“Don’t Count the Miles, Count the I Love You’s”

Keeping a relationship in college is hard work. Not saying a relationship at any age or time of life is easy, but in college, it definitely seems to be harder. Hear me out. In college, you need to be honest with your significant other, communicate with them, be trusting of them and find time to spend with them on a regular basis. Sounds like a relationship at any age, right?

True, in any relationship, honesty, trust, and communication are all key, but outside of college, you don’t really have to worry about your significant other partying every night. Or maybe you do. If so, you should probably rethink some things.

Long distance relationships, especially for college students, are even harder. You are used to spending so much time, if not every day, with your partner, and all of a sudden, they are hours away. Whether your significant other lives in your hometown and you go away to school, or you go to school with them and go back home during breaks and summer, leaving is always hard. It’s not something that’s ever easy to get used to either. So how do college students keep their relationships going while they are apart?

Freshman year, I entered school ready to mingle and meet new people. I quickly realized that it seemed everyone at Monmouth was in a relationship with someone from home. All my friends would spend their weekends home with their boyfriend’s, and I was left alone, feeling pretty single and sorry for myself. By Thanksgiving break, almost all the high school sweethearts were terminated. But why? Why was no one willing to make it work?

I met my boyfriend second semester of freshman year and we began dating and doing things together every day. But then May came. We lived an hour away from one another. As he was moving out of his dorm, trying to vacuum the floors, I was crying in a ball, crying on his desk. I didn’t know how to make this work, especially after spending months together, I wasn’t used to this. Turns out I was just being dramatic because I saw him a couple weeks later. We’re still together, so I guess we figured it out after all.

Denisse Amarilla, a senior biology major and her boyfriend are together while at school, but live six hours apart from each other during all other times of the year.

“Long distance relationships are hard for anyone but even when we’re both on busy schedules, a simple good morning text or phone call before bed keeps us connected and thinking about each other,” said Amarilla.

Jordan Delong, a junior economics and finance major, is also with his girlfriend during the school year but hours away during breaks and summer vacation.

“A long distance relationship mainly involves trusting your significant other because you aren’t around them so you don’t really know what they are doing and can only take their word for it. You also have to understand that if there is a time difference that may make it harder to find time to talk and encourage each other to go out and do things instead of just sitting around waiting for them,” Delong said.

Associate professor of communication Dr. Rebecca Sanford explains that aside from good communication, something useful, more so in long distance relationships, is establishing rituals. These rituals don’t have to be big or showy, they can be something like watching the same movie or TV show at the same time. They can be wishing on the same star or saying goodnight to each other every night. “It can be anything little or cute, but it can still be valuable.”

Sanford continued, “You can look at your time apart as a time for your own personal growth. Instead of sitting around missing them, you can go do hobbies that [your partner] doesn’t like to do. Perspection is valuable too.”

Of course, at any time in your life, you could be involved in a long distance relationship. In college, it is a lot more common, considering colleges hold students from all over the country, and sometimes all over the world. The chances of living near your partner are pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t stand a chance. It’s up to you and your significant other to make it work.

Just as in any kind of relationship, communication, trust and honesty are all important factors. School, work and life in general can get hectic and crazy, but to have a relationship succeed, you need find time for your partner and have their back when things get tough. College life is hard, but if you find a good partner who is also your best friend, they can help you get through the stressful times, give you support when needed and help make college life more fun and exciting. You never know where college relationships will take you; you could have found the person you’ll be with for the rest of your life.