Five Tips For Making Your Relationship Last After High School

This week my boyfriend and I will be coming up on our third anniversary. What started off as awkward dates and late night phone calls during our junior year of high school has since turned into a loving and robust relationship. But know that I will be the first to tell you that maintaining a high school relationship into college is no easy feat.

For any high school seniors worried about what will become of their relationship after high school, let me first tell you this: it is possible to stay together, but as I said, it is not easy. Your relationship will change fundamentally as you go from seeing each other nearly every day in high school to maybe a few times a month (if you’re lucky enough to go to colleges relatively close to each other). And even if you find that you’re able to see each other in person frequently, consider this first tip: 

  1. 1. Expect both of you to change in college.

    College is meant to be a life-changing experience and chances are you won’t leave as the same person you were coming in. You will transform as people with newfound expectations of the both of you, including: academically, socially and more. I know personally that college has changed mine and my boyfriend’s political views. If anything, we are more politically at odds now than we were entering college, but we see this as a point of pride in our relationship, as we are able to engage in healthy debates while maintaining respect for each other. Which brings me to my next tip...

  2. 2. Learn how to communicate in healthy and productive ways.

    Woman And Man Sitting On Brown Wooden Bench

    It’s healthy to have disagreements in a relationship as long as you are having those disagreements in a way that respects both parties’ perspectives and feelings. Come up with some ground rules for how to talk during a disagreement. For example: only one person may speak at a time; take a break if you or your partner is getting too emotional, or make sure to use “I” statements rather than outwardly blaming your partner, which may cause them to shut down or become defensive. An example of this would be “I feel sad when you don’t call me back” instead of “You never call me back.” It may sound silly or pointless, but trust me, if you both can learn to respect the rules you come up with, it will help make your relationship stronger. Abiding by the rules you come up with together will demonstrate a mutual respect for each other, thus making it easier to communicate openly and honestly. 

  3. 3. Learn each other's schedules.

    Scrabble tiles spell out "To Do" on a blue background above a yellow sticky note

    Now let’s say that you really do feel hurt when your significant other doesn’t return your calls. There may be a chance that you are calling on a particularly busy day of the week for them, or they have an unpredictable schedule, or maybe they just keep letting their phone die. This can be frustrating when your only contact with each other is via technology, but that’s why it is important to learn their new habits since coming to college. If your significant other likes to hang out with their friends or go to club meetings during the week, set aside one day for a nice Skype call. You may have your own obligations so be flexible with each other and acknowledge and appreciate the small sacrifices you make for one another. But phone calls and texts aren’t everything...

  4. 4. Savor the time you spend together in person.

    couple seen holding hands through the window at a table with two glasses of wine on the table

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. In a long-distance relationship, those moments you have together in person are incredibly valuable. Make the most out of them by balancing your time between fun excursions and relaxed down time. Depending on where you’re coming from, travel can be expensive, so no need to go all out for every visit. After not seeing each other for so long, your company will mean the world to each other. Be sure to take lots of pictures for the memories. 

  5. 5. If it's not working out, don't force it. 

    woman walking on a pathway with fall leaves

    As I said in my first point, expect that you both will change. This should be the only expectation you have about the future of your relationship. It may be unrealistic to enter college assuming that you and your partner will be together all throughout college and beyond. Harboring this idea may make you prone to overlooking red flags that things between you two aren’t working out. Even worse, you may start tolerating unacceptable behavior for the sake of staying together. Remember to set clear boundaries and communicate any issues between you both. 

     

    On the other hand, if you truly want to make it work between you two, don’t anticipate that your relationship will end either. It is perfectly normal that you are having doubts about the longevity of your relationship at this stage of your life, but when you come to expect it to end in the near future is where the issue lies. This may cause you to become apathetic in the relationship and you may unintentionally hurt your partner when you don’t show the same level of enthusiasm about being together. If you are both apathetic about continuing the relationship, that is a sign that you may have outgrown each other and are ready to go on your separate paths. 

Find a happy medium by letting the chips fall where they may. Take it as it comes! Just make sure that you both are in a happy, healthy relationship and are willing to put the work in to maintain it.