When my long-term, long-distance relationship ended soon after my first semester of freshmen year, I made a promise to myself to never to get into a long-distance relationship again. When I started dating my next boyfriend second semester, I realized the benefits of dating a guy who lived one building over opposed to one state away.
My promise to myself seemed easy enough to keep. Unfortunately, that boyfriend who lived one building over during the school year lived two states away during breaks; that relationship ended six days after it turned “long-distance.” I spent my sophomore year having various flings; then, the following summer I met someone I really cared for and was forced to make another promise to myself: do not fall victim to “summer love.”
At first, the summer fling seemed to be just that: a fling. We saw each other only on weekends accompanied by friends, which didn’t give us much time to get too close. When he eventually asked to see me mid-week, I asked myself if one more day a week together could hurt. Soon enough, when I wasn’t babysitting, working, or tanning on the deck, I was with him. We talked for hours in the hammock, partied in D.C. with our friends, and met each other’s families. After a school year filled with guys who I just didn’t click with, it was a relief to meet someone I genuinely liked.
The “fling” part changed when I went on my two-week family vacation, and we were forced to spend some time apart. Absence made our hearts grow fonder. As soon as I got home from our red-eye flight, I showered, packed a bag, and drove an hour and a half to his house. Before hellos were even exchanged, I knew I was about to break my first promise to myself and agree to the forbidden “long-distance relationship.”
We only had one week left before school started. When we weren’t together, I googled way too many versions of ‘tips for long-distance relationships’ as we skyped saying, “We’ll make it work!” in a million different ways. I tried to justify the relationship to myself; I thought that I was more mature than I was freshmen year, and I had never met anyone who I completely connected with at college.
When we broke up, I was more hurt than I have ever been before, but I was also incredibly relieved. My unexplained anxiety quickly disappeared. I developed a new outlook on relationships and how they aren’t as necessary as I thought they were, especially in college. I meet new people every weekend and have hilarious and exciting nights out with my friends. I may not fall madly in love with each new guy I meet, but that’s a good thing. It’s exciting to be kept on your toes. Every day is an adventure that I can be completely open to. I have learned to listen to my head instead of my heart, and to never break a promise to myself (and maybe someday I’ll learn to never say never).
I know long-distance relationships can work, but not with the temptations inherent in college life. You don’t want your college relationship to end after graduation and then regret missing out on what has been said to be the best four years of our lives. I also believe these relationships have a higher success rate for the short term, when you can see that light at the end of the tunnel. Our distance wouldn’t have ended for another three years, and that was even if we had ended up in the same city! Because we were waiting for the next brief period we could spend together, the relationship just didn’t make sense.
Looking back, I wish we would have held off on the relationship because now our friendship is on hold. It pays to be practical and look at situations realistically, especially when the distance really is a distance. Catching up every once in a while and seeing each other on breaks would probably make more sense than a committed relationship when you are six hours away. That way you can remain on good terms, so if you do eventually end up a few metro stops away….