How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work in College

Maintaining a long-distance relationship in college is a lot of work, but if you truly care about your partner, all the work is worth it.  Our culture is one of instant gratification, and it can be really tough seeing your friends spending time with their significant other  every day while you’re missing yours a little extra.  I have experienced a long-distance college relationship for an academic year now, and while it’s tough, I would not trade it for anything in the world (except, maybe definitely, a short-distance relationship). Here’s all the tips you need on how to make a long-distance relationship work in college!

1. Communication is Key

This sounds a little trite and obvious, but with 21st century technology at our fingertips and (literally) in our pockets, staying in communication is easier than ever.  Being unable to physically spend time together gives way to fairly constant communication.  You need to personally decide how you feel about the constancy with which you will be on your phone.  My boyfriend and I have an almost constant text-stream.  It can range from telling each other about the adorable dog that just walked by on campus, to a theoretical issue brought up by a professor.  If your school schedule is similar, quickly talk on the phone when walking from one class to the next.  It works like an espresso shot: wakes you up, puts you in a better mood, and gets you ready to face the day head on.

2. Make Plans

If your roommate always has her boyfriend over, it can be hard to not get jealous or resentful of the distance between you and yours.  But when you look at the calendar and say “okay, I get to see my S/O next weekend,” it lessens the grudge.  And make sure you don’t hold it against your friends that they have a different set up than you do in their relationship.  If you can’t see each other very often, make a plan to Skype or FaceTime for an hour or two. If it is the only way you can see your S/O’s face and hear their voice, you will absolutely love it.  A Skype/FaceTime date gives you something to look forward to and it can ease an aching heart.  It helps you reset after a long time apart and remember why dealing wit how to make a long-distance relationship work is so worthwhile.

3. Don’t Get Caught Up In the Little Things

It is inevitable that your S/O will have attractive friends.  If your boyfriend mentions a girl friend’s name, don’t get jealous!  Trust is an absolute necessity when wondering how to make a long-distance relationship work.  If he constantly mentions a girl’s name, and it bothers you, address it openly!  Maybe she’s just “one of the boys” and your jealousy is completely unneeded.  With that in mind, be aware of the names you mention most.  If it’s someone your S/O gets a little green about, make sure there is no reason for them to get uncomfortable.  The hard part of a long-distance college relationship is that you will both be super busy.  If they have to cancel a Skype or phone date to cram for an exam, don’t hold it against them!  They’re setting themselves up for a more successful future, and as a supportive partner to them, you should let them do that and be happy about their dedication.

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4. Brush Off Skepticism

In a long-distance relationship, nay-sayers are common.  Friends that think you’re silly for being with someone who goes to school 2 hours away, or parents that want you to graduate before putting so much effort into someone from another school.  At the end of the day, it is up to the people in the relationship to decide if the relationship deserves the effort.  My boyfriend just graduated from Bentley University in Waltham, MA—1 1/2 hours away from UMass.  We started dating as I entered my Junior year, and he his Senior year.  Both of us had friends questioning our sanity as we stepped into the end of our college careers and a long-distance relationship at the same time.  We both knew the relationship merited the work, and 9 months later, we’re still sure.

Long-distance is a temporary arrangement. Keep that in mind and don’t listen to the people who think you’re being silly. Having a car is definitely helpful, so you can go visit on any weekend you’re both free.  But keep in mind that nobody knows the relationship as well as the two people in it.  So keep your head up and keep trucking along.  Count down the days until the next visit, and enjoy every moment you can together.  If it’s worth it, it’s absolutely worth it, and if it isn’t, you will soon know. All it takes is some patience, a little extra effort, and belief that the work will pay off.

Do you feel prepared on how to make a long-distance relationship work? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Caroline Keil

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