How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship in College
There are many stories of couples who married their high-school sweethearts and enjoyed decades together. Though your parents may caution you that young love doesn’t last, there are many couples who prove otherwise. Who’s to say that you and your sweetheart won’t be one of them?
Heading off to college can put a kink in your young relationship. You want to be together, but you also know that it’s important to get your education, and your colleges are hundreds of miles apart.You decide to maintain a long-distance relationship, but you know that it’s going to be challenging. What can you do to increase your odds so that you can be one of those success stories? Here are a few tips for how you can make a long-distance relationship work while you’re in college:
Be Clear about Expectations
Once you decide that you are going to give a long-distance relationship a go, you need to begin it by establishing what your expectations and ground rules are. Will you be able to date other people when you aren’t together under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” system? Will you expect absolute faithfulness? Do you expect to see each other during the breaks and the summer?
Don’t make any assumptions about your relationship. Make sure you spell out these and any other expectations you have at the start.
Enjoy Regular Skype Dates and Phone Calls
Communication is key to the success of a long-distance relationship. You aren’t there with each other, and you aren’t experiencing daily activities together. That means that you have to make a real effort to share your experiences and to make each other as much a part of your lives as possible through regular conversation.
Talk on the phone as often as possible, and check in through Skype, where you can see each other’s faces while you talk. The regular conversation will be the next best thing to seeing each other.
Make Conversation Meaningful
Don’t just chit chat about your day or about what your roommate did to annoy you. While these things are important because they give us a sense of your everyday life, they are also superficial and talking about these kinds of subjects exclusively won’t help you to maintain your bond.
Make sure that you have meaningful conversation together. Talk about how you feel about your experiences – your excitement about what you’re studying, your anxiety about forming new social circles, or your uncertainty about being out on your own. The more open and honest you are, the closer you will feel to each other.
Don’t Smother Each Other
Being away from each other can instill a lot of fear, anxiety and doubt about your relationship. You may feel jealousy over new friends or feel insecure and harbor suspicions about your partner. Every missed phone call can cause you to think the worst and to respond with accusations.
Resist the impulse to smother your partner with your communications – constant texting, phone calls and e-mails – and try to keep your jealousy and insecurity in check. You have to trust your partner in order for a long-distance relationship to work.
Visit As Often As Possible
There’s really no substitute for seeing each other in person. Make a schedule to visit each other as often as you can. If you live close enough to each other, this could mean weekend drives to visit. If you live very far away, this may mean a monthly plane trip, depending on what you can afford.
Make sure that your visits do not interfere with your academic performance or your ability to make new friends, both of which will be important to your college success. If your visits become a source of stress, they won’t be enjoyable and it will impact your relationship.
Long-distance relationships while you’re in college can work, but they require a lot of effort and patience. If the relationship is worth it to you, the work will be worth it you, as well. Use these tips to help you make your long-distance relationship a success so that you can tell your story to your grandchildren.
Did you maintain a long-distance relationship in college? Tell us how you made it work (or what led it to fail) in the comments!