Loving Long Distance

Between freshmen and transfer students moving away from their high school or hometown sweethearts, and the “summer lovin’” many experience with “Grease”-like capacity during their college visits back home or on vacation, the beginning of each new school year assumingly presents many college students with the struggle of transitioning their relationship of “relatively close proximity” to that of “quite a distance away.” Mix this change with the attempt to keep your grades up, to make or maintain new friendships and to learn how to live on your own, and what was once a struggle may soon seem like an apocalypse.

However, according to many who are and have ventured the long distance relationship challenge, there are many ways that a long distance couple can survive long term.

In general, technology has become a great tool for successfully attempting a long distance relationship. Second year history major Melissa Sigona had to transition to long distance two years into her relationship. Although both she and her boyfriend prioritize academics before their relationship, they exchange daily texts and phone calls to remind each other that they are still an important part of each other’s lives. About what they talk about every day, Melissa says, “we always make a point to tell each other about our days, so we feel like we are together even when we are apart.”

Although suffering with the desire to see one’s significant other more often than one can is a commonality within these types of relationships, long distance relationships actually have the potential for benefits.

I have been in a relationship in which my boyfriend and I live two hours apart for over a year now. Before this relationship, I was a victim of procrastination. If I had homework to do, I’d tell myself “I have the weekend to do it.” When the weekend rolled around, my response was, “I don’t want to do homework; it’s the weekend!” I was always doing the bare minimum. However, since my relationship started I’ve consistently been on the Dean’s Honor List for five quarters, an accomplishment otherwise achieved but once since the start of my college career. My boyfriend sacrifices his weekends driving to see me, so I have never felt it fair to do homework while he is here. Because my weekends are dedicated to him, I know I have no other choice but to spend my weekdays getting work done.

According to Beth Jugle, who graduated from UC Irvine in spring of 2013 and has been involved in a long distance relationship for over four years, the inability to see one’s significant other at any available moment allows for a person to focus on becoming an independent young adult, without being distracted too often by their relationship.

“Since [the relationship] was during the time when we both were in college, we both were free to do our own thing,” Jugle said. “I feel that we became independent people who did not need to fully depend on each other.  Neither of us has felt too tied down or caged in.”

Melissa, Beth and many others who have been in a long distance relationship seem to agree that in general, the key to a successful long distance relationship lies in three parts. The first is communication. Miss Jugle elaborates on this well: “If you stop communicating effectively, no one is happy and the relationship suffers. One person may feel that the other has become less interested, and preoccupied with life without them. Although it may be hard, communication should be the main focus, because that is all you have when you are not physically together.”

The second part is trust. Put simply, one must trust that they are worth the distance to their significant other. When you can trust, you can give and feel more freedom in a relationship, which allows both of you to enjoy it more.

Finally, long distance relationships require commitment and sacrifice. Couples must be committed to staying consistent in communication, trust and willingness to sacrifice their time in order to avoid unnecessary conflict within the relationship. Jourdyn Twork, who is also member of a long distance couple, advises, “I would say don’t be afraid to try it; if both parties are committed, it could turn into something great.”