Being in a relationship in high school seemed easier because of convenience. College, however, is a much different ballgame. Long distance becomes a reality for high school sweethearts and the single ones are welcomed into a huge dating pool. I have never been in a relationship myself, however, I’ve lived vicariously through some of my friends' relationships, and have seen the lows as well as the beautiful peaks.
My roommate, Jhanelle, has been with her boyfriend for almost three years now, as they got together in high school and continued to date in college. He may be quite a drive away, but long- distance seemed to have helped their relationship rather than hinder.
What do you think is the most important aspect of maintaining a long-distance relationship?
"To me, trust is the most important part of a long distance relationship. Without trust in your partner, I think it mentally exhausts you because it causes you to overthink. Also, communication is key, as cliche that may sound, it is true! Being able to have that reassurance at the end of the day is always a comforting feeling in a long distance relationship, no matter how far you guys may be, at least you know you have each other." - Jhanelle, San Jose State University
Has college helped or hurt your relationship?
"It has definitely strengthened our relationship, although it has been our biggest struggle yet. It showed us how down we are for each other and what we are willing to go through to stay together. It taught us love is worth anything and everything!" - Jhanelle, San Jose State University
What are your tips for those who are in relationships at the same school?
"College is a time to discover yourself, as well as experience new things, and I think everyone should be able to do that with a little independence. For most, it's a first time moving away from family and being in an unfamiliar place. If you're so tied to the relationship, you won’t be able to do that if you invest all of you into someone else." - Jhanelle, San Jose State University
Noticing how Jhanelle's actions changed from freshman year to sophomore year with her boyfriend, I was happy. She seemed like she wasn’t so dependent on going home every weekend, but the love that they had for each other was still there, and noticeably stronger. I also talked to her boyfriend, Matt, to see how long-distance was for him.
Do you feel like the difference in you and Jhanelle's college experience has been a challenge with your relationship?
"I don't think our differences in college experiences has put a setback in our relationship at all. In my opinion, it has made our relationship stronger. I know it's hard to relate to her sometimes, with her going to a university and me going to community college, but we each have to be understanding of each other and see things from a different perspective. Being in a relationship in college is hard because it is a time where most people try to figure out who they are as an individual. It is possible as long as you help each other grow as individuals, which will eventually help the relationship flourish." - Matt, Diablo Valley College
What do you feel has worked in making long distance successful?
"For me and Jhanelle, our number one thing has been trust. I can't really teach anyone how to trust someone, you just have to do it. We;ve been together for a while now and I just trust her with everything and anything. Another thing that has worked is communication. During school, we don't have a lot of time to talk during the day, but we both try to find time at the end of the day to tell eachother how it went or our problems, or just random things to take our mind off of school for a bit. Its always good to know that Jhanelle always has my back and that I'd do the same for her." - Matt, Diablo Valley College
One of my sorority sisters, Gaia, has been with her boyfriend for quite some time, and I noticed some bumps in the road when we first started college together. Greek life definitely had a factor in many of their arguments, and first-year college students might also have that same challenge. However, she was open to telling me how she makes it work.
What tips do you have for those high school sweethearts?
"You should have at least one day to sit down and talk, like a Skype date, Facetime call or just a phone call. Also, you should never argue over text! It can be taken in the wrong tone and it’s just not good for you mentally and emotionally. I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into a long distance relationship especially if you are in different countries or won’t see each other for years, unless you both are really willing to commit." - Gaia, San Jose State University
Has college brought conflict into your relationship?
"College has done some damage but made us stronger as a couple. College is known for drinking and partying, which I never really did in high school. So being in a different environment, I tried the party scene and I wasn’t a fan of it, and neither was my boyfriend. He didn’t like it and thought I was going to change as a person. But after arguing and working things out together, we ended up being stronger. Once we get into an issue and find the solution to ending it, we never continue to argue it." - Gaia, San Jose State University
Going into college, you want to try new activities, join clubs and organizations and focus on your aspirations and goals. However, that could quickly diminish the focus of your relationship and cause either you or your partner to feel forgotten or unimportant. It always important to remember what my friends said above, as well as to remember that balancing is all a part of adjusting to college. Some people might just have to balance school and work, while others have to add their significant other to the rotation. It doesn’t mean it has to be harder, but know that perfection 24/7 isn’t always what it ends up to be, and don’t jump into panic mode on your first fight away from home.
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