College is a stage in life that involves moving out of the house you may have lived in your entire life, leaving your parents, siblings and friends and learning to live independently. College can be difficult for everyone. It can mean homesickness and loneliness. For those in relationships, it can also mean long distance.
My boyfriend and I are high school sweethearts. Now we’re states apart. We started dating as freshmen in high school and now here we are, as freshmen again, but not seeing each other at school or every day again for another four years. I was always afraid of senior year goodbyes. I never knew if it would be our last date, our last road trip or our last time together as a couple. We both always said that we wanted to make this work, but did he mean it? Even if we were going to try to make it work, would it fail in the end? I was constantly worried and I can’t even begin to tell you how it felt when I had to drive away and leave him behind during move-in week.
We both knew we probably wouldn't be going to school in the state we lived in. My boyfriend and I began to talk about what this would mean for our relationship. It had been brought up in conversation about maybe going to school together — I was totally and completely opposed to that idea. My boyfriend and I are talented in varying skills very opposite of each other. I see him going places and I did not want to hold him and his talents back in any shape or form. I believed, and still do, that we both need to grow as individuals.
I have always believed that a couple is two people together but still separate. I think there is a belief that a couple is a form of unity, but you were your own self before your significant other came along, so why ignore that? Grow separately, and then come together and grow together. I just don’t like the idea of being so dependent on someone else. I want to be able to support and contribute to myself and the future of our relationship. We are both bettering ourselves, and ultimately our relationship, by succeeding, learning and overcoming all obstacles.
Being distanced requires a lot of trust. Sometimes we’re both so busy that we don’t get to talk. I think you're going to be insecure no matter how much you trust the other person. Your other half is now exposed to a new dating pool with people undoubtedly more attractive and smarter than you, with characteristics that may make them better. College is known as the place where people find their spouses and now you're just that old girlfriend/boyfriend from high school or back home.
It’ll be another four years for undergraduate. At that point, we will have been together for eight years, and we’re both considering graduate school. What started out as a casual movie date may turn into 10+ years of dating before we are allowed to take any large steps in the future of our relationship. In the end, if we can’t make ends meet, it is OK. This is not said lightheartedly with a wave of hand. It will still hurt and it will still be hard beyond measure. But I believe that if we can’t make it work, then maybe it wasn't meant to work. If managing a few weeks separated is too difficult for the two of us, when all we have to do right now is focus on ourselves, then what should I expect if in the future we had a house, a family, maybe a dog or two and he had to leave for a business trip?
I am in no way saying it has been easy, but it hasn’t been as bad as I imagined. We both grew up in small towns, and we went to private school in the city, and so he lived an hour away from me. Now we’re only two hours apart, which is only double the distance we were already making work at home. But we both have busy schedules, and with the two of us both moving up north, we don't quite yet know what we’ll do once the weather gets bad.
While our time is limited, being in a long distance relationship makes you utilize the most of your time together. You begin to appreciate every little thing, from their laugh, to their body warmth and smell. It all is a bit hard to put in words really. It's a lot of count downs and staring at the clock. Its uncontrollable tears during goodbyes. It's a lot of feeling alone. But then imagine the feeling of laying your eyes on the one person you have missed and loved the most dearly after all of the waiting. At that moment, it is all worth it. And so you do a long distance relationship, because even though it is hard, living without them in your life is harder.
In other (perfectly said) words...
Lead Image Credit: Septimus Low via Flickr Creative Commons