By Josh McGlynn
As a young kid the summer holidays was a time of blissful simplicity, with nothing to do but eat ice pops and go to the park with my friends; playing football well into the light evenings.
But as I grew older, I found that that simple care-free summer life became less and less easy to live. With big decisions to make about my future and all my friends doing likewise, summer had, before I knew it, morphed into an extended period of change and transition.
Looking back, on the whole this time is a fantastic opportunity for growth, self-exploration, travelling and generally bettering yourself, either through education or employment.
However, there are some people who are lucky enough to have found themselves a person that they love (or at least like very much) whom all of these new decisions and experiences are also going to impact.
If you have found yourself in this situation, please rest assured that though these waters are tricky to traverse, they are not impossible. If you and your significant other do choose to make different decisions when, for example, you both leave school, this is definitely not a nail in the coffin by any means.
In an ideal world my hope would be that you have found yourself in a loving relationship where you both have each other’s best interests at heart, and these periods of transition are a great opportunity to grow up, mature and go on adventures together.
But this creates a problem at the same time. What if your passions lead you to uni in Devon, and your partner to Glasgow? What if you start working day shifts and they’re working nights in a bar? What if, all of a sudden, your lives become completely incompatible? Have you made a mistake? Should you break up?!
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to these questions. No two couples are the same and no two situations identical.
The reality is that it won’t always be easy, and some sort of sacrifice will need to be made if you are determined to make it work.
Whether that’s long train journeys eating up hours of your time so you can visit them over the weekend, or skipping a night out so you can Skype together, relationships nearly always require you to give something up to put each other first, and this is accentuated when it’s over a long distance.
There is one thing, a crucial piece of the puzzle, that I believe any relationship (long-distance or not) needs, which is trust.
When a relationship becomes long-distance, or your lifestyles drastically change, you absolutely have to trust one another that you’re both making decisions for the right reasons and that you’ll be faithful even if there is a time of separation.
Trust, I think, comes hand-in-hand with honesty. It’s good to be honest about what you want to do and why.
If you both want to move to different parts of the country, you’re both entitled to want to do so. If this is the case, being upfront and clear with each other early on will make sure that there are no surprises coming further down the road.
I’ve watched friends both fail and succeed at having long-distance relationships over the past few years.
They’ve struggled as they’ve watched their partner grow and mature without them. They have loved the awesome concentrated moments of happiness when they finally get to see each other after weeks apart. They’ve hated the monotonous train journeys up and down the country. They’ve looked forward to when they can finally be with each other, some even eventually getting married and beginning a fresh new start together.
I can’t tell you whether carrying on your relationship is the right thing to do.
But if you trust each other, and are honest and can see a future beyond your temporary separation, it might just work out. It might not. I would simply say give love a chance.