Can long-distance relationships last at uni?


So you got a place at uni? Congrats! And so did your boyfriend/girlfriend? Even better.

There’s just one small problem. Your universities are at opposite ends of the country.

Many of you will be wondering whether going to university will ‘make or break’ your relationship. To help answer that question, we spoke to 2,000 students aged 18 and above from 25 of the UK’s biggest university cities to find out which locations are best for maintaining long-distance relationships.

Holding hands

Long distance? No probs

  • 53% of the students we spoke to are either currently in a relationship or have been in the past
  • 60% of our respondents said that a relationship would have an impact on where they choose to study
  • 40% of our respondents thought that seeing each other once a month was totally fine
  • 61% of 18-year-olds would demand to see a partner at least twice a month
  • The average student would only be willing to spend £21.93 and travel for two hours and 12 minutes
  • Nottingham and Oxford are the best cities to live in for maintaining long-distance relationships

So how did we work it out? We asked students how much time and money they’d be willing to spend on travel in a long-distance relationship, then compared it to average journey times and costs by car, coach and train to other cities.

You gotta have faith...

  • 83% of students said they expected a long-distance lover to be completely faithful
  • 12% said a bit of flirting was fine

...and a railcard

  • 60% of students are only willing to spend £30 or less on a regular return journey - on average £21.93
  • Half of Oxbridge students would spend over £50 (Cambridge students were the biggest spenders)
  • Only 7% of Sheffield scholars would be willing to fork out over £50 (so watch out if the love of your life is headed to Sheffield in September and you’re not!)

Which cities are willing to spend the most and least?

Worth it or waste of time?

  • 64%  of respondents told us that they’d only be willing to regularly spend up to three hours travelling to see a loved one - on average 2.2 hours
  • of students in a relationship would travel over four hours
  • ¼ of singletons would be willing to travel over four hours

Which cities are willing to travel the longest and shortest amount of time?

The best places to live

  • Nottingham is reachable from Birmingham, Sheffield, Coventry, Leeds and Manchester for under £21.93 return (and under two hours and 12 minutes’ travel time)
  • Oxford is reachable from Southampton, Portsmouth, Coventry, London and Bristol for under £21.93 return (and under two hours and 12 minutes’ travel time)
  • Birmingham, Coventry and London are also reachable from several other university cities within that time frame and budget
  • Belfast was rated the least convenient (even a coach journey is too much time and money for most students!)
  • Plymouth and Glasgow are also expensive to travel to from most other university cities
  • A return journey between two of the furthest cities, Plymouth and Glasgow, would cost you £363.60


How far would you be willing to travel for a long-distance relationship at uni? Have you got any advice for making it work? Let us know on Twitter @LibertyLivingUK

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