Managing the Miles: Long Distance Relationships

It’s hard enough to find a good guy to date in college. But if you do have a boyfriend, chances are you will spend long periods of time apart--whether it’s a boyfriend from your hometown who goes to a different school or your JMU bf who is from a different state. My boyfriend and I decided to make our relationship official THE DAY BEFORE we left for summer after our freshman year! Our homes are about 8 hours and 420 miles apart and, with each of us having a job, we weren’t able to visit each other. By the end of August I had learned the difficulties of LDRs, but also gained some tips and tricks that help make the time go by more quickly.

1. Have clear communication expectations: It’s not the most spontaneous thing to set one night each week for Skyping, but it gives you something to look forward to throughout the week. Expect a “good morning” text most mornings? Let him know! Can’t text him any Wednesday nights because your favorite show is on? Let him know that! If the two of you are on different pages about how much you anticipate talking during this time, it can lead to many fights and hurt feelings.

2. Accept that he will have fun without you. One night my boyfriend and I had planned to Skype, but later his friends all made plans to see each other. To be honest, I was pissed that my guy had to cancel our Skype date, but looking back I realize that I handled it all wrong by making him feel guilty. The best thing to do is say something like, “Oh bummer, I was looking forward to it. Maybe we can try tomorrow night? Have fun with your friends!” Having a good time without you does not mean he doesn’t miss you!

3. Be honest! Don’t be that girl who purposely doesn’t respond for an hour to seem busy. But if you are busy, don’t feel bad about putting your phone away for a couple of hours. If you miss him or are having a hard day and are feeling sad, don’t feel like you’re being too clingy by telling him that. Understanding emotions over text messages is nearly impossible, so don’t assume he can tell what you’re feeling because you used a period instead of an exclamation point. Be straight up!

4. Don’t jump to conclusions: He’s in this relationship for a reason… HE LIKES YOU! You will drive yourself crazy thinking if he doesn’t respond to your text for 20 minutes it’s because he doesn’t like you or is annoyed at you or wants to break up with you. Maybe in those 20 minutes he ran into Kate Upton on the street and they hit it off and decided to run away together to get married in Vegas… Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but you see my point. In reality, it was probably his turn to play in FIFA or his mom asked him to do the dishes.  Calm yourself, girl!

5. Focus on who you do have around you: It can be your roommates or sorority sisters at school, or your family and dog at home. Even when you’re apart from your significant other distance wise, you are never alone. Try to enjoy the time you have with the people around you.

6. Set goals/projects you want to accomplish during the time apart. Whether it’s as bold as training for a half marathon, or even just finally creating that scrapbook you’ve been meaning to make for a while, do something with your time! Having something to do will distract your mind from missing your bf/gf AND give you something to tell your partner about the next time you see each other. Even though it may feel like it at times, the world doesn’t have to stop because you’re in an LDR.

7. It’s the little things: Obviously traditional dates aren’t an option, so you two have to find creative ways to keep the romance alive. I love to write (obviously…) so once I sent my boyfriend’s family a Christmas card in the mail without any warning. He said when he got it he was so surprised and it made his day! Doing little things like this or sending a notebook back and forth, keeping one article of each other’s clothing, or watching the same movie while Skyping keeps the romance alive.

8. Always remember the feeling of seeing the person for the first time in a long time: It’s a temporary situation that actually brings you closer in the long run. Anyone who’s been in a long distance relationship will tell you it makes you cherish your together time that much more.