How to Maintain a Long-Distance Relationship in College

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How to Maintain a Long Distance Relationship in College

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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

Skype date

If you haven't done this already, start by investing in a web cam and setting up Skype or iChat dates. When you start to miss hanging out with each other, Skype 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 Skype 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 log on to Skype 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 Skype 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
  • AIM
  • Daily Texts
  • 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.

Two people holding hands

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 Facebook stalking on my boyfriend's wall. But it's important not to read too much into wall posts and 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 Facebook photos and statuses, 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.

Two people falling in love

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?

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!

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