Doing the Long Distance Relationship Thing Successfully
Don’t be fooled: they’re not easy and, like a new Spanish professor, they take time to understand. But, ultimately, a long distance relationship is rewarding. If you truly care for the one you’re away from (which apparently you do, since you’re in such a relationship) then it shouldn’t be hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel… whether that means getting together in the summertime, over winter or spring break, or for the coming weekend.
Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard these pieces of dating advice before:
1) If it’s really meant to be, it’ll work out,
2) Don’t worry, every relationship has its ups and downs, and
3) Do whatever makes you happy.
Good advice, all. But there’s just one thing wrong with these generalities: they don’t really mean anything.
What you need is some solid, tangible advice to put into action; some real tips for making your relationship as smooth, loving and trusting as possible… because that, my friends, is the key. Below are a few ways to really show your boyfriend/girlfriend that they matter.
If you can’t be honest with each other, then what else is there? I’ll tell you, the weather. That’s it. And that sucks. (S)He doesn’t have to know every minute detail of your waking campus life, but it should be easy to share thoughts, ideas, compliments, frustrations and day to day observations with him/her. Chances are, if you’re holding back on these little things, you’re holding back on much more important things, as well. Here are some really easy ways to keep the lines of communication open:
- Call. Whether you’re saying goodnight, calling just to say hello or to freak out about straight up acing that final exam, it’s always good to hear your reassuring gf/bf’s voice.
- Leave voicemails. It’s so easy to hang up just as the automatic greeting comes on, but take those few extra seconds and leave a message. Instead of saying, “hey, just calling to see what’s up” say something like, “just walked by [insert campus object here] and thought of you. Give me a call back when you get a chance because, well, you’re pretty and you rule.”
- Send ‘Good Morning’ Texts. When you wake up, send her a good morning text message with some adoration and encouragement for the day ahead. It doesn’t have to be a long, complex love letter, just show her that she’s on your mind.
- FaceTime. Today, most smartphones have video calling features. This is a game changer for long distance relationships. You can actually see the person you love right there in front of you!
- Send a Letter or Package. This is super old-school, but a letter could be just what she needs to remind her how much you care. After all, hand written letters are more exciting to receive and feel more personal than an email or text message. Similarly, if (s)he’s really stressed over exams, send her/him an OCM care package with a note for some much needed encouragement.
Communication is vital and so is respecting each other’s individuality. This is paramount to any relationship, but especially when it’s long distance. You’ll make your friends, she’ll make her friends, he’ll make his friends and so on. It’s human nature to connect. This is especially true freshman year when everyone is meeting each other for the first time. Don’t spend hours and hours in your room on the phone or crafting an immense email while your friends are out bonding and having a good time. Experience your new environment; don’t worry, you’ll have each other at the end of the day!
If you’re both from the same hometown and both heading home for break, visits are especially easy. You’ll be hanging out and doing fun things together until the cows come home, or until you have to head back. Bask in this time together; these moments will be great to think about when you’re separated again.
On the other hand, you may go to different schools and live in far-away cities, states or regions (I offer my sympathies to you brave souls). If this is the case, you can easily and affordably plan a trip to meet up over winter, spring or summer break. Whether you decide on a home visit or an adventure, sites like Student Universe and STA Travel make it easy to find student deals on flights, hotels and more.
And if you’re lucky enough to go schools that aren’t too far apart, hop on a Megabus or local train, and make a weekend trip. I promise you it’s worth it.
This is by no means a definitive guide to maintaining a sane, healthy long-distance college relationship. Every relationship is different, and those with 100+ miles between will especially encounter their own twists and turns but no matter what, all relationships take work. However, if you put in the time and effort, it will show and your relationship will thrive; your time apart will fly by; the moments you spend together will make the long phone calls, bus fares and lonely nights worth it.