By Lindsay Garten
According to Dr. Greg Guldner, the founder of The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, 20 to 40 percent of college relationships are long distance. With this fact in mind, one can’t help but wonder how couples can keep their relationship strong while they are apart. Here are five tips to help your long distance relationship thrive.
Communication is important in long distance relationships; set aside time to talk to one another on a regular basis even if you’re both busy. Be creative: try sending cute e-cards, love letters, and e-mails. While you might not be used to communicating in this impersonal way, over time you’ll learn how to make it work. Finally, be open and honest in your conversations, get everything out there.
Another key to a long distance relationship is trust. Part of being in a long distance relationship is not always being there for each other, so trusting your significant other is important. Honesty is the best policy; if you talk to each other frequently, are open about your feelings, and love each other enough, this shouldn’t be a problem. Your partner wants to be with you just as much as you want to be with them, so it’s important to discuss this issue because chances are they’re just as worried as you are.
One problem with being in a long distance relationship is that sometimes your lives will be very busy. Sacrificing time with friends is can be difficult, but is ultimately necessary for maintaining your relationship. Giving up a half hour of social time with the girls isn’t the end of the world, and on the plus side the time you might spend talking to your loved one (even if it only is a half hour each day) will be well worth the sacrifice. You have plenty of time to hang out with your friends, but giving up time for each other will only bring you closer together. Just make sure you have a healthy balance between your life at college and the time you spend with your significant other.
A long distance relationship means visiting each other during the school year. While this can present a problem if you are in New York and your significant other is in California, you can find ways to make it work. Maybe your spring breaks are on different weeks, you could go to California during your break and your significant other can visit you during theirs. You can also work out visits over winter break, since there’s a long break and lets face it, everyone has roughly the same break. Obviously if your schools are closer together then you can have frequent visits, but be sure to focus on your academics first and then make sure you have the time and money for the visit.
5. Making friends at school and getting involved on campus
Finally, be sure to make friends at school and get involved on campus! College is a time for fun, new friendships, and learning new things. Remember that your significant other is important, but they shouldn’t be the only person in your life. Get out and participate in activities, meet your hallmates, and explore what college life has to offer. Chances are your significant other will be happy that you’re having a good time and will love to hear about all the fun you’re having and hopefully they’ll be doing the same.
Lindsay is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Nine Ways of Knowing and a sophomore at Barnard College. She and her boyfriend (who attends Vassar College) have been together for three years.