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Campus Cutie on Long-Distance Relationships with Nicole Bowden

I’ve met a lot of students here at SCAD that are in long distance relationships. Some couples are separated by just a few states, others are in different countries altogether. I can’t imagine the strain placed on these people, not just because of the distance, but also because of the hectic schedules students tend to lead. How exactly do LDRs (long distance relationships) stay solid when they’re tested in so many different ways?

This week I sat down with a good friend of mine, Nicole Bowden, and asked about how her love life functions when she’s down here in Atlanta. Her boyfriend is back in New York, nearly one thousand miles away. Nicole is in her third year studying animation. I’ve taught her much of the southern way of living since we first met on an elevator our freshman year. She has a very down-to-earth attitude and a talent for expressing herself.

A day at the beach. Photo courtesy of Alexia Zarate.

Alexia Zarate: What are some of the obstacles LDRs face?

Nicole Bowden: The hardest part is finding time to talk. My boyfriend (Gary) is always working and I’m always doing projects for school so sometimes he gets frustrated with that. We argue about feeling like the other person isn’t putting enough effort in or just stupid things. When we get irritated we’ll find anything to argue over and it’s not like you can just go give the person a hug and make up. Sometimes, when I mess up, I just have to call him ten times and hope he picks up.

AZ: It seems to me like it would be hard to keep a LDR exciting. Do you have any good ideas for things couples in LDRs can do?

NB: I’ll call Gary up and watch movies with him a lot of the time. Sometimes we video call, if my phone is cooperating. He also comes down to visit when he can and then we have fun weekends just travelling around town and eating whole pizzas together. There’s not a lot you can do when the other person is so far away … I guess I just think it’s important to text them a lot and make sure you’re both updated on what’s happening in each other’s lives.

AZ: You two also share a bunch of funny YouTube videos.

NB: (laughs) You already know. It’s a good thing if we can keep each other happy and joking around.

AZ: Has there ever been a time when you felt the distance was too much to handle?

NB: Yes. I think he feels it more than I do, though, because he’s a more emotional person than I am. He gets jealous that I might find someone new down here or that I’ll completely forget about him. He also worries that I take walks alone at night and that I don’t always eat or sleep the way that I should.

AZ: That must make Gary feel pretty helpless.

NB: He gets very stressed out even when I tell him not to worry.

AZ: Those late night walks aren’t your best idea, I might add in his defense.

NB: They’re relaxing!

AZ: Do you ever get paranoid that you’re missing too much of your boyfriend’s life or that he might be cheating on you while you’re away?

NB: Not really. I trust him. I think that’s really important to these kinds of relationships because you can’t be there to see the person and check up on them physically so you have to trust everything they tell you. But like I said, he does get anxious about those kinds of things. It’s kind of insulting because it’s like saying he can’t trust what I tell him.

Nicole and Gary. Photo courtesy of Alexia Zarate. 

AZ: It sounds like you prefer for your boyfriend to be in the same city as you.

NB: There’s some good things about the distance. I definitely think it makes relationships stronger and proves how much you love each other. Plus it also makes you creative since you have to find stupid ways to keep things new and fun. It’s not that easy when all you have is a phone and a video, though. But yeah, I prefer not being in a LDR.

AZ: Lastly, what advice do you have for couples struggling to stay connected when they live far away from one another?

NB: Don’t spend the little time you have together on arguments or things like that. Just talk about the day or get on Netflix. And make sure you check your time zones and schedules and figure out days that work for both of you so that you can call each other and talk. It’s just important to stay well informed on that person’s life until you can see them in person.

Sounds tough, right? Comment below with your LDR advice, stories, or questions. 

An artist that chooses to express myself through writing and intense yoga poses. Right now I'm a junior at SCAD Atlanta and, as a result, a writer for HC SCAD. I am admittedly nervous to begin the new year because I'm going to delve into the waves of new students and try to find interesting people to interview. Here's hoping there's some crazy, fresh faces. I love looking at the stars and finding constellations in my free time and reading up on unsolved murder cases when I need a light read. I'm a little eccentric at times (and mostly brooding during the other hours) but I like to believe all the best people are.
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