.

All that aside it’s important that you both realize the effort involved in a long distance relationship and have the overall plan of turning up at university in September the same happy committed couple that left.

Can you adapt to life without them?

Let’s be honest, you have never had so much free time as when you’re in university. It’s easy to fall into each others pockets, spending every minute together and adopting a “joined at the hip” attitude, which probably makes the people around you feel a little queasy. Of course once you’re back at home working a summer job, adjusting to life with parents and generally just getting a punch of reality, it can be heavily frustrating. Try not to take that frustration out on them; everyone’s guilty of doing it sometimes, but it was your constant presence and reassurance that made that attitude ok.  Now though, when you are far away and you are both upset, the worst thing you can do is reserve all those negative thoughts for them. Vent to your parents instead, it’s what they’re there for – isn’t it?

How often are you planning on communicating?

It’s important to understand how much contact your partner is willing to have with you and vise versa before you leave for the summer. It’s the difference between having a set time to happily catch up for an hour every evening and spending the day staring at your phone, waiting for a reply and generally wishing pain upon them. We are lucky to live in an era of free communication where you’re not forced to marry someone you’re having a long distance relationship with just because the price of stamps goes up to a shilling. Do not underestimate the rewards of free apps like ‘Snapchat’, which incidently is not just for those who want to give their genitals some air time but is a great way to communicate in ten second bursts. Social media such as Facebook and Skype will undoubtedly play a huge part in your communication over summer but it is important not to become obsessive or over analyse what you see.  That attractive person that you don’t recognise hugging your other half is probably just an old friend from school. Honest.

Can you rely on and trust them?

There’s a good chance that you’ve already proven yourself to be pretty reliable and trustworthy or your partner probably wouldn’t even consider attempting a relationship with you through the lonely months and all the sacrifices that go along with it. Unless a) they are ridiculously smitten or b) you are ridiculously hot. Either way good for you.

One particular way to test this trust is by going on wild nights out when you haven’t seen each other for weeks. Everyone wants to relax and drink with friends that they haven’t seen for months but it’s important to mention that when you are sad and missing someone alcohol is absolutely not your friend. 

It heightens emotions and makes you far more likely to make regretful decisions just because you have a drunken YOLO moment.  It will also heighten your insecurities and your libido with the unfortunate coupling of lowering your inhibitions. This is not a winning combination, it is a truly disastrous one.

Are you going to make an effort to see each other?

It’s important to see each other a few times over the summer, no matter how far away you live from each other. People can only have a relationship with an inanimate object for so long.  Try to always have a date planned for when you are next going to see each other so there is something to look forward to and a light at the end of that slightly dingy tunnel. This trip can be treated like a mini break away from your monotonous summer job, a great chance to meet their family and see the friends you have been stalking on Facebook.

A great romantic way to keep the magic alive is by surprising them with your presence when they least expect it. You do have to be pretty sure about this one though and it is advisable to get one of their close friends in on your plans to avoid embarrassing situations like parents who won’t let you be in the same room without a chaperone or finding out the hard way that you are number three of five.

It is important to remember that people have long distance relationships all the time and as long as you care enough and communicate enough there is no reason why it shouldn’t succeed.  Keep focused on the fact that in just a few months you will be swan diving into each others arms. You will discover a lot about your partner during this time apart, perhaps not all good, but sometimes that’s the stuff that brings couples closer together. If it goes terribly wrong then at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with. With any luck you will both be back to alienating friends and finishing each others sentences in no time.

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