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Jul 17 2016
by Jade Miller

How To Handle Long Distance Relationships

By Jade Miller - Jul 17 2016
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Often, when graduating, lots of couples undergo the dreaded "talk." Yes, the talk about whether or not you should stay together when you go to college. Unfortunately, a lot of couples will end their relationship, but for the couples that are trying to stay together (claps to you!), here are a few tips to making it work, whether you're 15 miles apart, or thousands. 

1. Text Often, but Not Too Often

This is a tip I learned from a close friend of mine who had been with her boyfriend for three years. Texting is such a huge part of our culture, that it seems natural to want to text your significant other all the time. But, this can take a toll on the relationship. It's alright to text them, but don't feel like every waking moment has to be spent with your phone in your hand. You're going to have class and other activities to attend; being glued to your device is only going to make you not enjoy college unless your texting them. 

2. Don't Be Afraid to Go Out

Yes, it's common college culture to go out to parties, and no one is going to blame you if you do. But, you shouldn't feel guilty for going out because your significant other is either uncomfortable or worried about you doing so. A good relationship is built on trust, not on guilting each other into staying in. Sure, staying in will provide you with more time to do homework and a solid sleep, but every now and then it's good to get out of the dorm. 

3. Respect Their Space

College is a new experience for you, and it's a new experience for your other as well. Let it be a new experience. Similar to the last two, don't force yourself into every part of their lives. This goes for finals season, especially. Understand that they have classes and finals just like you, so it's important to respect their space when the time comes. A good way to battle finals in a long distance relationship is to do a solid hour of studying, the take a study break by calling them for 15 minutes. It'll feel like such a great reward this way. 

4. Learn Each Other's Schedules

Aprilia Dwi Lestari via Flickr Creative Commons

I've learned that the best way to work around time to call or FaceTime is to know each other's schedules. This way, you're not calling spontaneously to talk in the middle of a class. Also, if you get frustrated, understand that they might be in class and can't always answer the phone right away. It's important to know this piece of information because it's so vital to how your significant other lives as well. Knowing the schedule can lead to a more habitual phone call, rather than guessing when they have class. 

5. Set Aside Time to Talk 

It's important that even though you're in college, you're still in your relationship as well. Don't feel bad for missing out on something if you schedule a time to talk. A good idea may be to pick two or three times a week, for an hour or two each that you both can sit down in front of your phone or computer to talk. This gives you time to plan around these events, which helps you with time management as well. 

6. COMMUNICATE

This is oh-so important. Often, there's a lack of communication between two people because you're only getting to text or talk every so often. Lots of times, things you say can be taken the wrong way, so you have to make sure that you have clear communication with them, not just assume they know what you mean. This is especially important in a long distance relationship because getting mad or upset without them around can lead to arguments that tend to be longer than they need to be. 

7. Introduce Them to Your Friend Group

Once you have one, don't be afraid to talk about your significant other to your friends! Let them be a part of your life at college, not just a part of your life normally. It's hard to assume in college if you are dating someone, so make it known. It'll be a statement not only to your friends, but to yourself that you're in this for the long haul and you won't risk the relationship that you have, because it is and has been defined in your college life as well. 

8. Write Letters!

ueha nochi via Flickr Creative Commons

This seems cliche, and maybe it is, but it's also a super cute way to keep in touch. We're so used to the instant messaging in today's world, but why not take the time out to write them a letter? It's much more heartfelt, and if you've been in a relationship for a long time, it gives you an opportunity to write about things that have been happening all week as opposed to once it happens. It's a different connection, and waiting for that letter in the mail is a great feeling, one that definitely makes you connected as a couple. 

9. Exchange Clothing, or Something Similar

This is something I've seen a lot of couples do, and it helps keep you committed. By having an item of clothing that they've worn, or something that they've given you, you've got something to remind you of them at all times. Guys, feel free to give your significant other your shirt for a few days, then have them give it back. You'd be surprised how much it smells like them, and how much of a difference it makes to your daily life. Something that could be worth trying is sending t-shirts to each other back and forth, which not only can combine with #8, but can be a clothing exchange between you two to have something that belongs to them, close to you, or the opposite. Other options are creating bracelets for them, sharing books, tv shows or other items similar. 

And finally:

10. Be Positive

This is one I think that could apply to not only couples, but college life in general. The important thing to remember is that you have to be positive to have a healthy, and happy relationship with your significant other. No matter how far away you are, you have to be happy that you're in this relationship, and you have to be positive that you'll make it through a semester without them by your side every step of the way. 

Too often, relationships end in college, but they don't always have to end. You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot, but don't have to give up as much as you think you do. You're going to think of them often, and you're going to miss them a lot, but that's totally normal. Take a deep breath. You will make this work, trust me. I know. 

Lead Image Credit: Lynly Pioc via Flickr Creative Commons


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Jade Miller - University of Rochester

Jade Miller is a sophomore at the University of Rochester double majoring in Business and English Literature. She is a Junior Editor for the Fresh U national site. She is a member of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta and also a coxswain for UR Rowing. She loves dogs, reading, and having a single this year in her res hall. Follow her on Twitter @jade_miller_

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