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5 Tips to Staying in Tune in a Long-Distance Relationship

In college in general, the concepts of predictability and constancy are often not easy to find– in college in romance, the concepts of predictability and constancy (even in a geographic sense) are even less likely to be found, or at least to be maintained throughout the four years of attending. Thus, when entering into a relationship, whether you’re the same year, different years, different schools, etc., there are likely to be geographic barriers to your ties to your S.O. at some point in your four years at a university.

Having been in this position myself, separated by a trip abroad while staying in a relationship, it is not easy at all. Going from seeing someone every day in person and having the presence of physical contact are not things to take for granted – but long distance, for all of its pains and its nights that really suck, can be actually kind of fun and hopefully, case by case, worth the effort and thoughtfulness it takes to make time for someone who isn’t just a block away on campus anymore. That being said, there are also so, so many things that you can do to assuage the temporary heartache of reliance on Skype and Facebook to stay in touch. Here are a few tips I would give to anyone in a similar situation:

1. Try to see their face four-five times a week

This sounds like a daunting challenge at first but is a crucial step in maintaining a semblance of more intimate ties than texting or Facebook messenger can allow. Hearing their voice and being able to see their facial expressions and body language (no matter how pixelated – subtweet @ international Skype apps) cannot be overestimated.

2. Do things together still

Start a TV show together or read a book together – obviously, you won’t be doing the specific watching or reading at exactly the same time, but you get the idea. Find an activity that you can do simultaneously and talk about whenever your schedules line up to show that you still want to be involved and connected through mutual interests, made even more meaningful knowing the extra time they put in to stay up to date with you.

3. Have your independence, give them theirs, and don’t overtly sacrifice

While of course you might want to put that precious and, unfortunately, sometimes rare face-to-face time with your partner before pretty much anything else, that isn’t good for either of you. This singularity of concentration will take away from both your own quality of life and put unnecessary and unfair pressure on your relationship. So, if your friends abroad are considering going to a cool British concert on a night when you had promised to Skype before, don’t guilt yourself into missing out on an awesome experience – your partner, if they love you, will understand that you making yourself happy is just as important, and will reschedule for the next time you’re both available.

4. Don’t be afraid to make a (loose) schedule of communication

Work around the time difference (if you have one – or, if you don’t, just start to learn their day-to-day schedule while in the same time zone) – start to learn when your partner will be up and message them around then or be cognizant of what time your S.O. will be going to bed and give them a good night call before they pass out. Being aware of what times loosely work best for both of you, while malleable, can help you make the best of what time you have available to communicate.

5. Don’t be afraid to overshare

In fact, oversharing is kind of the most crucial way, in my opinion, to make the divide seem less like a seven-hour time difference and more like seven minutes. Telling them about details of your day-to-day life and listening to theirs helps to keep you both in the loop in small ways that make a Skype session more meaningful and your reuniting (eep!! best part!!!) and reintegration into each other’s lives in direct geographic proximity much easier.

6. (I realized that I have to put this in – sorry I lied about a five-suggestion list) Remember it’s going to be worth it when you see them again

That moment of reuniting after months and months (potentially) of being apart, connected only by shitty Wi-fi, will be super awesome (and kind of weird – hearing their voice in human form might shock you a little after hearing it so long through a mediated, second-hand medium) and will make you reflect that maybe, just maybe, those early morning calls before work were totally worth it.


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