A Guide to Long Distance Relationships

Long distance relationships tend to have a stigma in which they inevitably “never work.” The term “long distance” in itself is off-putting to those just beginning a new, budding relationship with their significant other. You want to spend time with each other, get to know things about them that you never have before, and to grow with them. But just because you can’t see each other every day, doesn't mean you can’t still grow together, and personally.


After a full year of experiencing long distance with my boyfriend, I’ve learned quite a few life lessons and things about myself I hadn’t discovered before going through weeks, even months, without seeing him. As two full-time students 200 miles from each other, things can get pretty tough sometimes. But there’s definitely ways to successfully maintain a relationship with long distance.


For starters, communication is key. And I don’t mean constantly talking to each other day and night with no space, but being able to talk to your partner when you want to and being able to tell them when you’re busy and that you will call them later. Of course, talking to each other day and night is perfectly okay if you both are comfortable with it and enjoying it. But a defining factor of a successful long distance relationship begins with open, honest communication. And it makes all the difference when you finally get to see them in person and plan to do fun things together when you make visits.


Balancing your personal life with theirs can be difficult to achieve at first; I know it was for me. Often I found myself prioritizing visiting my person rather than pouring my focus into my studies when I really needed to. And when it gets overwhelming - and it definitely will at times - all you have to do is take a step back and remember the good things about your partner - what drives you to pursue a long distance relationship in the first place. Surround yourself with friends at school who love and care about your well being. It’s important to have a good support system.


Learning to be entirely comfortable with yourself without the uplifting presence of your person is a growing process, especially after you have grown so close to one another and want to spend all the time together possible. Never lose your sense of independence to another person’s heart, no matter how much you may love them.


One thing you must be wary of when delving into a long distance relationship is if your relationship begins stressing you out more than exciting and motivating you. Mental health is extremely important and should be as much of a priority as maintaining academic success. All the time spent apart can become a major stress factor. Take time to reflect on your personal feelings about the relationship and talk to your person about things that you feel should change or whether you need time to focus on yourself. It’s perfectly okay to take breaks throughout your relationship for a variety of reasons. And, in the end, if you feel that you must end the relationship, you should if you really feel that it’s right. Don’t force things too hard on yourself and your person.


It may seem like a never ending journey. If you’re far along in a long distance relationship, start to set an end goal with your partner to finally be together after either school or whatever factor is keeping you apart, and run with that idea. It can become a motivating factor in getting your work done and becoming successful on your own, so that you both can be successful together. Don’t lose hope! And always keep love in your heart. It keeps you going when you need it most.