One of the most difficult changes I encountered when coming to college was not only leaving my family, friends and pets, but also my boyfriend. I never planned to come to college in a relationship, but I hated the idea of breaking up just because we would be in different states. Before leaving for college, we had a long, and very necessary, conversation about what long-distance dating would look like. We set rules and goals for each other to stay connected and close. The key to a strong long-distance relationship is exactly like that of any other relationships: there must be trust and communication.
My boyfriend and I decided that the top priority for being able to make long-distance dating work was honesty. It is imperative that you are honest in all of your relationships, but especially in long-distance ones. No one wants to stay in a relationship in which they are not hearing the whole truth or feel that information is being hidden from them; it is just not fair. If feelings change due to the distance and time, this is natural, and it is always best to confront the person first. It is similarly important to address feelings of jealousy and apprehensions immediately. If feelings are not addressed, they do not just disappear. They can develop into stronger, more exaggerated emotions, and you can convince yourself that the worst possible outcome is the truth.
Long-distance dating is about finding a balance when it comes to communicating. Establish rules of how often you should talk on the phone, FaceTime or text. This will vary in relationships; it may be once a week or every day. For many couples, it is beneficial to know each other’s schedule to expect when your partner is available to talk.
Freshman Danielle Bryans said, “The most difficult part is finding time to talk because now we have completely different schedules, but in high school, our days were very similar.”
Planning out when you are going to talk each day is crucial for the success of the relationship. Without enough communication, the relationship will wither away. However, it’s important to not spend all of your time communicating with your significant other because you do not want to miss out on life happening around you. Although it can be hard to not wait by your phone for a reply, remember that you both need to grow as individuals in order to grow in your relationship. This can be done by immersing yourself into college life. It may seem like space is all you have in a long-distance relationship, but actually, the relationship can start to feel overbearing if there is constant communication and not enough alone time.
Have realistic expectations about the nature of your relationship. Relationships naturally transform over time, so the fact that you will be far away from your significant other is bound to cause some change, especially when you go from seeing each other daily to being thousands of miles apart. Prepare yourself before getting into a long distance relationship that it is not easy.
When asked what the most challenging part of a long-distance relationship is, freshman Hannah Coates said, “The worst part for me is going back to separation after visiting each other. Every time we are together in person, our relationship grows, so going back to the stagnation that comes with being apart gets really frustrating. I know we are growing stronger in other ways because of this, but it’s still hard.”
This feeling of stagnation is common in long-distance relationships, but know that there are ways to progress your relationship and maintain intimacy from far away. Get creative in the way you show your feelings, and plan a trip to visit your significant other because when you two are together again, it will make all the time apart worth it. Rather than focusing on how much you miss your partner, try to look forward to the next time you will see him or her. Stay positive and remind each other why you still put in so much effort to maintain the relationship. It is easy to let your mind wander and consider all the reasons why long-distance dating might not work, but this is because the best things in life come with handwork. If you really feel strongly about someone, do not give up. Long-distance dating can seem pointless in the present moment. Some days you may be able to feel every single mile in between you and your significant other. But, if it is done correctly, long-distance dating can be extremely rewarding.