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A Survival Guide to Long Distance in College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

Long distance isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. As you enter college and leave your high school life behind, there are certain relationships you choose to keep and certain ones you choose to sever. Romantic relationships always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to this decision. Your friends, colleagues and family members will flood you with generic advice such as “You should break up, they’re holding you back” or “You’re going to meet someone new in college.” Either way, the decision is ultimately yours to make. The truth is long-distance dating isn’t as intangible as it seems. With our plethora of technological advances, your partner is now only a tap of a button away. As a matter of fact, only 40% of long-distance relationships come to an end. Whether or not you choose to pursue a long-distance relationship, here are a few tips to equip you for the journey that is a long-distance relationship in college. 

Making the Decision

First things first, you and your partner need to make the decision to pursue a long-distance relationship. As awkward as it is, you’re going to have to talk about it. I personally recommend introducing the idea early on rather than waiting for the day before you leave for college. When both you and your partner feel ready to have the conversation, remember that each relationship is different and unique. Just because it works for others doesn’t mean it’s necessarily for you and that’s okay. Gauge your relationship and really think about whether or not you and your partner are ready for this jump. 

Find A Good Time

If you and your partner decide to pursue long-distance, it is important to recognize you two aren’t on the same schedule anymore. You’re not in school from 8 a.m to 3 p.m anymore. Your schedules are going to be different, and you’re also going to be trying new co-curricular activities or maybe even pursuing jobs, internships or research opportunities. So don’t feel bad when your partner doesn’t text you back or call you throughout the day. Rather, try and find an hour of free time in the day where you and your partner can sit back, call and just be with each other. Sometimes there might be days where you talk all day or others where you can’t talk at all because of your rigorous schedules or midterms. Every day is going to be different, but try to form some schedule or routine for you and your partner so you can have that continuity. For me and my partner, we typically call around 8 p.m. before we go to bed. 

New Ways to Spend Time Together

Being long distance, you are going to have to accept the fact that you aren’t going to have the same affection, dates or romantic experiences you used to have. Don’t fret though, this doesn’t mean the death of romance in your relationship. You just have to find new ways to instigate it. Play games with your partner on iMessage. Personally, my partner and I love Minecraft. Also, try and have a movie night together. Platforms like Rave, Disney+ Groupwatch, Hulu Watch Party and Amazon Watch Party all make it super easy to watch your favorite show together. Find a platform or streaming service that works for you and your partner and try to watch a movie every now and then. It won’t be the same as cuddling up and watching rom-coms, but it’ll definitely spark new conversations and lots of laughs. 

Voice Your Emotions 

Being separated from each other, you’re going to be experiencing a lot of new milestones and a lot of new emotions. Since you are miles apart, you need to go out of your way to voice your emotions to your partners. Your partner can no longer read your body language or might be too busy or preoccupied with academics to check up on you. Hiding your emotions will only breed resentment and insecurity. Use “I” statements and focus on your emotions instead of shifting blame. For example, talk about how the situation made you feel; “It made me feel really self conscious when you didn’t answer my call last night.” It is okay to miss your partner and be vulnerable with them. When talking about missing your partner, try to avoid unintentionally guilt-tripping them into visiting. Recognize that priorities change and validate the limitations of your partner’s availability. 

Visiting Your Partner

I cannot emphasize this enough: visit each other! Traveling, especially by yourself, is hard and confusing. But trust me when I say it will make your partner feel valued and loved if you visit. While I understand there are certain limitations as travel can be expensive and time consuming, making your partner feel like a priority is important. If you are from the same hometown, maybe try and go back home for breaks instead of staying on campus or going on a vacation. Make your partner feel like they are worth it! 

If you are fortunate enough to visit your partner’s campus, try to make the trip about them. Ask them to show you their favorite study spots, go to their school’s gameday or explore their college’s city. Maybe even buy a college sweatshirt! 

Ultimately, your relationship is what you make of it. The energy and time you put in is what you will get out of it. While long distance is difficult and taxing at times, it is one of the most rewarding experiences. You have to work twice as hard to spend time together, but that makes it all the more rewarding. 

Camille is a psychology and criminology student at Saint Louis University. Originally from Memphis, Camille likes to spend her time reading a good book, taking photos, or sipping an iced lavender latte with oat milk. She is an avid lover of pasta and cats.