1. Before you enter an LDR, make sure both partners are on the same page.
Before one or both of you leave for college, no matter what the distance is between you and your SO is, make sure you’re on the same page about the goals of the relationship. Do this because if a relationship doesn’t have a solid foundation, it will begin to crack when distance is added. Many successful high school relationships turn sour after months of distance and lack of communication. Do this so that one person in the relationship isn’t entering the long-distance relationship with one foot out the door, ready to meet someone new at college. After all, a mutually agreed upon breakup before leaving for college will allow you to deal with the breakup at home, with people you’re familiar with, rather than in an unfamiliar place in college. Discussing the future of your relationship before moving away from each other lessens the potential for heartbreak for both people.
Once you and your partner have decided that a long-distance relationship is the right choice for your relationship, conversations need to be had about how often you two would like to talk throughout the week while apart. Communicating can be phone calls, traveling to see each other over breaks, Skype dates, or just texting throughout the day. For some couples, weekly Skype dates work the best, while for other couples a 15-minute daily call is the best option. It’s inevitable that you and your partner will become busy with school work, friends, and other obligations during the weeks that you’re apart and maybe miss scheduled Skype dates, so it’s important to discuss when’s the best time for the both of you to talk.
3. Be understanding
Above all, being understanding is the most essential part of making long-distance work. If your SO is barely responding to texts one day, assume they’re busy rather than choosing not to talk to you. You and your partner are in a committed relationship despite this distance barrier, so always give them the benefit of the doubt even when you’re not communicating as regularly as you’d hope. Some weeks you’re going to have a busy, spending-all-day-studying week, and other times they’re going to be just as swamped. If you remain understanding throughout this, rather than getting angry or upset, it will make your time away from each other a whole lot easier.
4. Crushes will happen; be open with each other when they do
Being separate from each other and meeting hundreds of new, interesting people simultaneously increases the likelihood of one or both of you developing a crush on someone. All long-term relationships experience this at some point, and distance will not make dealing with it easier. It’s essential that you’re open with your partner if you’re developing a crush on someone, or if your partner divulges to you that they’re developing a crush on someone else. Conversations need to be had on if the crush is simply an infatuation or could lead to something more serious. Above all, it is essential to not act rashly on your crush.
5. Take it one semester at a time. If it’s not working, revisit when you’re able to talk in person.
Committing to being together for four years apart is a giant, daunting commitment. At the end of the day, it’s mildly unrealistic. Both you and your partner will change throughout the course of your college years, and to account for this realistic goals need to be set for your relationship. Try promising your partner that you’ll be together for the year or the semester for sure. Then during the breaks when you see each other, reevaluate your relationship and your goals. This will ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed with a multiple year commitment, and that you and your significant other remain on the same page.
During freshman year, a lot of newly-turned long-distance couples will break up for one reason or another. The common denominator, however, is usually lack of communication. If your relationship is meant to work when you’re miles apart from each other, it will. Just keep in mind that it won’t be easy. If your long-distance relationship is causing you emotional turmoil, it may be time to discuss your relationship with your SO.