A lot of college students are in long distance relationships, whether it’s with someone from home or someone you met on campus. In fact, 32.5 percent of college relationships are long distance. But if you are casually dating someone and are about to leave for the summer, should you join these other collegiettes and enter a long distance relationship?
It can be difficult to decide, especially if you don’t know your partner well enough or aren’t quite ready to enter a serious relationship. While 14 million couples are in long distance relationships, Statistic Brain also says 40 percent of these relationships end in a breakup after 4.5 months, which is the average amount of time for couples to decide if long distance will work or not. So, it is worth it to begin a serious relationship with your SO or cut it off? Before you make any decisions, it’s best to consider a few options.
Define the relationship
When casually dating someone, it can be tough to figure out exactly what your relationship status is. Have a talk with your SO and try to figure out if you have a true relationship or it’s just a fling.
“If there’s no title, there’s really no point. It would just hold you back,” says Megan, a 2014 graduate from Purdue University.
Ebony, a graduate of the University of Florida in 2015, had a summer fling become a failed long distance attempt and then wrote about it.
“We were going to make it work, but once he started his new life, communicating with me and being accountable to grow our relationship was ’too much effort’ if I wasn’t there physically,” she says. “If you don’t have a solid foundation or have established a monogamous status, you probably won’t succeed in building that when you’re far apart.”
While it may seem scary to establish a title in your relationship, it can be helpful to determine if you should start a long distance relationship or not. Adam LoDolce is the founder of Sexy Confidence, where he helps the 21st-century woman create a love life she absolutely loves, and has written about how to make a long distance relationship work. He says you should definitely talk to your partner before deciding anything.
“Set expectations with your partner about what is important to you, especially what’s lacking and what’s not lacking,” LoDolce says.
Figure out how your SO makes you feel
Before making a decision, try to figure out how your partner makes you feel when you are together. Katie, a senior at SUNY Oswego, suggests asking yourself if you’re going to miss your SO or not.
“Do you get excited when you talk to them every day, or are you indifferent and couldn’t really care if there was contact?” she says. “If you can’t imagine not talking to them, then it’s definitely worth maintaining over the summer. If you’re kind of ‘eh, I don’t care,’ it’s probably best to let it go.”
Besides thinking about your feelings towards your SO, LoDolce says to think of your future as well. If you’re not at a serious point in your life, then “it may not make sense to keep dating.”
“You want to enjoy that time in your life where you can meet a lot of people,” he says. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something serious that could develop into a long-term commitment and potential marriage, LoDolce believes it is possible to make a long distance relationship work.
“But if you don’t see that coming, then don’t waste your time,” he says.
Think about how you want your relationship to be
If you decide you may want to pursue a long distance relationship with your SO, think about the ways you two will have to communicate. LoDolce recommends focusing on the quality of communication, and not the quantity.
“A lot of people think just because they’re texting 20 times a day constitutes great communication in a long distance relationship, but I disagree,” he says. “I’d rather only text once or twice a day and have them be really thoughtful and endearing texts, and also have a great conversation at the end of the night rather than three throughout the day.” Ebony agrees, saying that FaceTime calls and loving messages may seem sweet, but you still aren’t physically with the person and it makes a difference.
You should also think about the length of time you have been dating. According to Ebony, long distance is tough if you don’t know the other person well enough, and you should spend more time together to learn about their personality. Yet, if you do spend a lot of time together and feel the relationship developing into something more, Katie says pursuing a long distance relationship is “definitely worth a shot.”
There are multiple factors that go into working out a long distance relationship. Whether it’s about communication, visiting each other or simply determining if you want a casual or serious relationship, it can take time to come to a resolution. The best thing to do would be to talk to your SO and make sure it is a mutual agreement between the two of you.
But if you’re still not sure about long distance, you don’t have to decide right now! You can always try it out for a few weeks, or spend some time apart from your SO and think about if you really miss them or don’t care as much. Long distance relationships can be difficult, so it is important to think about yourself and your feelings about the situation.