How To Manage A Long-Distance Relationship In College

Ahh; back to school! Got to love it, right? I mean who does not love the tons of homework and stress, the dining hall hours, the roommate drama and everything else that no one likes to mention about college. Man, this thing is hard, right; what makes things even harder is the departure from friends and family back at home. A lot of freshmen who are transitioning from high school struggle with holding on to any type of relationship back at home whether it is a boyfriend/girlfriend or just a best friend that you know for a fact will be your bridesmaid or your best man. I have been doing this thing for 4 years and I still struggle with it, but now that my boyfriend and I have gotten ourselves into a long-distance relationship I thought I would share a few tips I have learned about maintaining a relationship and a long-distance relationship in college.  

1. Make time to actually talk to each other.

Communication is the most important thing in any type of relationship, but it is incredibly important in a long-distance relationship. When you think about it all you have are words. No more Netflix and chill dates (and I am defiantly talking about the ones where you actually watch Netflix). No more hugging and kissing. No more sleepovers with your best friend or video game sessions; all you have are your words. A lot of people do not know that words are powerful, so it is important that the two of you communicate on a daily or regular bases that fits the both of you. Do not let that other person’s mind wander into La La Land worrying about what you are doing or who you are talking too. A quick text is all it takes. If you and that person are not the types to talk every day, but need that communication, make a schedule of when you two will have phone dates. Pick a day where the both of you do not have too much on your plate: a day where you can really listen to the other person. When making this schedule be mindful of  time zone changes, sleep schedules and any other factors that play into that person’s day. This is the golden ticket to any relationship; I promise! Something so easy, but actually very difficult when you are a full-time student with a part-time social life.

2. Plan the next time you will see the person and mark it on a visual calendar.

You know when your birthday is around the corner and you start getting so excited because you know the date and you have a plan? It is something you look forward to all year! In a long-distance relationship, it is so important to have something to look forward too. Depending on the distance you may have to save up a few dollars but thank god for the 20th century because we have the options of buses, planes, and the opportunity to turn any visitation into a road trip. There used to be a day when we could not do that and all you had were letters and the hopes that you stuck to their memory. Phew! Glad it does not have to be like that anymore. Having something to look forward to helps you keep your eyes on your prize a.k.a. your best friend, your man, or your woman. Also, taking the time to mark it on a visual colander (not one on your phone) makes the time fly by and it does not look as bad. I do not know why visual calendars help me so much but just being able to see the few days that stand between him and I make my days a little brighter and my smile last a little longer. I am not biased or anything, but you should try it!

3. You have to understand that things are different.

One of the hardest things is coming to terms with the fact that things have changed. You cannot see that person everyday as you want to. They may become a little frustrated with the whole distance situation. They may be a little tired because of the adjustment. Just understand that things are different. Try not to trip too hard because ladies you know when you miss that person and we just kind of well you know trip over rocks that are not even there…yeah… do not play. Try not to get frustrated. Just breathe and love on them from arms-length time.

4. Every argument does not mean that the relationship is terminated.

I really struggle with this one. I always think every relationship should be like the movies. You know, they never really show the gritty parts of a relationship. Maybe they show one disagreement that lasts for not even a whole scene and then boom! It is almost as if nothing happened. Being in a long-distance relationship taught me that disagreements happen more often because you are not seeing the person. A lot of arguments start because of assumptions, lack of attention, and pettiness, and that is okay…I mean it is not okay, but every argument does not mean you two are going to break up. In my opinion, it makes the relationship stronger. Now, I am not saying to pick fights every day or to be petty every day. I am saying that when you hurt their feelings by missing a phone date or not answering text in a timely manner or whatever or when they hurt your feelings, take it as an opportunity to better your communication skills with that person. Take it as an opportunity to understand how they feel and what is really going on in their life. And when the argument is over you two are still strong, and it is like an “oh wow this person really cares about me and loves me when I am happy, frustrated, and petty,” and that will be confirmation that she defiantly deserves that bride’s maid dress, or he deserves that suit and tie and that special someone deserves a kiss or two when you see them the next time.

5. Try sending gift boxes or open letters.

This is probably my favorite part about being in a long-distance relationship. It is hard to keep the spark alive in any relationship when you two are so far apart but sending gift boxes for holidays and “open when” letters makes every moment feel like you are there celebrating with them. Sending mail by hand, not electronically, has almost lost its touch. I do not even know if people in my generation know how to send a letter or a box, but you can YouTube it! It is fun when every box has a theme! You can make it cheap by getting that person their favorite snacks or stuffed animal and mailing it to them. It shows them that you still think about them even when they are not around. Or if you two are talking on the phone one day and they mention they are out of toilet paper send them some, but make it cute like decorate the box with a letter that say “you are on a roll keep it up” It will mean the world to them to go to the mailroom not expecting anything and receiving a gift box from the one they probably miss the most.

Of  Course, there are a lot more factors that play into a long-distance relationship, but I hope these 5 tips helped reassure you that it is possible. Always remember distance means so little when someone means so much. Do not let people from the outside looking in tell you that it will not work. Anything can work with patience, consistency, and love.

Good luck, my friends. You can keep the love alive even from miles away.