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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

How I’m Handling My Long Distance Relationship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

If you had told me at the beginning of last year that I would go into college in a long-distance relationship, I would have told you that you were insane. Even if you had told me 5 years ago as I entered my freshman year of high school, I still would have told you that you were crazy. Growing up, I had a certain expectation of what college was going to be like. And, without getting too graphic, having a boyfriend definitely didn’t fit into the picture. And yet, here I am in a long-distance relationship and happier than ever.

I won’t lie; long-distance relationships are hard and even though we are starting to figure it out, I am by no means an expert. Also, everyone’s relationships are so different. Some of the things that I consider saviors in my relationship have been the downfall of my friends’. Nonetheless, the biggest challenges that I have had to overcome are communication, physical contact (or lack thereof), visiting and balance.

Photo courtesy of the author

To me, communication means a couple of things. The first is technical, how we communicate. Now, we kind of do it all. On any given day it is not unusual for us to Snapchat, Instagram dm cute pictures of puppies, text, and Facetime. In my relationship, Facetime is our best friend, especially when we are trying to actually have a real conversation. Being able to see and hear someone at the same time helps to have less of those little miscommunications that are so common when texting.

That brings me to the second part of communication, learning how to communicate effectively when you’re not physically together. I am a big believer that the best way to solve a conflict is in person. Just being able to hold someone’s hand or give them a hug when they are upset can deescalate a situation in so many ways. But, you lose that luxury when you are long distance. You have to learn how to talk, fight, cry and not be able to physically comfort the person you love, and we are still working on that.

Photo courtesy of the author

Leading me to the next factor of being long distance, the lack of physical contact. Physical contact is really important in any relationship. Not just in a sexual setting, although that can pose its own challenges, but also just feeling comfortable and safe. I can wholeheartedly say that the place I feel safest and most loved in the world is wrapped in my boyfriend’s arms, and not being able to feel that way for months at a time can be devastating. What I have found helpful is to trick my senses. I have a bottle of his cologne and more of his clothing than I care to admit. When I am feeling especially sad, I spray his cologne on the sleeves and collar of his sweatshirt and then close my eyes and put it on. It isn’t the same as a real hug, but it is a good way to trick my body into that state of feeling surrounded by him and therefore completely and utterly loved. We also got each other stuffed animals that I drench in his cologne and he drenches in my perfume, so we have something to cuddle with that smells like each other.


Photo courtesy of the author (Outfit courtesy of my boyfriend’s closet)

Finding time to see one another is a part of being long distance. My relationship started a little different than most. My boyfriend and I met while on a gap year program in Israel. This poses a challenge that I never thought about; we don’t have a home base. When you meet someone in college you may live in different places, but you spend the school year together. With a high school sweetheart, more often than not your homes are geographically close. However, in my case, we are actually closer together when we are at school and we are still 1,316 miles away, making it that much harder to plan visits. Balancing two different school schedules is definitely harder than I was expecting. Our original goal was to see each other every other month, but that hasn’t been the case so far, as I haven’t seen him in almost three months. However, now we are going to see each other for four months in a row. I had to learn that schedules don’t always line up and that’s okay. We are taking advantage of school breaks, even when they are not the same. I am going to see him for our long weekend in fall, where he has classes one of the days, then he is coming up for Thanksgiving, where I will have classes for two days of his visit, and then we will spend three weeks together over December break. This brings me to the next hardship with visiting, who visits who. We are trying our best to alternate and so far, it is going well but we both know and have talked about how we need to be flexible and how we can make alternating a goal but not a rule.

Photo courtesy of the author

The most difficult of the tasks is balance. While balance is simple as a concept, it is impossible in practice. We are constantly working on finding a balance between talking to each other and our friends, or both (it is crazy the amount of drama I know about his friend group, especially because I’ve never met them). Balancing talking about our days and having crazy deep philosophical conversations that make hours disappear. Balancing how often we say I miss you because at a certain point it’s just devastating to think that you are causing someone you love so much the pain. And honestly, I don’t really have a good answer to this. Some days we are better at balance than others. I think the key to balance is figuring out all of the other things the best you can, and man is that hard

Photo courtesy of the author

Personally, being in a long-distance relationship is the best thing I’ve ever done, I have found someone I love and who loves me back. It is so far from being an easy decision, and you are giving something up to be with that person. But, if it really is the right person, there is no question because you will gain so much more than you ever thought possible. 

Jocelyn is a freshman at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University. She loves playing guitar, taking Friday afternoon naps, and going on crazy adventures with her friends.