When Zack and I started dating, we didn't really know if we were going to make it during my freshman year of college. We had seen other people walk through college in a relationship like it was a breeze, but others had gone their separate ways less than a month in. We didn't know where we would fall in that journey. We had only known each other through rowing, and even then, our knowledge of what was to come from a relationship was the bare minimum.
Now, Zack's a year younger than me, so he was going to be a senior when I entered college. He would be applying for schools while I was taking midterms, he would be finding his dream school while I was already in mine — it was going to be stress from both ends, and we both didn't know what we were mean to be expecting during that. Sure, we knew we had to be mindful, we had to be careful, understanding, supportive, etc., we had to be aware that it was not just all about us, but rather a bunch of other things as well.
And, low and behold, less than a month into college, in September of 2015, we broke up.
It wasn't really what we wanted, we both knew that. But, the stress was overwhelming and we felt that we were drifting apart, that there was very little that we actually holding us together. So, we spent a month apart. Thinking about going back on the moment we broke up, thinking about ourselves, thinking about nothing but what we wanted to.
In October of 2015, we saw each other for the first time since the break up. It was, needless to say, weird. You know when feelings start rushing back that you didn't even know were there? Yeah, that's what happened. We talked for the first time in person, and, well, you'd be surprised by how important talking in person and talking about issues is to a relationship. Every moment spent talking can repair ten bad moments, it creates a whole new world of positivity that replaces the negativity from being apart. It's kind of wonderful. So it was in that month of October that getting back together came, with strings attached.
It was a no-bullshit collection of strings. Don't take each other for granted. Don't pretend that there aren't issues. Talk to each other. Don't create issues just to create them. It was about building upon what we had before but working with an entirely new slate. It was talking to each other when we had the chance so we could actually work out our problems if they existed. It was making time to text that person "good morning" and "good luck" during exam week. It was about taking a deep breath and remembering that every moment apart is one moment closer to being together again. It's about telling Zack about my academic problems during our Skype study dates, even if I don't want to.
We've made it over a year and a half to this date.
Yeah, we visit each other. We were lucky in that this past semester; his first semester at Lehigh University as a freshman, he was able to visit twice, once during a weekend we both didn't have races (we both are involved in rowing), and once for my sorority semi-formal. We were also lucky in that I was able to visit him for LeLaf Weekend at Lehigh University. Next semester will not be as lucky, as spring break trips will involve us going to places with our teammates, our regatta schedules are different and much, much more getting in the way. But that's where the no-bullshit strings come into play. Being apart is tough. Next semester will involve much more TLC to keep it together than we've had to use or put into the relationship than ever before. If it's something you want, you make it work. You try to make it work.
I'm not saying that we're the perfect couple. College really takes a toll on people. And I'm definitely not saying that your high school relationship turned college relationship is going to be just like mine. I'm saying that there are times when taking a step back to look at the bigger picture can benefit you, if that's the option. There is so much that you can do to make it work. It's about wanting to.
Lead Image Credit: Jade Miller