Long-Distance Relationships

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?

Life pulls you in a lot of different directions. Sometimes, it pulls a couple apart in terms of geographical distance. Millions of high school relationships have met their demise because one or both members of the couple moved away to college.

Making It Work

Long-distance relationships are never easy to maintain, but they can be successful. In fact, students who graduate from college with a long-distance relationship still intact report that their love is stronger than ever before.

If you want to stay emotionally close to your partner despite the geographical constraints on your romance, try these tips:

  • Establish trust. If you can’t trust your partner, there’s no chance that the relationship will last.
  • Communicate effectively. Talk about your relationship and what it means to you. Demonstrate your commitment.
  • Lay some ground rules. Before one of you moves away, make a plan for how you’ll maintain the relationship. How often will you talk? Who will visit whom and how often? Will you be free to see other people?
  • Value independence. Make the most of your own independence, and encourage your partner to do the same. Allow yourself to meet new people, experience new things and grow as a person.
  • Make the most of your time together. On the rare occasion that you get to visit your partner, or vice versa, schedule your time together to make it as enjoyable as possible. Do the things that you’ve been yearning to do (if that means just the two of you hanging out, make sure that you have the space and privacy to do so).
  • Be honest. If you don’t feel like the relationship is working, tell your partner. Don’t try to keep a dying relationship alive.

Why Long-Distance Relationships Fail

Many freshmen start out the year confident that their long-distance romance will survive, but end up in the middle of the infamous “turkey dump” (the name given to breaking up with your high school sweetheart at Thanksgiving, the first time that most freshmen return home from college). Long-distance relationships typically fail for one of the following reasons:

  • Not adapting. Once you go long-distance, you can’t expect things to be the same as they were when you lived close together. You have to be flexible and find new ways to make it work.
  • Not making new friends. Just because your partner lives across the country doesn’t mean that you have to stay in your room sulking all day. You should still go out and try to meet new people. If your long-distance relationship prevents you from enjoying college life, you’ll become resentful toward your partner.
  • Communicating too much. You don’t have to spend an hour on the phone every day. You don’t have to send a text message every hour to report on what you’re doing. There will be some days when you don’t feel like talking, and that’s okay.
  • Not budgeting properly. Long-distance phone calls and trips to visit each other aren’t cheap, so plan accordingly. If one person is carrying the burden of paying for everything, it can put a strain on the relationship.
  • Growing apart. College is full of new people, new experiences and opportunities to grow as a person. Not every relationship can withstand change. Sometimes, it’s best to move on with your lives.
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