How to Handle Long Distance Relationships in Separate Schools
By Liz Paquette
“Usually when people ask me if they should do a long distance relationship, the first thing I tell them is not to do it, because it sucks. But if you really love each other, then it’s worth it all the way,” said Joe Green (‘16).
High school graduation is an emotional time; one chapter of your life has just ended, and you’re about to step into a world unknown. A lot of couples end up facing a big decision: break up, or continue on with a long distance relationship. Very few couples will go to the same college, and the rest will go to the college that feels the best fit for them. Some couples are in different grades and have to work around a high school and college schedule. “We looked and we don’t have any of the same kinds of breaks which sucks, but he is only going away to school two hours from here, so when I come back I can always go up and see him on the weekends,” said Emily Haight (‘16), who has been dating Matt Jones (‘16) for nearly two years. “How do people deal with the strain of being so far apart?”
Evaluate and Decide
First, you should make sure you want to commit to a long distance relationship by evaluating the relationship. Cammie Waterhouse (‘16) has been dating Adam Jeffery (‘13) for 3 years and 8 months now. “I was excited for him [during graduation], but I was also happy and sad crying. It was a lot of weird emotions that were conflicting each other,” she said. The summer before Adam went to Keene State College as a freshman, the two took a break for about a month. “We had a really hard summer, because he was still trying to decide if he wanted a relationship,” she explained. “That [break] was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. But we ended up deciding that it was worth it.” According to Static Brain, 33% of college relationships are long distance, and 75% of engaged couples have had a long distance relationship at some point. It’s definitely possible, but it’s not for everyone.
Stephen Hill (‘16) broke up with his older girlfriend Hannah before she went off to college. “We talked about if it is worth it, because she was going to West Virginia, which is very far away, and it would have been expensive for her to come [home], and she’s going to be very busy because she’s going for her Masters,” he explained. They had only been dating for around three months at the time they separated.. “ We made the decision that it was best to not stress out over a long distance relationship and focus on ourselves. If you really care for each other, than the distance shouldn’t be an issue, because you’d work towards seeing [them].”
Don’t Waste Time
You and your significant other’s schedules are going to be different and hard to work around, but trying to plan out dates and calls can be super helpful. “The most important thing to do is that you just need to accept that sometimes you will make plans for a long time and they won’t work out,” says Green, who has been dating Melanie Daniels (‘15) for nearly a year now. She attends Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which is nearly two hours away. “As the year goes on and our course loads build up, and we both have a lot of stuff to do, it’s hard. We can’t always keep it up, but we try your best to stick to video chatting when we can.”
Visits will be far and few apart, so make sure to seize every opportunity to hang out as you can. “We see each other usually around once a month; either he comes home or I come to Keene,” said Waterhouse. And when you can’t find time for a visit, something as simple as texting can help strengthen your relationship.“We text every day, at least like 20 times back and forth, and call usually once a week, and then we skype usually once a month. Every day we start off with a text that says ‘how are you feeling?’ or ‘what do you have planned for today?’ Just keeping up with each other [can help],” explained Waterhouse.
Sacrifices are Crucial
“Managing a long distance relationship has a lot to do with sacrifices by each person. There are many times where either one of us could be out with friends, but decide to stay in and talk to the other person. It’s important to remember that it shouldn’t feel like sacrifice because doing that makes both people happy,” said Jackson Hale (‘15) who attends Arizona State University and is dating Maddy Abbott (‘15), who attends University of Connecticut. These ORHS alumni have been dating for a little over a year, and attend college about 2,500 miles apart. “One major tip is to communicate as much as possible. I think that if communication stops, it can be easy to drift apart. Maddy and I talk every day which keeps us happy and feeling like the distance isn’t as far as it actually is.” The couple use Facetime and Skype whenever possible, and settle for texting and phone calls when life gets busy. Although their winter and summer breaks line up, during spring breaks they need to make time to hang out around their classes. But they make it work. “The face to face contact is amazing, and it always reminds me it’s all worth it,” said Hale.
Trust is Key
College is a time for change and growing up; the sooner you both realize that, the easier the transition will be. “You’re change a lot in college, which is a good thing because you have to change to grow up, but you just have to figure out how to grow and change together, which is so hard,” described Waterhouse. “Don’t badger your significant other for going to parties, and wanting to have fun and change and grow. There’s a lot of trust [involved].” You’re both going to see and meet a lot of new people while you’re apart. It’s important to put petty jealousy aside and remember that your bond and the trust you built together can be stronger than anyone or thing that tries to get in between that.
Overall, it’s a viable option, but it will be a tough and rocky road. “One of the hardest things is seeing all the happy relationships. You have no idea how lucky you are to get to see your loved one everyday until you don’t get to see your loved one ever. It’s hard to keep a relationship just over text,” said Green.