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Picture this: it’s the summertime (or maybe Christmastime), you’ve met someone awesome who you really like to spend time with, maybe you guys even go on a few dates together and hopefully they turn into your significant other; you’re in a happy relationship that works for you! (Yeah, right, we’ve heard this one before…)

Next thing you know, something terrible happens: you have to go back to school and, even worse, you don’t attend the same college! Now what? You were in a great position, everything was going swimmingly, and now you can’t see your significant other for weeks, or maybe even months. Military girlfriends, I feel you and see you.

Let me start this by saying that what you’ve heard is true. Long distance relationships are difficult, require communication and a lot of work, and are sometimes even exhausting. The most important thing is that you’re able to communicate and keep in contact with each other however often works for you! Some people like a simple text in the morning that explains you’ll be busy all day and can’t talk much, while others like to call or text a relatively consistent amount throughout the day so they can hear about your day. It depends entirely on your relationship and what works for you.

However, it’s worth mentioning that texting all day every day all the time can be more unhealthy than it is helpful. Sometimes, taking the day off and spending time with your friends and not being on your phone that day is the best thing you can do. Occasionally, stupid fights happen because you guys might not be on the same page or because someone is having a bad week and feels frustrated they can’t be with you (or vice versa). 

If you’re in a military situation, I would add the quality of not allowing yourself to get too worked up about anything, good or bad, to your toolbox. Plans change quickly, often at the last minute, and you don’t necessarily get a say in almost anything that happens regarding their plans or privileges. Taking it a day or week at a time is the best way to handle this kind of long distance situation. 

If you ever feel that you and your significant other are becoming distant, or that the spark has gone out because you feel defeated that you can’t be with them, a good way to rekindle things or remind each other how you feel is to write letters to each other. Writing things out, especially your feelings, forces you to consider if that’s really what you mean to say, or if maybe there’s another way to explain how you feel. It forces you guys to remember why you’re staying in this relationship (even though it’s difficult), and why this is worth your time and energy. Plus, receiving a handwritten letter or note from your significant other is always going to make you feel good about yourself and stable in your relationship.

An alternative approach is to write in a notebook and address the entries to your partner. This is also very therapeutic, since there’s no pressure to send those letters to them. You might catch yourself being more honest with yourself in writing than in your texts, which might make you feel better about your relationship or show you why continuing it might not be a good idea.

Long distance relationships have been around forever, and people have always been plagued by the idea of not being able to spend every minute with their significant other, but something that might make you feel better is that the chances of you and your soulmate being a hop, skip and a jump away from each other is very, very low.

Bucknell University class of 2023
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