Lovesick over long distance relationships

Allison McInnis | Assistant Opinion Editor | @allisonmcinnis_

Whether your current significant other is just a summer fling or a high school relationship still going strong, there is most likely one common aspect: the distance between you and your significant other has suddenly grown in the last week or so. So now you ask yourself, how does this work? Should we try it out? Is it worth the pain? Are we doomed?

First, let’s start out with some statistics. Approximately 4.48 million college students attempt to have a long distance relationship (LDR). The average length of time before an LDR breaks down is 4.5 months, and approximately 10 percent of marriages started out as a long distance relationship.

Therefore, it is not only possible, it is also an achievement that is feasible and obtainable. The trick? Hard work, dedication, and patience.

University of San Diego sophomore Mady Miller stated that LDRs can be hard to maintain, and nobody has a guidebook to a successful one.

“My freshman year long distance relationship was difficult because I didn’t know how to manage my time well and my relationship made my grades suffer,” Miller said. “It’s hard because college is a big change and, no matter how hard you try to prepare, it always catches you off guard. No one knows the best way to handle it, so you have to figure it out as you go along.”

No relationship comes without effort, and one with long separations requires just the same amount of effort, if not more. Putting in just a little time and effort every day can change the outcome of the relationship completely. Most importantly, it has to come from both sides or it won’t work.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Call or text often, even if it’s just to say hi. Plan to talk on the phone, but, if plans change, be flexible. Don’t be offended if your partner is busy. If you’re doing it right, college is busy.
  2. FaceTime. At least once a week if time permits. It’s nice to see his/her face, and they’ll enjoy seeing yours too.
  3. Skype date. Call your sweetie on Skype and watch the same movie together on Netflix. Pause it to talk if you want to, or just keep watching! Try a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning.
  4. Arrange dates for the future, even if it’s weeks or months in advance. This can boost morale for both of you and give you both something to look forward to.
  5. Snail mail. It may seem dorky, but it’s nice to receive something handwritten and equally nice to reread kind words when you’re feeling lonely.
  6. Don’t avoid confrontation. It may be hard, but avoiding something does not make it go away; it just gets worse. Deal with it. It needs to come out, even if you are far away from each other. On the other hand, don’t go too far with your words. You want to get your point across without starting a world war. Try to be kind to each other and don’t say anything that you won’t be able to take back.

One key of a successful long distance relationship is to make your own life where you are. Join groups, make friends, and hang out with them often. Don’t seclude yourself, and try to always be available for one another. That can make you become dependent and irritable and eventually resentful. Independence is healthy, and your adventures will give you something to talk about on those phone conversations you’ll be having.

While it can be done, there are also some cons to consider.

  1. Your relationship is more like a promise of a relationship for the future. Let’s face it: the person is not there. Texting and phone calls can feel empty after a while.
  2. It takes a lot of your time and can become tiring.  
  3. An LDR demands a decent amount of time and patience. Make sure you are honest with yourself and make sure you are getting the full college experience. Try not to get your head stuck in a “virtual world” 24/7; remember to make friends and enjoy your new life at USD.
  4. It can be lonely.

A long distance relationship is not for the faint of heart.  However, if you think you have found someone special, and you are sure the feeling goes both ways, it’s worth giving it a try to make it work. With some effort, you can keep up your grades, remain involved at USD, and maintain the great relationship you’ve found. And, who knows, you may become closer after all is said and done.