Hey ladies! As the new Real Live College Guy at the University of Oregon, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’ll start with the basics: my name is Sheldon, I am 22 years old, and I am a sophomore studying journalism at UO. In my free time I would like to think I do pretty typical guy things. I watch a lot of football, I workout, and I chug Muscle Milk. I also like to tweet (@SheldonMinor) and I love meeting new people. Anyway, that’s enough about me. Let’s get to a question:
I've been talking to this one guy for a while now. We love talking and our personalities complement each other incredibly. I'm always happy when I hear from him, but here's the catch: he lives 8 hours away from me. I guess what I'm wondering is, at what point do you think it is worth it to go that far for someone?
Far From Love"
Well Far From Love, let’s just be honest here: long-distance relationships are not easy, and being a college student will certainly not make them any easier. Most college students are learning to live on their own for the first time, spending hours in the books (or should be, at least), and in most cases, living on a tight budget. On top of all that, many see college as a time for personal growth, finding what works for them and what doesn’t through experimentation and interactions with both the same and opposite sex.
To have a successful relationship with someone eight hours away, you are going to have to make sacrifices. It is up to you to look within yourself and decide whether those sacrifices are worthwhile based on what may happen in the future. Although it might sound a little silly, one of the best ways to help with your decision is to create a list of pros and cons for continuing your relationship. In addition, I have come up with a list of considerations to help you out:
Trust is a must. As with any relationship, trust is one of the main keys to success. This is especially true in long-distance relationships with so much time spent apart. Living eight hours away from your partner, it is essential that you both have complete trust in one another. If you want to go out to Taylor’s for dollar beers or he wants to head to a party with friends, there has to be 100% trust and zero jealousy between the two of you.
If complete trust between the two of you has not yet been established, it needs to happen soon. A number of other relationship issues can stem from an initial lack of trust and in some cases ultimately lead to the demise of the relationship. One of the most troubling things I have seen in long-distance relationships is when one person tries to control the company that the other keeps. My friend, I am sorry to say that if this is (or becomes) an issue in your relationship, there is a major lack of trust. You should be able to remain confident at all times in your boyfriend’s ability to hang out with good people and not do anything to jeopardize your relationship.
Have a relationship goal. Being in a long-distance relationship requires you to make sacrifices to be successful. With this in mind, you and your partner should create a relationship goal that can act as a constant reminder that the sacrifices you both are making are worthwhile. Start with small goals like a romantic getaway during summer break and then aim towards more substantial goals further down the road.
If you do not have such goals, your relationship will be difficult to maintain. For example, if you both plan to move to Portland after graduation in search of work, wonderful. On the other hand, if you are planning to move to the East coast in search of work and he has been inspired by “Deadliest Catch” to move to Alaska for crabbing season, maybe it is best to part ways sooner rather than later.
Make time for each other. Communication is essential in maintaining a fluid relationship. Talking on the telephone and Skype dates are both great options. Unfortunately for long distance lovers, nothing is better for a relationship than time spent together. This may also come as a sort of sacrifice — of the contents of your bank account. When you are living on a tight college budget, traveling eight hours can sometimes be difficult.
If you plan to visit each other, it will be important to plan out a weekend or short trip that works for both of you and doesn’t interrupt classes, but at the same time remains relatively inexpensive. Amtrak offers both busses and trains out of Eugene for a small price and could be an option. Another option is trying to play the airfare market and catching a cheap flight out of the Eugene airport. Whatever works best for you and your partner, be sure to make it happen and enjoy your time together when you get it.
These are only a few ideas to consider, but overall it is clear to see that sacrifices will have to be made to sustain a successful, lasting relationship with someone hours away from you. I have seen long-distance relationships both succeed and fail. Remain dedicated to the success of your relationship and great things will happen, but make sure it is truly what you want. You don’t want to look back in 10 years and regret your decision to pursue a relationship and be left wondering what things you may have missed out on during college.