Navigating Long-Distance Relationships: A Guide for Abroad Students


“Distance is not for the fearful, it’s for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love.”

― Meghan Daum, Creator and Host of The Unspeakable Podcast

Having the opportunity to study abroad, especially at a university such as IE, is one of the biggest blessings a person can have and most definitely an exhilarating experience. 

However, this journey also means being miles away from their significant other for many students. We all know by now that studying abroad allows you to meet new people frequently and completely changes your lifestyle. 

Moving out of your parent’s house, leaving your country, getting accustomed to a new culture and way of life, making new friends, and overall creating an environment for yourself in which you feel happy and comfortable is quite the workload, so doing it while maintaining a romantic relationship is not easy.

Long-distance relationships (LDRs) can be challenging but incredibly rewarding with the right approach. This guide will help you maintain strong and healthy LDRs with practical tips and insights that I have gathered from my relationships and the flourishing ones around me. 

long-distance relationship
Image courtesy of Simply Psychology

Embrace Communication

image 3
Image courtesy of WIRED

Effective communication is the key to any successful relationship, but it’s even more crucial in LDRs. It’s so easy to get into misunderstandings and misinterpretations in face-to-face relationships, so imagine how frequent these are over long distances. With the advancements in technology, staying connected is very easy. Video calls, text messages, or platforms like TikTok and Instagram will help you keep in touch with your loved one abroad. 

Although all these communication tools keep a long-distance relationship alive, I believe they should be used strategically. For example, getting into an argument over text will blow the problem out of proportion and end badly. Opt for a phone call instead when you feel like there’s something serious to talk about.

Some Extra Tips:

  • Set a Schedule: Agree on a time for both of you to talk regularly.
  • Open Communication: Share your feelings, thoughts, and concerns honestly.
  • Use Various Communication Methods: Mix it up with video calls, voice messages, voice calls, texts, social media, or platforms such as Netflix Party for virtual dates. 

Plan Visits

If you can, visiting each other is the most thrilling part of LDRs. Planning these visits gives you and your partner something to look forward to, strengthening your bond and reducing the pressure and sadness you might feel after not seeing each other for a while. 

Some Extra Tips:

  • Plan: Coordinate your schedules to make the most of your time together so you always have a date to look forward to when you know you will next see each other. 
  • Budget Wisely: Save money to afford travel expenses without stress.
  • Create a Wishlist: Plan activities or places you want to explore together.

Maintain Your Independence

Although it is much easier said than done, maintaining independence while in a relationship is extremely important, especially in a long-distance relationship. A very thin line exists between staying connected with your partner and becoming overly emotionally dependent on them. 

Pursue your hobbies and interests, maintain friendships, prioritize your needs, and immerse yourself in the university experience. Personal growth and self-discovery are big pillars of student life, and a healthy relationship will allow both parties to thrive individually. 

Some Extra Tips:

  • Set Personal Goals: Focus on your academic and personal development.
  • Respect Each Other’s Space: Understand that having separate experiences and allowing privacy is okay.
  • Set Rules and Boundaries: Make sure you have some personal plans throughout the week that you will stick to no matter what. Understand which habits you want to allow or not in your LDR.

Staying Rational

Getting into a long-distance relationship means you are willing to put in the required effort. Although the tips I’m listing in this article are true, unfortunately, not every relationship can survive distance, no matter what you do, and that’s okay. 

You owe it to yourself and your partner to try it, but you should also know when to call it quits. Of course, every relationship will be subject to rough patches, which is normal. But remember that a relationship should mainly be positive, joyful, and calming, not the opposite.

Some Extra Tips:

  • Recognize Patterns: It’s important to recognize repetitive patterns detrimental to your relationship, which you have already spoken about multiple times with no change.
  • Do a Pros and Cons List: Creating a pros and cons list can simplify and organize your thoughts, helping you make a rational decision.
  • Don’t Fear a Breakup: I have seen countless relationships, including my past one, where the only thing keeping partners together is the fear of breaking up. Trust me, I know a breakup is never easy, but the pain of heartbreak is temporary. It’s better to suffer for a little while than to stay in a cycle that is harmful and draining to you and your partner. 

Trust and Loyalty

image 1
Image courtesy of theSun

Although I am writing this paragraph last, it is the most important. It’s common knowledge that a relationship without trust cannot last long, as can a relationship without loyalty, particularly in LDRs. Being far from each other will inevitably lead to increased doubts and insecurities. Still, with a strong foundation of trust and loyalty, you can overcome these challenges together through open communication and reassurance. 

Some Extra Tips:

  • Be Trustworthy: Keep your promises and be reliable.
  • Share Your Life: Make your partner feel included in your day-to-day life by sharing photos and sending updates. Always be transparent about your activities and remind each other of your commitment. 
  • Address Fears and Insecurities: Discuss each other’s concerns and insecurities openly with no judgment. 

Take Advantage of Technology

Finally, we are lucky because we are one of the first independent generations to have this much digital communication at our fingertips. Here are some of our favorite apps to keep in touch all the time via our screens:

  • Netflix Party: Watch movies and shows together simultaneously with a chat box on the side to share your opinions as the movie/show rolls out
  • MUBR: Check out what music your partner last listened to on your lock screen
  • Locket Widget: Upload as many pictures as you want throughout the day, and they will appear on your partner’s widgets.
  • SumOne: Get to know each other better by answering deep questions daily and strengthening your bond. 

Long-distance Relationships require TLC: tender loving care, patience, and effort. It can be difficult but not impossible for university students studying abroad to keep a close relationship with their home partner. However, your relationship can successfully overcome distance challenges through good communication, planning visits, maintaining independence, staying rational, and building trust. 

Remember to stay patient, as insecurities and fears can get the best of us. It is up to you to decide whether you are willing to face them together. Sometimes, it can seem like things aren’t working out, but remember the good times and why you decided to be with each other in the first place. Distance is a test of love, and the rewards are profound for those willing to face it boldly.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Tatiana Rosa El Hoyek
Tatiana Rosa El Hoyek
I am a Lebanese third year student in Communications and Digital Media. I am an absolute gym rat who is also a fashion enthusiast.

More from Author



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here