As someone who is about to be in a long-distance relationship full-time, rather than just during the academic year, I know how tough long-distance relationships can be for a couple. Between the lack of time together in person, the endless electronic forms of communication, the travel, etc., it can leave you wondering, ‘Is this even worth it?’ Well let me tell you, it is if you want it to be! To allay your fears, I will outline what to expect from your long-distance relationship, and how to make it work. Keep your chins up, collegiettes!
MAKING IT WORK...
According to my poll of the Her Campus staff, nearly 87% of collegiettes have been in a long-distance relationship, so you are not alone! I have broken down the summer scenarios (study abroad, going home, staying at school, internship) into what to expect and the best tips on how to make it work for your situation. However, most of the tips and tricks will work for any type of LDR so make sure to read them all!
According to my poll, 21.4% of couples were long-distance due to studying abroad. “My boyfriend is headed to Spain this summer,” says Katrina, a student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. “I’m nervous about staying connected when we are so far apart physically.” If you or your boyfriend is studying abroad this summer, be prepared for electronic communication, insecurity due to the irregular communication, exciting stories to share with each other, and jealousy about the adventures he is experiencing without you.
“I imagine studying abroad would cause most couples to sweat it out, especially the partner who has to stay behind,” says Sylvia Shipp, long-distance relationship expert, author of The Long Distance Relationship Guidebook. “For this kind of LDR to work well, the person leaving would have to find ways to weave his/her partner into the new adventure so that it resembles an adventure a couple who were physically together would take.”
To make your relationship work while one of you is studying abroad, you can:
1. Make a Video
Unlike during the academic year, you cannot text or call each other randomly throughout the day. Instead, make a special video for your boyfriend so he can watch it whenever he misses you. You can create the video on your laptop and email it to him, create the video on Facebook and send it through a private message, or create a video and post it on YouTube (send him the link, of course!). “It can include areas of your life that are important and you wish to share, a tribute to your love, a song that has special meaning, a recording of your favorite spot where you last spent time together – it is unlimited what you can do,” says Stephen Blake, long-distance relationship expert, best-selling author of Long Distance Relationship Series. “The message is clear that you are taking the time and making an effort to make your time apart special and communicating in ways that touch the heart of your sweetheart from afar.”
2. Count the Weekends
While it may be tempting to have a day-by-day countdown until you next see each other, it can actually make the time seem longer, instead of shorter. “Count down how many weekends you have left before you see each other, rather than how many days,” says Dylan, a student at the College of William & Mary. “Counting the weekends you have left makes the time seem shorter.” Share the number with your boyfriend so each of you has a time frame to reference when you are missing each other.
Staying at School
When one of you stays at school over the summer, there will be a readjustment period as each of you gets used to the idea that you are no longer within ‘arm’s reach’, especially since campus will serve as a constant reminder of things the two of you share. “I’m staying at school this summer,” says Liz, a student at the University of Missouri. “My boyfriend will be at home, and I think he resents me a little for not returning home to him this summer.” If you or your boyfriend is staying at school this summer, be prepared for a readjustment period, high phone bills, feeling ‘out of the loop’ about campus events, and jealousy about spending time with school friends without you.
To make your relationship work while one of you is staying at school for the summer, you can:
1. Set Up a Nightly Phone Date
Since your schedules will probably vary from day-to-day, text each other in the morning to set up a time to talk that night. In this way, you can keep each other up-to-date on your lives, without a need for constant communication. “Having a nightly phone date was huge,” says Kelsey, a student at Emerson College. “It was a nice routine to get into while we were apart.”
2. Send Presents
While you do not need to send a huge present every week, even a small gift such as a pack of his favorite candy, or a mix CD will bring you closer together. “One of my best strategies for a successful long-distance relationship is to share tokens of love,” says Blake. “Use written notes, verbal praise, or gifts to express how wonderful your relationship is!” The small acts of appreciation will prove to your boyfriend how much you care about him and the relationship.