Can You Survive Long Distance Love?

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I started dating Kerri when we were both high-school juniors. Now, she’s a recent college graduate and I am about to be. We’ve been together for six years. The catch: four of those years were maintained while apart, since we attended different colleges.

We made it…and so can anyone. Just follow these tips:

1) Obviously, transportation is needed when your significant other is living far away. However, both partners need not own a car to make things work; you just need to be willing to help out. My relationship was like this for the first two years: Kerri did not have a car, so she often paid for gas. The person without the transportation should offer to pay. This makes it less stressful on the driver because they don’t have to worry about going broke every time they come to visit.

2) When planning trips, keep in mind that it’s a drag to drive for hours only to spend a couple of days together. Try to plan trips around long weekends or holidays.

3) Always spend important occasions together. And, if for some reason you can’t, make it up to your partner the next time you see each other. For example, a few years ago, Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday and I couldn’t miss school or work. Yet, I still visited that weekend. The flowers were cheaper and the reservations were easier— a plus—but more importantly, it was just as special as if it were Valentine’s Day, because we made it so.

4) Be understanding if you have to wait to see your partner. Let your partner visit home or a friend occasionally, and be understanding if his or her family or friends come to visit. You may need to wait an extra weekend to see your partner, but don’t get upset. Remember, aside from your time together as a couple, it’s his or her time, too.

5) Stay positive. I remember countless nights with Kerri crying on the phone because she hated being apart. I stayed optimistic. Something I did to help was to constantly remind her of the next time we’d see each other. For example, if I saw her for one weekend but wouldn’t see her again for another two weeks, I’d tell her that we were already a third of the way there. You can always think of things in another way to cheer each other up.

6) Learn to video chat. Kerri and I had Skype when it was just gaining recognition. Get Skype: it’s free. It is nice to not only hear, but see your partner, too. Losing your cyber-virginity is fun and “Skype sex” is way better than “phone sex.”

7) Don’t call all day long. Give your partner some space to focus on school, work and other obligations, especially during the day. Text messages are fine because your partner doesn’t have to respond immediately, but keep them minimal.

8) Increase your trust. Trust is more important to a long-distance relationship than transportation. It may be hard at first because of the excitement that comes along with the beginning of college, but these thoughts will pass.

9) Sometimes, the best communication is no communication. You have to obtain a filter for what you tell your partner to avoid pointless arguments. No harm, no foul. If my girlfriend is at a bar and someone hits on her and buys her a drink, but that’s it, I don’t need to know about it. Don’t sweat— and in this case, don’t mention—  the small stuff.

10) Finally, realize that there will be fights… about everything. Accept that both college and your long-distance relationship are new and that issues will arise. You can get past these issues, but don’t hang up on each other or ignore phone calls. When fighting in a long-distance relationship, all you have is long-distance communication, so the worst thing you can do is cut out speaking during such critical times. It’s also extremely frustrating if your partner ignores you during a fight when things are out of your control. So talk your issues out.

Take my advice and long-distance dating will become easy. Kerri and I made it. Why can’t you?

College Magazine Staff

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