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Confessions Of A DI Athlete Girlfriend

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

If there is anything I have learned about dating long distance in college, it is how dating a DI athlete is an entirely different form of long distance. From my own experience it required some modification; meaning I had to learn how to become more independent, and to maintain an understanding about our lessened time for each other. Long distance is enough of an adjustment in itself but acclimating to a DI schedule is another. Although I was not the athlete living through this busy lifestyle, I had to learn how to work with his schedule amongst mine. I realized how much effort and patience it takes to accommodate your schedule to match another person. Although I still prioritize my own schedule, he was the one with inexcusable sports commitments. This meant his schedule was a lot easier to blend into mine than the other way around. With learning how to combat his business, it also required the understanding of it being out of his control. Heading into college I surely was expecting a challenge, but facing it in reality was an experience of its own. 

Entering college with a relationship out of High School has very mixed reviews. Some consider it as holding you back and others see the effort to be worth it. And if there is anything I learned, without that effort the relationship will not hold a solid foundation. It is essential to be committed to facing the ups and downs that come with a long distance relationship. It has to be a challenge one is willing to face. Maintaining trust within each other is another key component to uphold. To succeed in a long distance relationship, you must be willing to apply a lot of extra effort. In my perspective, my boyfriend starting college as a DI athlete offered us even more of a challenge: managing an intense schedule. It was very difficult at times to get used to this new lifestyle, but I quickly learned how it required a lot of understanding on my end. 

A huge part of dating a DI athlete is accepting the sacrifices that come along with it. It is easy for people to expect a relationship to be equal majority of the time, except in this scenario, that is not the case. I had to adjust to him not being able to devote as much time to our relationship. I also had to consider his schedule in terms of visiting, which meant it was mostly me driving to his school. With time, I acquired patience and understanding about our circumstances. In all honesty, it did not come easy at first. There was a lot of trial and error but we were willing to work out the kinks together. It is a process that requires time and tolerance. Furthermore I realized how much my support could really help him, being the one managing all this stress. It is a massive commitment to be a full time student in addition to playing a DI sport. Knowing I can offer him such support and reliability has made it an easy effort for me to give. 

Now how did I learn to manage this pressure? It took a lot of practice. I admit, it is difficult to accommodate someone else for the majority of the time. But what I began to understand was how much it was out of his control. He is not the one who dictates his schedule, he is just expected to manage it. So what I did with this is understand the commitment he has made to this sport and do my best to be alongside him with support. I also remind myself how this is him living out his lifelong dream, and I am fortunate enough to experience a piece of the journey with him. A big help through my given support is how he acknowledges all the effort made on my end. My efforts being recognized is very validating and helps me maintain a positive attitude through it. The recognition goes a long way, especially when it sometimes is all that can be offered at the time.

An important thing to remember through this is to not lose a sense of myself. Although when it comes to our relationship and I have to accommodate my schedule with his, I do not entirely surround my life around it. Dating someone who is super busy all the time leaves you realizing how much available time you have. So with this I learned to fill my time as much as possible; with activities I enjoy or exploring new clubs to join, all so that I am not concerned about how constantly busy he is compared to me. Then whenever our timeline aligns we find time to catch up and talk on the phone. But through all the sacrifices I will make, I will always still take care of myself.

After enduring this lifestyle the past two years I have learned a lot along the way. I realized how little I was warned about the demand of dating a collegiate level athlete because people tend to only speak of an ordinary long distance relationship. As someone who has friends also maintaining a long distance relationship through college, I have realized how different my experience truly is. It was a struggle not having answers on how to handle this specific challenge, but it was adjusting with time and plenty of effort that got us through it. At the end of the day, it is worth the challenge to see the person you love pursue a dream of theirs.

Sarakate Levanti

West Chester '23

Sarakate is a Sophomore Psychology Major at West Chester University. This is her first semester on the writing team for Her Campus. She has a passion for writing about lifestyle content, her opinions, or current trends :)