I've been in a long-distance relationship for almost three years, the majority of my college career. Most people would call that crazy, since college is supposed to be a time where you go out and experiment with relationships. That's just not for me. I found my partner, who is in the Marines and we have been together through it all. Now we're engaged and people think we're too good to be true. Well, we're not. Being in an LDR is much more common than people think.
There are many reasons people end up in a LDR, including military deployment, college, career opportunities or even being "nevermets" that, well, met on the internet. Yes, it's going to be stressful and sometimes even emotionally compromising because you can't see or touch each other. But in all honesty, an LDR is no more stressful than maintaining an average relationship. It just comes with a different set of problems and opportunities for creativity. And when it's all over and you finally get to embrace each other after waiting, you feel an appreciation for that person you might not have felt without this unique experience.
The biggest part that could make or break any relationship, long-distance or not, is maintaining good communication. Try to talk to one another at least once a day, even if it's just to say "hi" or tell your partner that you're thinking about them. Talking doesn't always have to be a sit-down Skype date. With so many different ways to communicate (especially Facebook and WhatsApp), there really shouldn't be a reason not to get back to one another.
Dates & Countdowns
During those times of unending loneliness, the biggest motivator is having a date to see your significant other next, be it a visit, a Skype date or even your end date. It helps immensely to look forward to something. Schedule with your partner times that you will be able to see each other, and plan well. Also, it helps to estimate the time when you'll finally be together and end the distance, even if it's years from now.
Keep It Fresh
It's very possible that you'll be stuck in a dry spell without a meet-up for months. When the phone calls and Skype dates start to get, well, repetitive, spice things up by doing something spontaneous with your partner. Play online games together for live interaction, or just watch a movie with the time synced. Experiencing something together makes you feel that much closer to each other. Also, send letters, gifts or flowers to your SO just because you can. Romantic gestures out of the blue will definitely keep your LDR from going stale. If you really want to impress them, order a pizza and send it to your SO's house when you know they're home (make sure to include the tip).
If you're having doubts or concerns, don't be afraid to share with your partner how you're feeling. If you feel the relationship is too stressful, tell your partner. Do what's best for yourself, as well as your mental and physical health. The worst thing you can do is take advantage of the distance and lie. Just because they can't see it, doesn't mean you're not cheating.
Have A Life Outside Of The Relationship
In a LDR, it's very important that you get along with yourself and learn to be alone. You're going to miss your partner's company and the loneliness can eat you up inside if you dwell on it. Focus on schoolwork, your job, family, church, knitting, Game of Thrones or whatever interests you. Having your own life keeps you from obsessing over your far-off love and keeps you from isolating yourself.
One thing that helped me through the loneliness was having a community. For me, that was through Reddit's r/longdistance, a forum where people vent, give advice and motivate others in LDRs. It feels good to know that you and your partner are not trying to do the impossible when you see that literally thousands of others around the world are doing it too.
Whether you're still dating your high school sweetheart from back home or you've found love with a student at another college, long-distance relationships can prove to be emotionally exhausting. With all the stress from school, the last thing a dedicated college students need is significant others causing them more distress. Although fairy-tale couples do exist and are an exception to my claim, I still believe one should think twice before having a long distance relationship in college.
With so many forms of electronic communication, it can be hard to escape the clutch of your lover. Being glued to your phone can get old real quick, especially if your significant other only feels secure if you are in constant communication. Studying for exams can become very frustrating with a clingy partner, as well as just enjoying your time with friends. You may not give your partner any reason to be worried when you spend a night out on the town, but you will probably have to check in every now and then to avoid a dispute the next morning. A friend of the opposite sex may also be seen as a threat to your lover, resulting in mistrust and jealousy issues. If you find that your partner mistrusts you with no logical reason, perhaps this is a sign that your partner is insecure in the connection you share.
Depending on how many miles separate you and your partner, visiting each other can take a lot of planning and time taken away from your studies. It is hard to work around each other's school and work schedules while also considering the school work you need to get done early in order to spend a few days relaxing. If you notice yourself dreading all the planning and preparation that goes into visiting your significant other, maybe the relationship is not important enough for you to keep.
Although we have many forms of communication, being with one another is the best way to determine your true feelings for the other person. Since college is a time where many people change and grow, being absent during the time your partner is evolving into a new person can cause your relationship to deteriorate. Remember to always keep your happiness in mind when dating miles apart. The sacrifices you and your partner make for each other should be done in full confidence and trust. Any doubts in the relationship could potentially mean that you two would have a better college experience as individuals.
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