Should I quit it or stick it out?

Lily says My boyfriend and I have been together for just over a year now and we are both going into our second terms at different universities. Our relationship used to be good, easy and fun but we now only see each other twice a month. The long distance between us puts quite a lot of strain on our relationship now. We fight a lot more about really silly things and the relationship just isn’t like it used to be. I know we want to be together but I just don’t really know if I can take much more fighting. What should I do?’

ALLY

Distance can put a strain on any relationship. Being at different universities is definitely tricky. Some manage it really well but others fail. The first term is always the hardest so if you’ve made it through that then I think, the worst part is over. It’s OK and normal to fight occasionally but frequent fighting is not fun and draining.  You really have to decide what you want more - to stay in your relationship and try and work things out between you guys, or to maybe take a break from for a bit to see if you’re happier. I always say that if you’re fighting more often than you’re getting on, then is it really worth it? Is it making you happy or is it actually distracting you from enjoying your own uni experience?  It's important for you to talk to each other about it, put all your cards on the table to see where you’re both at, and how you’re feeling about the whole thing. Taking a break could be a solution, but don’t make any rash decisions when you’re in an argument, take time to think about what you really want.

SMS

Top tip: Good relationships doesn’t just happen - it needs work, commitment and determination from both parties wanting it to work. If only one of you want it, it will fail.  

Don’t lose heart - it is tough being apart at university but it doesn’t have to destroy your relationship.

Long distance relationships at different universities are tough challenges. New experiences, opportunities, being apart, losing sight of each other, less sharing/talking can lead to constant bickering and relationship breakdown. Some bickering is ok but constant bickering with contempt and unkindness is a no-no and very destructive.

University is a time of significant personal growth, so you are both going to change. If you really do want your relationship to survive and thrive, your relationship must also change, grow and adapt.

Soul – searching questions & honesty

Time now for both of you to honestly ask yourselves soul-searching questions about your relationship and rating your answers on a scale of 1-10 to gauge if you should stay and improve or go. Issues include:

  •  Your emotional satisfaction/happiness levels;
  •  Emotional/physical closeness/compatibility;
  • The relationship’s weaknesses/strengths/causes of bickerings and conflict and how you can improve
  • Commitment (time, effort, physical/motivation) to see each other and stay regularly involved with each other via Facebook/FaceTime/Skype;

Tips for improving relationship and reduce bickering

  • Lots of loving texts/emails and reminding each other that you are in each other’s thoughts and talk to each other about your everyday lives
  • Lots of giggles - tell jokes, tease, exchange fun stories, share experiences and build memories
  • Regular visits (if possible)

For low ratings relationships:

If you are both not prepared to make the effort or only one of you wants it, then you have 2 choices:

  1. Bid farewell ‘adios amigo’
  2. Take a break from each other for a period of say 3 months and re-visit your feelings to decide if you should break up or try again.
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Ally Mackintosh