Long-Distance Relationships: Do's and Don'ts
Courtney Guth's relationship sounds as healthy as low-free yogurt! (That's a good thing.) —Sparkitors
According to some, monogamy in college is a myth. It ranks right up there with unicorns, the abominable snowman, the Loch Ness monster, and other imaginary beings. Most college students just don’t want to commit. Instead, they opt for hookups and meaningless flings. Gone are the days when a guy would take a girl out to the movies or go to great lengths to impress her. Now it’s more likely that two people meet at a party, share a hookup, and then decide to take things from there.
However, some people choose to actually make relationships work, and I happen to be one of them. You can call me old-fashioned, but there’s something so much more meaningful about an actual relationship as opposed to a cheap one-night stand. While most people who do decide to commit have the luxury of seeing their significant other all over campus, my boyfriend and I happen to go to different schools.
Alec and I became friends during our senior year of high school. Over the following summer, before entering college, it was clear that feelings were there. However, we both knew we’d be attending separate schools in the fall and figured that it was best to just remain friends. Yet, over the course of the spring semester, we both realized those feelings were still there, and with one year of college under our belt, we decided to give the long distance thing a try.
Fortunately, our schools aren’t too far away. The drive is less than an hour, but between classes, schoolwork, jobs, and clubs, finding the chance to see each other can become rather difficult, especially without access to a car. Being at separate schools isn’t always easy, but some relationships are absolutely worth it. Here’s how to make things work:
DO keep in contact: This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most important parts of making it work, so it has to be said. Today’s technology has made it easier than ever before to keep in touch with people over distances. Video chat services, such as Skype, are especially helpful. Sure, it’s not the same as being in the same room, but it’s probably the closest option out there. Also, simple good morning text messages are the best. Just letting your SO know s/he's on your mind is adorable. My personal favorite? Sending letters! I told you I was old-fashioned.
DON’T overdo the constant contact: As with most things in life, balance is key. It’s fine to keep talking throughout the day, but if contact ever becomes controlling or makes you feel guilty; it’s time to change something. You’re at school to get an education, so make sure you’re not choosing to Skype in lieu of studying for an important exam. Keep your priorities in line.
DO visit each other: Visiting a new campus can be fun and exciting! You get to see everything through your partner’s eyes. It’s great seeing why he or she chose to attend that school. Switching up the routine and planning a getaway can be a great break from all those exams. Visits make great rewards. You’re especially in luck if his or her school has a better dining hall! You can experience everything your SO loves about his/her school, and then show off your school the next time.
DON’T make him or her come to you every time: Visiting should be fair and balanced. It shouldn’t be expected that one person has to do all the traveling all the time. Alternating trips keeps things fresh and makes for more enjoyable visits.
DO get to know each other’s friends: One of the exciting aspects of visiting other campuses is opening up your network of friends. It’s definitely important for you to meet your partner’s friends and for him or her to meet yours. Who knows? You might just end up with a newfound close friendship. When everyone hits it off, it makes hanging out so much more enjoyable.
DON’T neglect the friends you have: Don’t become prone to “boyfriend or girlfriend syndrome.” It’s a dangerous disorder that often plagues couples. Sometimes couples become so wrapped up in their relationship that they forget nurture the friends they have. While it doesn’t happen as often when you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s still possible, so make sure you’re not spending every weekend away.
Are you in a LDR? How do you cope?
Related post: The LDR: A Participant's Perspective