My boyfriend and I started dating during our sophomore year in high school, went to college 3 hours apart, and now he’s in Europe while I’m in the United States. We’ve been together for 7 years and in a long-distance relationship for 5 of those years, normally seeing each other once every three months.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you know it has its challenges. If you’re in a relationship that’s turning into a long-distance relationship, you know the uncertainty that comes with it. This is what I’ve learned from my long-distance relationship (LDR):
If you’re graduating high school, go to the college that’s best for you, not where your significant other is going. I’m all for you considering the same school(s), but in the end, make sure you apply to some schools for yourself, and make an unbiased decision when you pick a college.
- Choose a college for yourself, not the relationship. You want to go to a college where you’ll be happy, regardless of whether or not your relationship works out. (In case you haven’t read our other blog posts, transferring is a struggle; make an informed decision the first time around to reduce the likelihood of you transferring.)
- Going to different colleges provides space to grow. Everyone changes during college; being forced to meet new people and experience things on your own is an important part of growing that will most likely be hindered if you go to college with your significant other. My boyfriend and I changed a lot during college but we grew together, rather than growing apart. I credit this to our similar underlying values and principles, and good communication (read on for more about communicating).
- My boyfriend and I went to different colleges for our freshman year. I went to a 2-year college, so after my sophomore year, I needed to transfer to get my bachelor’s. When I applied to colleges to transfer to, I included his college on my list. For financial reasons, I decided against transferring to his college; looking back, I believe I made the right decision. (As an added bonus of going to different schools, I was able to experience his college’s campus life when I visited him without paying their tuition!)
Going into a LDR is like walking into a dark tunnel together, unsure of what’s ahead and unsure whether or not you’ll make it out the other side together.
- Whether or not you’re with your current significant other when you make it out of the tunnel, you will make it out the other side, and chances are, you’ll still have someone (or several best friends) by your side.
- When you walk into the tunnel, and for the duration of the walk, hold each other’s hands (figuratively). Stay in contact, encourage and push each other, and be there for each other.
- Going into a LDR, I wish someone had told me that if it’s meant to work out, it will. If it isn’t meant to, it won’t. Put effort into the relationship, but don’t stress over it. Recently my boyfriend and I made the (obvious) realization that if we both want the relationship to work, it will. Trust each other. Your relationship won’t end unless one of you decides to end it. If you’re both in it for the long haul, you’ll make it out of the tunnel together.
When you’re physically apart, keep yourself busy! This will help time fly by and keep your mind off the fact that your significant other is far away. The last thing you want to do during a LDR is sit around waiting to see them again.
Set up a (flexible) contact schedule or method so that you know when you’ll hear from each other again. Luckily, texting allows you to stay in contact all day (if you have time for that), but it’s important to do more together while you’re apart than just text. Here are some options:
- Text every night before bed
- Call each other once a day
- Watch a movie together over Skype/Facetime
- Set up weekly Facetime “dates”
- Write each other old-fashioned letters as penpals
- Snapchat: Within the last year or so of our relationship, my boyfriend and I have started using Snapchat a lot. Snapchat allows us to text while also seeing each others’ faces, which is always nice.
Being in a LDR will strengthen your relationship. This picture explains it perfectly:
Above all else, though, the key to a LDR is communication. My boyfriend and I have made it through obstacles that we wouldn’t have without good communication. If you’re worried about something, let them know. If you’re unsure about something, ask them. (And of course, tell them you love them!) In the end, your significant other should be your best friend; make sure you have open communication in your relationship.
I wish you the best of luck with your LDR, and feel free to contact me or comment below!
– Sarah C.