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Home For The Holidays: Keeping Relationships Alive During The First Stretch Of Long Distance

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In college, fall quarter equates to a flock of fresh faces at one’s disposal for romancing into a relationship by cuffing season. But, this set-up also means barreling headfirst towards a month-long winter break. All of these on-campus couples will soon be forced apart for an extended period of time (for the first time) in their newly established relationships. Thus, the inevitable question begins creeping its way into every waking thought and stress-induced nightmare…Will the relationships last long distance?

Speaking from experience, the first stretch of long distance is definitely the most difficult, but there are plenty of ways to combat relationship anxiety without breaking the bank for cross-country flights or losing countless hours of sleep over repeated 4AM FaceTimes.

Keep Dating (No, seriously)
Work From Home Love GIF by GirlNightStand - Find & Share on GIPHY
Work From Home Love GIF By GirlNightStand via Giphy

Even though Covid-19’s upcoming third birthday is more of a devastating slap-in-the-face than a happy thought, those months of Zoom calls and isolated quarantining gave us numerous date-night options to boost morale in long-distance relationships. 

Schedule weekly date-nights to maintain the romance in your life, perhaps starting with Teleparty movie marathons, Club Penguin meet-ups at the jazzy Pizza Parlor or couples’ cooking extravaganzas (pick out a recipe that both of you will make over FaceTime/Zoom, then converse as you cook and eat the meal).

communicate ~effectively~
Get Back In Here Love Me GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Get Back In Here Love Me GIF via Giphy

COMMUNICATION IS KEY! (Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you there, but I really needed to get my point across.)

As a recent (informal) survey of students, family and friends revealed, relationships frequently falter from a lack of communication between partners. So, long-distance couples should handle such matters all the more seriously on account of being doubly impeded by physical separation.

Keep in mind your partner’s love languages, vocalize your insecurities/needs for reassurance and most importantly—be honest about your schedule. The holiday season is truly the busiest time of year, so just tell your S.O. when you’ll be away from the phone for a while. Don’t leave them hanging if you expect the same courtesy in return!

Random acts of thoughtfulness
Season 9 Reaction GIF by The Office - Find & Share on GIPHY
Season 9 Reaction GIF By The Office via Giphy

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to unleash a sugar rush of sweetness SO powerful that your S.O. is sent to the dentist with several cavities.

Everyone love’s feeling loved, but more than that, everyone loves being reminded that they are loved. Remind your partner by sending goodnight/good-morning texts, handwritten love letters/postcards or bouquets of their favorite flowers (I swear DoorDash has a never ending promo for flower delivery, so go check that out). Maybe even post a favorite picture of you two together with a sweet caption for them to see. 

All in all, loving someone costs absolutely nothing, so don’t be afraid to show your love for the one person that makes you feel like no other—they at least deserve that much!

don’t hyper-focus on the relationship
Confused Thinking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Confused Thinking GIF via Giphy

Hi. It’s me! I’m the problem, it’s me! In case you wanted to send a gift, I recently appointed myself to the position of #1 Overthinker-in-Relationships for the 21st year in a row! Yay!

Anyways, another subtle culprit gunning to sabotage your relationship is the inevitable act of overthinking, but trust me, you don’t need to stress. Trust in your partner, trust in the love/bond you share and trust that if you’re meant to be—you’ll be! All of this circles back to communication (funny how that works, huh?), remember that the distance is temporary and then turn your focus towards celebrating the holidays with family. 

If there’s no reason to overthink, DON’T DO IT. You’ll only hinder your own happiness and peace of mind in the end.

Plan for the future
Charlize Theron Tog GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY
Charlize Theron Tog GIF By NETFLIX via Giphy

Winter break may feel longer than the wait between seasons of Stranger Things when you’re separated from a new S.O., but you can combat the clock’s crawling pace by setting plans for future dates at the beginning of winter quarter. You’ll forget all about the distance when you’re dreaming up date-nights at the Getty, Santa Monica Pier and UCLA sporting events (hey, it’s always fun to rep our school!). 

In my opinion, excitement for the future trumps stress about the present and past. Simply keep in mind that you do in fact have a future to look forward to with your partner.

Tackling long-distance relationships reminds me of a certain Baby Yoda meme that states, “When someone tells me it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy, but for me it’s always stressy, depressy, lemon zesty.” Don’t let something as frivolous as distance get in the way of enjoying the loving relationship you’ve built with your partner in the past few months (or years, this advice can apply to couples of all circumstances). 

Enjoy your hard-earned break away from schoolwork and take advantage of the cheery holiday season at hand—your partner will be waiting with open arms when you finally return. Wishing you lots of love this holiday season!

Grace LaPlante is currently a senior English major at UCLA—she’s a literature lover, music enthusiast and sports fanatic with dreams of traveling the world someday!