Many times when going off to college, students not only go away to a place far away from their friends and family, but far away from their significant other too. Some choose to stick it out and try long distance, which can be difficult. Here are a few steps to make that long distance relationship less difficult.
1. Set up a loose communication schedule before you leave.
Whether you and your significant other are going off to separate colleges or you're leaving your significant other back at home, it is important to set up loose rules before you leave. Share your weekly schedules with each other so you know when you can contact them. Plan times to talk on the phone or video chat in advance. This way neither of you will be wasting your time sitting by the phone waiting for the other person to call when you have better things to do. Also, remember it is a LOOSE schedule. You don't know what college is like until you get there so make adjustments as the year goes on.
2. Acknowledge that there will be an adjustment period.
The first month of your freshman year will be hectic. There will be so many social activities and so much school work you will feel like you have no time to talk to your significant other. That is OK. Do not freak out and think you won't have time to talk to them all year. After everyone falls into a routine on campus, you get more free time. The important thing is you and your significant other must be patient with each other during this adjustment period.
3. Talk on the phone and/or video chat frequently.
A relationship cannot survive with texting alone. Hearing your significant other’s voice or, even better, seeing their face is so much different than words on a screen. Especially when certain people are less wordy than others when texting. It’s also a good way to avoid fights because it is hard to convey tone over text message so the littlest joke could come across the wrong way. Make sure you talk on the phone or video chat about once a week or more if you can. It doesn't have to be for hours, either. It can be a ten-minute call in between class just to say, "I love you and hope you're having a good day."
4. Visit if you can.
Visiting is different for everyone depending on how far away you are from each other. If you're across the country or across the world, visiting will probably have to wait until break. If one of you has a car though, try and plan a visit occasionally if you can, especially if you can get there and back within a day. If both of you are capable of driving to each other, take turns on who visits who. How frequently you visit is up to you and your transportation abilities.
5. Write letters and send care packages.
The technology age has made writing letters almost obsolete, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. There's something special about a letter in your significant other's handwriting. It's something to keep and read over months later when you're missing them. Care packages are nice gestures to send to each other too. Fill a box with your significant other's favorite candy and snacks, or even a stuffed animal. It's all about the little things to show you care.
6. Enjoy college!
The most important tip to remember is college is supposed to be some of the most fun years of your life. Go out and have a good time. Meet new people. Do not take a trip every single weekend to go see your significant other. Do not sit around your dorm room on a Friday night waiting for your significant other to call or text you. They should not take away from your college experience. It’s all about balance. Just because you're missing them doesn't mean you should miss out.
Disclaimer: Long distance relationships aren’t for everyone. They’re hard. It’s totally OK if you want to end it to focus on college, and it’s totally OK if you want to stick with it because you love them. Make the decision that makes you happy.
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