For many students, college can mean not only leaving your friends and family, but also leaving behind your significant other. Even a one hour drive can be a transition for a relationship that has never had to deal with separation before. A long distance relationship requires dedication and commitment from both parties, and sometimes the separation can be tough.
When I first started college, I was single and had no intentions of meeting anyone, let alone dealing with a long distance relationship. For one semester, I enjoyed the new world of college, and then almost completely on accident fell in love. I met my boyfriend over winter break, and once I went back to school we were 5 ½ hours apart. Even when I was home for the summer, he was still 3 hours away. Up until a few months ago, our entire relationship was long distance, only seeing each other once a month at the most, so I have a lot of experience with maintaining a long distance relationship.
It is vital for both partners in the relationship to be dedicated and committed to the relationship. If either person is not dedicated, or doesn’t see the relationship going anywhere, it is best to end it now. In my post about 8 things to let go of after high school, I mention that bad relationships are not worth maintaining once you get to college, and you should save yourself the trouble. A lot of college blogs will say how amazing it is for you to be single in college, and not to be tied down, however, there is no reason to end an amazing relationship just because you’re starting college.
Now, if both of you are sure you want to continue your relationship, the next step is to have a serious talk about communication. For months or possibly more, your only communication will be through the phone or the internet, so you need to discuss how often you’re going to talk, and how. Don’t just leave it up to fate, because one of you will end up disappointed in the lack of communication.
- Set up weekly or monthly dates. These can be by skype or by phone, but these dates will help you feel normal and closer to each other. You can skype or call each other and watch the same movie. Sites like letsgaze.com will even help set this up if you’re technically challenged! Some of my boyfriend and I’s first dates were watching the Harry Potter movies while on the phone together.
- If you have a weekly commitment, it will help you both to feel that you have set aside time for each other, which is important. Make sure that you stick to these dates though, and don’t constantly flake out for new friends.
- Try to text each other every day, at least a good morning and good night text, so you know you’re thinking of each other. More is obviously better, but try to do at least those every day.
Sometimes, it really is worth it just to see each other for a day. Even if seems like too long of a journey, sometimes you just need to see each other’s face. My boyfriend once drove to see me and take me out on a valentine’s date even though he had to leave the very next morning. Gestures like this show the other person that you care and that any drive is worth seeing them. Obviously this isn’t feasible all the time, but a surprise visit every once in a while really helps keep a long distance relationship strong.
One of the most important parts of making your relationship work is commitment to one another. If you get to college and suddenly realize there are other fish in the sea and you want to play the field, for goodness’ sake, break up with your significant other. Don’t cheat on them just because you can. If you decide you don’t want to be with that person, don’t keep the relationship as a safety net – that is unfair for the other person. You might grow apart in your time in college, and sometimes you just realize you aren’t the same person you were in high school. Be honest with your partner and let them know if it isn’t working – you would want them to do the same for you.
Overall, the most important part of making this work is both of you being on the same page. You both have to be willing to put in the work to maintain the relationship. I know that it can be a lot of effort, but if you are with someone you truly see a future with, you will both want to make it happen. Long distance relationships have their ups and downs just like any other relationship, but all those months apart are worth it when you finally see each other and get to be together once more.
If this post helped you feel a bit better about your long distance relationship, why not share and help out everyone else! Do you have any long distance relationship tips? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear them!