How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship in College

It’s 100% possible to make an LDR work in college; here’s how.

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How to maintain a long distance relationship in college

Let’s face it. Contrary to what happens on most TV shows (I’m talking to you, Gossip Girl), odds are that you probably didn’t start the semester attending the same college as your boyfriend or girlfriend.

LDRs are pretty common on college campuses, especially in September, when many girls are still dating their summer flings. However, as I’ve learned from countless friends, October and November seem to be the time when most LDRs start to fizzle out.

But don’t worry. Even though long-distance relationships in college can be difficult, I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be okay.

You see, readers, I happen to be in one myself – a very long-distance relationship that spans the Atlantic Ocean. So I feel your pain.

Here are a couple helpful tips that I’ve learned for keeping that long-distance flame burning through fall and beyond.

1. You Both Have to Want to Make it Work.

The number one most important factor in the success of a long-distance relationship is your mutual desire to make it work, no matter what.

Yes, you might like the idea of staying together despite the distance initially, but after a few months, you’ll both start to realize how tough LDRs really are. And when that time comes, a firm commitment is what will get you through.

You both have to be willing to work through the problems that will inevitably arise, instead of dropping the relationship at the first sign of trouble.

Also, it’s not enough for one of you to be committed – long distance relationships don’t work unless both parties are equally dedicated and willing to put in the time and energy required.

One-sided relationships never succeed in the long term, and this is doubly true when you add distance to the equation. If you start to notice you’re putting way more effort into the relationship than your boyfriend or girlfriend, it might be time to rethink things.

2. Communication is Key.

This probably sounds pretty obvious, but communication is key to maintaining a long-distance relationship – and it’s not as simple as just text messages and phone calls.

Sharing concerns and frustrations with each other is essential. It’s important not to bottle up your insecurities. Instead, just share your feelings with him or her. Be clear about how you feel – whether those feelings are good or bad.

Here are some of my favorite ways to communicate!

Video Chatting

Video chatting with boyfriend

If you haven’t done this already, set up regular FaceTime dates and stick to them.

When you start to miss hanging out with each other, FaceTime or Zoom is a great way to chat face-to-face and do something together. Sometimes you don’t even need words! My BF and I like to video chat with each other while we’re both working on separate projects. That way we can casually chat and do our work at the same time. It’s like being in the same room together.

However, waiting all day for your BF or GF to FaceTime you so that you two can chat is definitely not the way to go – believe me, I’ve done it multiple times. Sooner or later you realize that there has to be some sort of schedule.

For example, between studying for midterms, completing assignments and hanging out with friends, it may be hard for you and your boy or girl to get a hold of each other. That, my dear readers, is where the FaceTime scheduling begins.

Find a time every night (or every other night) that works for both of you – but keep time zones in mind! What’s a good time for you may not always be a good time for them and vice-versa.

Snail Mail

Love letter

Believe it or not, hand-written postcards and letters always feel more personal than texts and emails. Take some time out of your day to send your significant other a letter every few weeks.

And be creative!  Send poems, drawings, photos or things that remind you of each other. Send them a wallet-sized photo or one of your favorite bracelets for them to hold onto.

And the next time you see him or her, snag one of their tee shirts to wear to bed. Because even though you two can’t cuddle together, it’s nice to have something that smells like that special someone.

Other Great Ways to Communicate:

  • Emails
  • Sending each other TikToks or Instagram memes
  • Daily Texts
  • GChat
  • Phone Calls

3. Patience is a Virtue.

No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t be speaking to each other as often as you used to, but you just have to be patient. There will be missed calls and unanswered texts, and that is something that you just need to come to terms with in a long-distance relationship.

But the important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t spend your time waiting around for a message to pop up in your inbox. 

So if you’re a bit on the impatient side, the best way calm your anxiety is by keeping yourself busy. Join a campus club, start volunteering or hang out with your friends!

That way, you won’t be waiting around by the phone all day and you’ll have some great stories to share when you guys do talk.

4. You Have Nothing Without Trust.

Couple in love

Every relationship needs trust, but it’s especially crucial for maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship.

Of course, even I can’t resist the occasional stalking of who is in my boyfriend’s Instagram stories or who is commenting on his posts. But it’s important not to read too much into stories or comments by other girls — because you have to realize (even though it’s hard sometimes) that while you’re enjoying meeting new people and experiencing the college social scene, he or she is doing the same.

So don’t try to suffocate your partner by being too controlling. Jealously and drama will destroy any relationship – long-distance or not.

You really need to trust that your significant other is making the right decisions, and they need to trust that you’re doing the same  If he or she starts to question your social media activities, then maybe it’s time for you two to have a serious discussion.

Remember that one of the benefits of being in a long-distance relationship is finding out who you are as an individual. This also means finding the right balance between hanging out with new friends and spending time with your significant other.

They shouldn’t expect you to spend all your time chatting with them, and you shouldn’t expect that either. You both need to go out and enjoy college life!

Trusting your boy or girlfriend not only calms your nerves but it also leads to a happier and healthier relationship.

5. Look Toward the Future.

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and one of the best ways to survive a long-distance relationship is by setting small goals. For example, start a countdown to the next time that you two will see each other.

And hang in there! What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Whether it succeeds or fizzles, every relationship is a learning experience. At the end of the day, you’ll learn more about your own personal strengths and weaknesses from this experience.

What do you think of our guide to long distance relationships in college?

Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? Or are you currently in one? Tell me the kinds of things you and your BF or GF do to keep your relationship strong!

I would love to hear your experiences. Just leave me a comment!

60 thoughts on “How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship in College”

  1. My boyfriend have been dating for almost 2 years and we are currently trying to make it work long distance. It’s really hard I’m not going to lie! There are some days I wish I could get in my car drive up the street and get a hug but I can’t being 160 miles away.
    We text each other almost 24/7 and that helps A LOT!!! When I’m having a bad day I call him because just the sound of his voice helps! Every thursday night we video chat and watch The Big Bang Theory together. It’s like our time together every week! Also we are mailing a box back and forth filled with different things. The first time I got it the box had a bear in it and one of his t-shirts and some of my favorite candy. It wasn’t much but it was just what I needed. Now when I really miss him I snuggle up with the bear and his t-shirt that smells like him and I feel so much better.We also decided what months I’m gonna come see him and when he is gonna come see me.
    The whole LDR thing is hard but it’s so worth it when you see each other after a long time apart. Like the article said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think this is making us so much stronger!

  2. This story came at a perfect time and is completely spot on. Thanks for including something unrelated to fashion that has such an impact on girls and guys who view this site. Props to you for taking the time to sit down and map all of this out, because many times its hard to quantify what exactly a relationship is and how to give applicable advice to a large audience. But this is so fair and informative! Thanks for the reaffirmation. I’m in a long-distance relationship right now. We dated in high school for 2 years and 1 of them was long-distance (he’s older) and now i’m in college. We make it work quite well and we’re lucky to be close enough to see each other more often than other LDRs ( Usually once a month or more). Hopefully he’ll be closer to me in the spring but we’ll see! It is a unique thing and can be difficult but it is a very rewarding thing to be able to know that your relationship can withstand more than many others. I love this post! Thanks again!

  3. I just broke up with my BF and we were on a LDR. Is hard to define where is the root of the problems that you have when you are in this situation, because is either the distance or the relationship is not working? In my case was the second, despite doing all the recommendations above.
    What i recommend its whenever you have problems while in a LDR try to see the big picture.. are u having those issues because of the distance or is something more deeper?

  4. This article is perfect. I totally agree with everything you say above, even if it’s hard sometimes to stay calm & have trust. But I believe it’s totally worth it in the end!
    Great article! 🙂

  5. Here I am at the other side of things…. I opted to end my relationship before it could go long distance because I was afraid of an even worse heartbreak down the road!

    Now I really regret it. My ex and I don’t really talk anymore, at first because we both needed time to recuperate from the break up, and then later because we never got into the habit of keeping in touch. I’d feel awkward calling him up now and trying to reestablish contact (especially because I was the one who ended it) and I really miss what I had. Who knows? Maybe it actually WOULD have worked out.

    Moral of the story is: don’t wimp out of an LDR just because you’re afraid of things turning sour. The whole nature of a relationship is putting yourself out there, making yourself vulnerable to someone, and trusting them not to hurt you. Whether it works out or not… well, you’ll never know unless you give it a shot. And even if it ends up badly, at least you tried!

  6. I love this article! Trust is the hardest part! There’s always those little fears! But staying calm and trusting makes it worth while and enjoyable!

  7. YAY! I am so happy to see an article about LDRs! Like Ari, almost everything I read before going to college told me to break up with my boyfriend, whom I had been dating for 2 years at that point. We decided that it was best for us to go to different colleges, and we’re both happy where we are but it can be very tough sometimes. I definitely agree with everything in this article, and I STRESS communication! Communication is absolutely key to any relationship, long-distance or not. My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 4 years now…and this spring, I’ll be increasing the distance between us when I study abroad in Spain…missing our anniversary by one day! 🙁

    Like the article says, set goals. Small goals are good, like knowing when you’ll see each other next, but what really keeps us together are our big goals. We know that we are getting engaged sometime senior year. We know we’re getting married after graduation (on our anniversary), and we know we’re starting a family together after that. Of course, not everyone has goals this big…but when we go through our hardest times, it’s our big goal that has kept us together.

  8. I married my once-long-distance-boyfriend a little over a year ago. We are incredibly blessed, happy, & loving marriage.

    LDRs are like all relationships – good, lasting ones take work, dedication, loyalty, and a positive, loving attitude. The best relationship advice I ever got was that regardless of what we might hear, relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100. Both people have to do their best to put 100 percent in every day. Will it always work like that? No. But if you’re both in it 100 percent, you’ll make it work.

    Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a LDR theme song. 🙂 I listened the life out of Relient K’s “At least we made it this far” & “taking you with me” – both really positive songs about LDRs.

  9. I’m in a LDR as well. My boyfriend and I met when we were both attending the same community college and we lived in adjacent towns. But then we both transferred to different schools. It was not so bad at first because our schools were only an hour and a half away so we spent every weekend together. But now that he’s graduated and I still have a year and a half left, we are four and a half hours apart. And he might be moving several states away for a job soon. So this article was perfect timing!

  10. I’m currently in a long distance relationship…we’re almost 2,000 miles apart. He’s in the army and everyday I tell myself that this is what I want and we try to do the best we can. It’s harder when your schedules are so hectic but honestly it’s the little things that really matter. Snail mail, e-mails, text messages, voicemails and even care packages help in the long run. It’s definitely hard as hell I’m not going to lie but if you really want this then you don’t care about the distance.

  11. Thank God for Skype! I don’t know if my BF, who’s currently in NYC, and I, in Germany, would have made it without it!

    As it was said in the article, definitely try it out if you haven’t already, it feels so much better than talking on the phone!
    Living in very different time zones we can only skype on weekends but that makes us cherish our “skypedates” even more.

    My advice for LDR-talks on skype would be to plan for enough time. Plan for an hour or longer where you can fully concentrate on the other person and don’t have to do anything else on the side. Making time for each other is even more important in LDRs

  12. My boyfriend and I spent our first year together in an LDR. It was hard, but we made it, and in 2 days it’ll be our four year dating anniversary. This article really made me appreciate how easy we have it now compared to our freshman years. Between hectic work and school schedules it’s easy to get frustrated when we can’t spend a lot of time together now, but I have to remember that not so long ago we had to deal with much more time apart. It’s worth it in the end if it’s what both of you want. Now when we have problems arise we get to say “hey, we can do this- we spent an entire year apart!”

    Good luck to everyone and their loves!


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