The spring semester is coming to an end, and most of us will probably be spending time outside of Hopkins. If you happen to be one of those people, you might be thinking, “what about my relationship?” You’ve finally found and a great guy, and now here comes summer – a whole 3 dreaded months away from each other. Long distance relationships always carry this stigma that it’s doomed to fail, something is bound to go wrong. As someone who’s been in a long-distance relationship for 2 years, this HCer has learned some ways to keep a long-distance relationship going! So whether you live across the country, or across the ocean, here are some things I’ve learned that can make a long-distance relationship that much easier.
1. Set some basic ground rules. You have to know where you both stand. Are you exclusive? Are you going to visit each other? If you talk about things like monogamy, visiting, and communication from the start, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Never assume something. Starting out on the same page can give your long-distance love a boost right from the beginning!
2. Be honest. Being honest is a simple concept that when ignored can cause situations a little short of a catastrophe. You have to be completely real with each other – feelings, plans, friends, everything. I’m not saying you have to be in each other’s business, but letting your significant other know where you are going is better than telling them something else and that one picture you’re tagged in on facebook tells a different story. If there is something you want to hide, it’s probably not a good idea.
3. Avoid smothering each other. Yes, smothering is possible even if you live 1000 miles apart. Constant texting, calling, and FaceTiming can drive you both nuts. It can make you feel suffocated. It’s really not necessary to speak to each other 24/7. This is where the communication planning comes in handy. Make an agreement that you’re going to video chat once a week, and call once or twice a week. Something as simple as hearing the other person’s voice can make things that much easier. When you constantly have to make time to video chat with someone, things can get a little tense. You need space in long-distance relationships the same way you would if you were in a regular relationship. It does get easier once time goes on, so you won’t feel the need to constantly communicate with one another.
4. Be romantic. I’m not saying you need to have late night, private video chat sessions, but you should do things to remind each other that you still have a special bond, even though you are far apart. I like to write letters. There’s something about receiving a handwritten letter that makes me happy. Love letters are a great way to show you care. Have video chat dates. Maybe dress up a little and set aside a few hours to just talk to each other – with no interruptions like cellphones or facebook. It’s very possible to have quality time with your significant other, regardless of the distance.
5. Don’t let the little things get you down. One thing I’ve learned is that texting is probably the most inefficient way of communicating. You can’t express emotions in a text message. You can’t see the other person’s face or hear the tone of their voice, and without these things, we can’t get the whole picture of what exactly is going on. Make an agreement to never argue over text messages – miscommunication can cause a world of problems. Sometimes you have to be flexible. Things come up (work, family, etc.) and that’s a part of life. Things are going to sometimes get in the way, and when they do, don’t take it personally.
Long-distance relationships can work if you really want them to work. All it takes is time, patience, and loyalty – resist temptations. If you ever feel the need to “do single things” you should talk to your significant other. Don’t let one mistake ruin an entire relationship – he may be extra adorable and awesome, but is it worth throwing away an entire relationship for? My guess is that if you’ve opted to try an exclusive long-distance relationship, probably not.
“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…” – Unknown