According to my poll, nearly 22% of couples were long-distance because of one person going home for the summer. If you are headed home this summer, your boyfriend is headed home, or you both are (to separate cities), then lucky you! This situation is probably the easiest to overcome. Since going home for the summer is somewhat expected of college students, neither of you will feel like you are sacrificing a part of your relationship for a new experience. If one of you is headed home this summer, or you both are, be prepared for meeting each other’s families, electronic communication, potential jealousy (exes, old friends, etc. may be home, too), and competing for time (he will want to reconnect with his home life).
To make your relationship work when one of you is headed home for the summer, you must:
1. Look Forward
Since my boyfriend and I only have weekends and holidays to look forward to spending together, I like to send him links to websites of things we will do together when we are in person. For example, I will be in New York this summer, and I know he is going to visit at least once. So I recently sent him a link to Serendipity’s website, and now he is looking forward to their frozen hot chocolate just as much as I am! “You will find that you, too, will thrive in this creative playful state,” says Shipp. “You transcend the ordinary in your search for new ways to express your love.”
If at all possible, plan a time to visit your boyfriend while he is at home (for ways to save while traveling, check out my past article: How to Save Money in Relationships). Not only will the time go faster if you have a set date to look forward to, you have the chance to truly connect when you visit his hometown. Make sure to meet his family, friends, and to spend time exploring where he grew up. Plan to split the cost of the trip or to meet halfway in order to make it easier on yourselves. “My girlfriend is going home for the summer, and so am I,” says Jeremy, a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. “I already have plans to visit her in June, and her family is really looking forward to meeting me.”
According to my poll, nearly 29% of couples were long-distance because of an internship in a different city for the summer. “You may want to experience certain things in life, travel or career, before making a commitment,” says Blake. “In this way, you may view a long-distance relationship as one of those ‘experiences’ in life.” If you or your boyfriend is spending the summer as an intern, be prepared for tight scheduling, electronic communication, an element of the unknown (new city, new friends, new job), and insecurity due to the unknown.
In order to make a LDR work while one of you is in a new city for an internship, you can:
1. Make a Movie Date
Thanks to the distance, it may seem counterintuitive to schedule a movie date – no, thank you, I do not want to see a movie alone and then discuss it with my boyfriend later. Thanks to Skype, you do not have to! “Skype has been a Godsend,” says Ashley, a student at the University of Missouri. “We like to watch movies ‘together’ via Netflix Instant –we share an account.” Since you will likely be tired after a long day of work, watching a movie together can be a great way to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
2. Spice It Up
Since you will likely be busy the majority of the day with work, and exhausted once you are home, it can be tough to keep the sex appeal alive. “One of my favorite tricks is to take a picture of yourself while you are getting ready in the morning, then send it to him during your lunch break,” says Dana, a student at Northwestern University. “The image of you in a bra and pencil skirt will have him imagining boss and naughty secretary scenarios all day long!” If pictures are not your thing, text him sometime during the day with an innuendo-filled message. Even something as tame as, “I wish you were here to distract me…” can throw a boy’s imagination into overdrive, especially one who has not seen his girlfriend in awhile!
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM
I consulted two of the top LDR experts in the country to give you one-sentence solutions to your most common LDR problems.
- He is Giving Me Unwanted Space: “The best advice I usually give couples in both situations is to communicate intentions and feelings openly when either person notices the change in perceived space,” says Blake.
- A Pretty Girl Keeps Posting on his Facebook, and I Do Not Know Her: “To ensure its success, both partners must be open, trusting, and willing to show their feelings for the other without having the security of the usual available clues that point to loyalty,” says Shipp.
- I Feel Like We Are Growing Apart: “Set aside time to reflect on why you love your partner, and envision the day you will be together – come together and discuss your feelings with one another,” says Blake.
If you need more advice, Sylvia Shipp’s book, The Long Distance Relationship Guidebook is available to purchase on Amazon.com. Stephen Blake’s Long Distance Relationship Series are available at a bookstore near you. You can also visit his website or Facebook page for more information.
No matter what, remember to do what works best for you as a couple. What worked for your friend while her boyfriend studied abroad may not work for you. Trust your instincts - it is up to you to make your relationship work and only you know how to do it best.
College students from across the country
Stephen Blake, long-distance relationship expert, best-selling author of Long Distance Relationship Series, including Loving Your Long Distance Relationship; Loving Your Long Distance Relationship for Women; and Still Loving Your Long Distance Relationship
Sylvia Shipp, long-distance relationship expert, author of The Long Distance Relationship Guidebook