One of my blog goals for 2016 was to write more personal posts and this one is close to my heart, seeing as I have now been engaged for over a year to Marc, the boy I met when I was 17.
We met at a mutual friend’s 18th birthday party at a local social club that almost everyone in school seemed to have their parties at. (I think the function room was free and they didn’t check ID, a winner if you were a Smirnoff Ice-loving Warwickshire teenager).
I was having a drink spilled on me by a boy that had clearly had far too much when Marc appeared and sent him home. We ended up chatting, then getting to know each other more over MSN (oh those were the days) before making it ‘official’ two weeks later at the very same social club and spending our last summer before Uni together.
I don’t think either of us imagined that we would still be together nearly 8 years on, especially as at the end of that summer we left for two different Universities hours away; Marc headed up to Manchester to study Civil Engineering whilst I headed down to Exeter University to study English Lit. The prospect of a long distance relationship was one of my biggest worries when I was leaving for Uni – I would scour advice forums where most of the advice was to forget about teenage relationships and enjoy being single at Uni, meeting new people and concentrating on the course.
But we were in love, for the first time, and both wanted it to work out. And as it did (phew!) I wanted to share my experience here in case it helps anyone else.
Doing Long Distance
The first time spent apart was the hardest. I cried pretty much every day the first fortnight I went to Uni and was thinking of quitting and trying to get on a course up North so that I could go up and stay in Manchester with Marc instead. It was mostly thanks to my family and housemates that I decided to stick it out and in the end Marc and I did get into a rhythm, taking it in turns to visit each other every fortnight or so.
The travelling wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. I had zero money as a student so would spend £4.50 on a return Megabus that took 7 hours to get from Exeter to Manchester. Marc was battling with a jam packed course schedule that kept him on campus and made it difficult for us to get many valuable days together.
There were some positives of visiting; it was exciting, it got me out of my own student bubble and there was nothing quite like that feeling of finding that face on the train platform after weeks apart. Then again, there’s nothing quite so heartbreaking at having to say goodbye on the same platform two days later. Even now, I have a flood of mixed emotions whenever I hear the station ‘Exeter St Davids’.
Then as well as the expense, time and sadness of travelling away from each other, the other difficulty was FOMO (fear of missing out). You could be away visiting when something fun was happening back at home, jealous of the fun your partner is having without you or having to watch others couple up whilst your boyfriend felt a world away.
It can work
Though it wasn’t always easy, I knew that I was happier with him than without him, even if that meant him being a bloody long Megabus ride away. I was always excited to see him and this has never gone away – if anything it has gotten stronger. If you are finding yourself in a similar position, don’t think that having a long-distance boyfriend is going to hold you back. At Uni I met loads of people, did well on my course and had loads of fun social times, all with someone who was supporting me and thinking about me (albeit from afar). After all, it’s important in any relationship to remain your own person with your own friends and hobbies. And I suppose surviving long-distance makes your relationship so much stronger.
Yes it will be hard but each relationship has its own battles and I believe that if you both want it to work out then it will. There is no right answer to any relationship. Like anything in life, all you can do is go with what makes you happy.
Has anyone else been in a long-distance relationship? Did it work out? How did you find it?