It is a new beginning. It offers endless opportunities. It suggests the end of an era. These are the thoughts that are quite often associated with going away for college or university. And although your graduation from high school does signify all of these things, does leaving for post-secondary school automatically indicate the end of your ever-so-sweet high school romance?
While it is often said that high school romances don’t last, that isn’t to say that they aren’t real relationships worth some time and most definitely some effort. This article will explain steps you can take to ensure that you and your beau, whether of 5 years, 2 semesters, or 4 months, will elevate your status from high school sweethearts to college love-bugs in no time!
Step 1: Establish the Rules of your Relationship
That is, what both you and your significant other feel is and isn’t appropriate when you’re apart. This may seem like a very controlling and domineering task, but keep in mind, leaving for college is new territory for the both of you. If you and your beau attended the same high school together, then it’s safe to say that you were able to see each other often and have already established some sort of rulebook for the relationship under those certain circumstances. But college is an entirely different ballpark with completely new guidelines, and recognizing this is important in order to make the relationship work.
“Me and my boyfriend are happy, but not without some difficulties at first. In high school, we both knew all the same people - that’s why I felt comfortable with him going out and hanging out with our friends without me. But when he went to college, and would go out, I felt a bit uncomfortable. I wasn’t as sure, because at least in high school I approved of everyone. It felt like when he went away to school, he found a new life and new friends and spent a lot of time with them, rather than with me. He didn’t realize he was making me feel this way though, because in high school, I was fine with it,” says L.S, a student at George Brown College.
While it is important to establish some sort of agreement and guideline to the relationship, it is also important to speak up. It is important to let your partner know if you’re feeling uncertain or uncomfortable with anything in the relationship– that way, neither of you will be hurting one another unintentionally. When approaching your beau with a problem, try phrasing your thoughts less aggressively and more expressively in an attempt to sound less accusatory.
Step 2: Find New Ways of Connecting to One Another
With a new school comes a new life, new friends, new classes, new job opportunities, and it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of first year. How does all of this spell out for you and your partner – the one you’ve grown accustomed to seeing every day of the week?
The most important advice to keep in mind is to make use of what you can – take advantage of the technology and devices of this day and age. If you are far from travelling distance to your partner, an easy way to communicate is using Skype video calls, email, online chat, or text messages to maintain your connection.
“I love Skype. It’s what got me and [my boyfriend] through first and second year, especially since he went to school in the US and I couldn’t afford the international phone bills,” says A.Y, a student at Ryerson University.
Not having a physical relationship is probably the largest concern a couple faces while in a long distance relationship. As long as the two of you are certain you want to be together, these issues will resolve themselves, more often than not. Making time for one another is a sure way to stay as deeply smitten as you were while in high school.
While apart, try incorporating each other in mundane tasks, those you would do together under normal circumstances. Grabbing some groceries? Call your beau while perusing the aisles and ask him if you should stock up on anything specific for the next time he comes to visit. After some time, little occurrences like this will become habit to you, and both you and your sweetheart will appreciate the effort.
Step 3: Understand that Change is Inevitable
Unfortunately for all recently graduated high school sweethearts, the relationship you have grown so accustomed to is certain to change. The best you can do is start growing with the changing relationship, and appreciate any new traditions that may come along.
An important tip to keep in mind is that time apart may actually be beneficial for the relationship! Growing apart and maintaining separate lives – you with your new friends and he with his – can create a once predictable relationship into an exciting and interesting adventure! Time apart from each other means that each encounter with each other is that much more special.
Another important tidbit is this: although extremely easy to do so, do not play the part of the jealous girlfriend. Distance does not equate to infidelity, although it does lead to insecurity. Trusting in one another, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and supporting each other despite the distance are the formula for a happy and healthy relationship.
“It was so easy for me to be jealous of any girl that [my boyfriend] would mention, whether I knew her or not. I just hated that he made so many new female friends and I was so paranoid that he’d fall for them because I wasn’t around. I realized, though, that a lot of friends I made in class were guys too, and if he was thinking what I had been thinking, I’d tell him ‘DON’T WORRY, IF I ACTUALLY WANTED THOSE OTHER GUYS, THEN WHY WOULD PUT SO MUCH EFFORT IN BEING WITH YOU?’ That’s when I realized I was being silly. We’re still together,” says R.L, a student at Sheridan College.
Every couple is different, and every couple faces unique challenges while in a long distance relationship. The transition from high school to post-secondary can be tough, especially when the person you love is miles and miles away. It is difficult at first, but for the right person, a long distance relationship is well worth the struggle. After all, you know what they say: distance makes the heart grow fonder!
College and University students in Toronto