The Reality of Long-Distance Relationships

The number one advice incoming freshman hear when coming to college is do not have a boyfriend that lives far away.

I heard this so many times as it came closer to move-in day, and I had never really considered getting into a relationship before school. Distance places so much stress on both people involved, and usually ends up failing miserably. All of this considered, I think everyone was surprised when I started a relationship with my current boyfriend at the end of the summer. We met in July, started dating in the beginning of August, and went off to school in the middle of the month. The issue, though, was that he went to school in Tennessee.

My relationship is pretty different than most peoples’ because I only got to spend a few weeks where my boyfriend and I were both local, but the distance is still the issue. It is not easy being so far apart, but for me it’s completely worth it. Despite this, there are definitely downfalls that make these sorts of relationships some of the most difficult.

First off, you don’t get to see your significant other much at all.

The most predominant issue with distance is that the two people are in two separate places, and they probably don’t get the chance to see each other very often. Facetime and phone calls are great, but there’s something so different about being with someone physically, even if you aren’t doing anything. When you live so far away, you start to long for each other so much that it can hurt. There have been a few times where I have wanted nothing more than a hug from my boyfriend, but I’d have to wait a month to see them.

Also, it takes a lot of coordination.

I’m fortunate enough that my relationship doesn’t have to endure the added struggle of a time difference, but I still feel as if I have to schedule every time I get to talk to my significant other. You have to work around each other’s crazy busy schedules, and usually the only time you’re both free is pretty short. I’m lucky if I can get at least an hour where we both can pull ourselves away from friends, meetings, and classwork long enough to catch up.

Sure, we text and Snapchat all day, but it’s nice to just have a normal conversation. You have to take into account roommates, too. I’m luckily living with someone in a similar situation, but my boyfriend’s roommate isn’t so understanding. He’s always doing something loud when we’re trying to talk, and it’s hard to talk when all you hear is Family Guy in the background. It’s his room too, but it’s nice to just talk in privacy every once and a while.

More so, communication is rough.

Because your time is so limited, it’s easy to try to hide things that would take up unnecessary conversation. It took me a few months to finally get to the point where I could talk to my significant other about my daily frustrations because I thought they were insignificant. This led to a lot of unexplained stress, which I later had to open up about. It’s so easy to keep things hidden so the other person doesn’t worry about you, but that isn’t healthy for a relationship. The best part of having someone is that they are constantly there to support you through all of life’s obstacles, but that can’t happen if you aren’t both being honest about how you’re feeling. Even if it’s something as small as friend drama, I’m sure your significant other wants to hear about it.

It’s easy to get caught up in jealousy for other couples.

When you are seeing so many happy pairs on social media and around campus that get to see each other every day, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in resentment. It’s perfectly okay to want to be with your boyfriend more than just every few months, but getting jealous of others isn’t going to fix anything. I, myself, tend to get pretty frustrated with other people when I see them post about seeing their significant other all the time, but they aren’t doing any harm. They’re just as happy as you are, but they have some more advantages. Still, getting caught up in something you can’t fix isn’t going to help anyone.

You know the break calendar like the back of your hand.

Before even coming to college, I knew both my school and his holiday breaks. Because I went to a public school and he went to private, we assumed that none of our breaks would line up, but we were lucky that almost all of them do. Still, there are couples out there that aren’t so fortunate. Some breaks aren’t long enough for people to come back, and you have to wait months at a time to see your significant other. I’ve got so many countdowns on my phone for school breaks, but not because I want to miss class. I’m constantly looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas because it means the next chance to see my boyfriend.

Finally, despite all of the strife that comes with long-distance relationships, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Despite all of my frustrations with communication and availability, there’s nobody else in the world I would rather be with. I’m so lucky to have my boyfriend, even if it means having to wait months at a time to see him in person. It isn’t easy, but we make it work the best it can. Distance isn’t forever, and it’ll be such a small blip compared to a possible future. I hate being so far apart, but I know that we would both drop anything if the other one needed it. Even though we don’t get to see each other very often, it makes the few moments together that much more meaningful.

Distance is anything but easy, and it is not something I would suggest getting into without taking time to think about. It requires a lot of self-discipline and determination, and there’s always a chance that it won’t work it. If it’s something you know you want to pursue, though, I think you can make it work. You just probably want an upgrade on your data plan.