Feature Story: Long Distances Relationships in College

There are many challenges one must face when entering into college. One of the biggest of those challenges is handling a long distance relationship. Whether you think your partner is “the one” or you simply wish to keep a good thing going, there are some tips that can help make the transition that comes with the separation a little easier and more manageable. While maintaining a long distance relationship can be very difficult, it can be done in ways that is easy on you and your heart.

Darren Stine, a junior at Millersville University, has been with his girlfriend Gabrielle Tyson for almost three years now. Tyson, however, goes to a college out in Missouri. Stine admits that at times it can be very hard to manage. One of the biggest things he misses is the short talk the two used to share when they were together in person.

There is no set routine for the couple for both their schedules are always changing with school and work. Missouri is also an hour behind Pennsylvania which interferes with their schedules so much that sometimes they don’t even get to talk on the phone that day.

The most popular question Stine receives is “how do you make the relationship work?” His advice for other couples experiencing the hardship of a long distance relationship is to try your best to manage your time. It can be hard with conflicting schedules but try to talk to your significant other at least once a day. Whether that is a phone call at night or something as small and simple as a good morning text, it lets your significant other know you are thinking about them and miss them.

One of the hardest parts of a long distance relationship is find that special connection when one person gets busier than the other. If this happens in a relationship, it is important to keep communication alive. If you are the busy person, try to warn your partner ahead of time that you will be working long hours and may have limited time. If you are the not-as-busy person, take advantage of the time by picking up a new hobby, getting in shape, reading a new book, and so forth. Flexibility is very important.

Luckily, the technological amenities of the 21st century make communication easier and more interactive than it was in past generations. Couples now have the luxury of cell phones, Facebook, and live chat outlets such as Skype and Facetime. Technological advances provide couples with a multitude of platforms to keep in contact.

Another tip is that you must trust your partner fully. Stine advices not get jealous and completely trust your significant other while you two are separated. It can tough to hear about all the fun your partner is having, especially when they’re making new friends of the opposite sex. Just remember that everyone entering into college is looking to make new friends. Take this as a positive. Your partner is reaching out and having an enjoyable experience. You will score points if you’re happy about this rather than bitter and jealous.

Trust is key in any relationship but especially while you’re not with them every day. Stine openly says, “We both know we just want to be with each other and no one else. It is easy for me to trust her 100%.”

While some couples have a designated time to speak with each other, do not take a missed phone call as a sign that your significant other is cheating on you. If you are genuinely worried, it is okay to express these feelings, but remember nothing ruins chemistry faster than incessant nagging and blatant jealousy.

Another good tip for keeping a long distance relationship is to do things together; even if you are apart. Defy the distance by doing things besides the normal phone call. Interaction over the phone can become dull and boring after some time. Incorporating other forms of interaction are important. Think about it, people in short-distance relationships do not spend the majority of their time together talking but rather doing things together.

Stine recommends that you two read the same book at the same time and share your reaction. The same can be applied to movies or a television show you both enjoy. Watch the show at the same time and keep a call open and share your reactions and thoughts with each other.

Couples that are in long distance relationship who are still in college could even take an online class together. Help each other study and do homework. Many experiences can be shared with Skype and Face time. Stine explains sometimes he and his girlfriend will set up Skype and cook the same meal together and sit down and eat. Even if there is no time to cook a meal, you could both enjoy fresh fruit in the season or a favorite snack.

“It doesn’t bother me that our dinners together are online, I still get to see her and talk to me and that is all I need,” Stine lovingly says.

When you get that rare chance to see you significant other, give your partner a personal object of yours so in a time of need, when they miss you, they are able to have something to remember you by. This can be as something small as a keychain, piece of jewelry or even a bottle of your cologne/perfume so your significant other can enjoy the smell/essence of your in their home. This will provide comfort, happiness and the thought of being together.

Lastly, because time together is so scarce, when you do see your significant other, take as much advantage of your time together as possible. Go out on a date and enjoy the time you have to be with one another.

Stine describes one of his favorite moments he gets to share with Tyson; He will take a plane out to see her and while he is waiting to pick her up by the baggage claims, she will run to him with open arms and practically knock him over as the two share a long needed kiss.

“It’s like a movie,” Stine smiles, “she runs to me in the airport and everyone around us stops and watches us.”


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