When I imagined my ideal college experience, a long distance relationship was NOT in the picture. I just could never see the appeal -– why would I be with someone who I couldn’t actually be with? Not to mention also how hard it all seemed.
I watched plenty of my friends try it out for themselves, and I saw first-hand how much they struggled to make it work. Texting as often as possible, sacrificing sleep to Facetime until the wee hours of the morning, and constantly complaining about being alone. And here’s the kicker: none of these relationships even lasted out of high school!
I never wanted to have that type of relationship. I didn’t want to be that girl who was constantly on her phone talking to her partner who was miles away instead of enjoying the life she that she had right in front of her. Essentially it seemed like a lot of hard work for very little reward, and I was not down for that.
When I found myself starting a new relationship in my junior year with one of my long-time friends, Stefan, the thought of a future long-distance relationship crossed my mind. I brushed it off, however, deciding to focus on my present instead of allowing myself to think so far ahead. How did I even know if we were going to make it that long anyway?
Well, we fell harder for each other than I expected, and as more time passed, I knew that this was something more serious than just a high school fling. Fast forward to college application season. We decided that we were not going to “follow” each other. It was more important to put our own futures first rather than trying to stay together. If we ended up at the same school, great! If not, we would figure it out from there.
He had plans to go out of state to Michigan or Georgia, while I was planning to stay in Florida. Though as fate would have it, our plans ended up switching -– he would find himself staying in-state at the University of Florida, while I would be leaving home for Boston University.
1,215 miles is how far we would be from each other. The number was seared into my brain. Stefan said we could make it work, in fact, he was sure of it. I feared otherwise. But, our relationship was so strong and I couldn’t imagine throwing it all away because of my own fears. I wasn’t going to give up without putting up a fight.
We spent the entire summer trying to maximize the time we had left with each other. We made gifts, went on dates, and even made and completed a bucket list of things we wanted to do before he had to leave (UF starts two weeks before BU). Then it finally came time for us to part.
The first two weeks weren’t hard. I was still home with my family and friends who I loved. But, when it finally came time for me to go to Boston, I was scared and decided to use that fear to motivate me to try to make this work.
Stefan surprised me by coming to Boston to help me move in. He helped me with everything from putting up decorations, to making my bed for the first time. We explored the city together and I even snuck him into my matriculation ceremony! Having him here made it much easier to say goodbye.
Credit: Nicole Silvera
Now that I have been in college for a few months, I have found that long distance isn’t the scary monster I once thought it was. I’m not that girl who sits on her phone for hours, constantly texting her boyfriend. I’m an independent young woman living her life to the fullest. We’re both busy people, and we live our own separate lives. That’s not to say that we don’t talk a lot. We try to Facetime for a little bit every night to catch each other up on our days. We call each other on the phone between classes for a few minutes just to check in and say hi. We make it work.
Something that has helped make the distance more bearable is making sure that we know when the next time we see each other will be. It gives us something to look forward to and really helps to make the time apart pass quicker. We also stay involved in each others lives. For example, when he came to visit in October, I introduced him to all of my new friends and we all hung out as a group. As for his part, he keeps me up to date with all of the things I’ve missed from home.
Credit: Nicole Silvera
In a long distance relationship, the most important thing is keeping open and clear communication. The dynamics are so different from a regular relationship and you have to stay honest and candid about how you are feeling every step of the way. If you are feeling scared, or you have doubts, tell your partner! Sometimes talking about it is all that you need to clear your mind.
Having a long distance relationship ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made in college so far. Taking this leap of faith has shown me that I am stronger than I thought I was, and it has taught me that if you have something special, you fight for it and don’t give up.
If you are struggling with figuring out whether you should do long distance, try it! It’s not easy, but if both you and your significant other are willing to put in the work, it will be well worth it in the end.