RACHEL MOSS shares tips on how to make your long distance relationship work, all without turning into a compulsive Facebook stalker…

It’s a new academic year and a chance to meet new people. But what if you’ve already got someone special at home? A boyfriend, girlfriend, something-undefined-friend, can it work?

As well as all the Freshers trying it long distance with their sixth form romance, there are people like me. Current third years whose second year of university involved a relationship that seemed, well… rather normal actually. Then the sod only went and graduated didn’t he?

My boyfriend and I had a bit of a long distance test run when I buggered off to work abroad for the summer (My bad!). Based on the fact that as I type this I still have a boyfriend (Hurrah!) these are my tips for a successful long distance relationship:

1)      Make sure you’re on the same page about giving it a go. Have the ‘do we really both want to do this’ conversation. Yes it is awkward as hell, but it’ll put your mind at rest.

2)      Trust each other. Be realistic about what living apart will be like. Yes this does mean pre-empting that inevitable picture of him with his arm around some pretty girl. She’s probably just a friend. It’s university. There are a lot of pretty girls. Their presence in his tagged photos doesn’t mean he’s shagging them.

3)      Discuss how often you’re going to be able to communicate. If one of you wants a phone call every day and the other every week, compromise. Skype it up on occasion, it’s more fun and cheaper too!

4)      Harness your inner control freak. Plans change. If your partner doesn’t call the minute you expected, it doesn’t mean they’ve been hit by a bus or that you’ve been given the old heave ho. Wait until tomorrow, there is probably a perfectly good explanation.

5)      Plan something nice to do together; it will give you both something to look forward to. I’m not saying book a summer holiday just yet- if it all goes tits up by Christmas you really will be screwed. A fun day out will do.

6)      Surprise them! Why not send something unexpected in the post? It doesn’t have to be expensive. Scheduled phone calls can get predictable, do something silly.

7)      Stop being a Facebook stalker. It’s easy to overanalyse photos/statuses and think that your partner is having more fun without you. Step away from the laptop and have some fun of your own!

8)      Embrace your independence. Life’s too short to mope. Go out. Say yes. Enjoy university!

I could give you the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” cliché to conclude this article. But my more honest summary of going it long distance? Plenty more to talk about when you do eventually see each other and a whole lot of sex to catch up on… Win win.