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A Survival Guide For A Long-Distance College Relationship

Are you planning to attend college next fall? You might be preparing to leave your family and friends and planning to decorate your dorm which can be a little stressful. You might have a significant other, but after senior activities, graduation, and a fun-filled summer, the inevitable question comes knocking at your door. The one you have been dreading and avoiding all year. Are we going to stay together in college? For some of you, the answer might be no, which is okay and understandable. You want to embark on this new journey by yourself and open a door to the wonders of the college experience.

The Chances of Success

Are you wondering what your chances are if you stay together? According to “Long Distance Relationship Statistics” by Dr. Guldner, studies show 60% of relationships will make it past the long-distance phase and back to having an in-proximity relationship.  However, the other 40% will not. Surprizely, 32.5% of long-distance relationships of the unsuccessful 40% are college students.

Now to the brave soldiers who want to give the long-distance college relationship a try, another question follows. How are we going to make this work? Hi, my name is Kaleigh Morawietz and I am here to answer that question. I am in a long-distance relationship myself here at St. Andrews University in North Carolina. I am going to give insight on how to not only survive but be successful. From my experience here are the three main things you need to have to be in a prospering relationship: open and honest communication, full trust and boundaries, and the effort to make it work.

Tool One

The first tool is open and honest communication. This is needed with any relationship. However, when you are over 300 miles apart from each other, you do not have the same opportunities to talk in person. Luckily, technology can save you. You can check up on your partner through a text, snapchat video, or a funny TikTok you see. You also need to make time out of your busy college schedule to have an over-the-phone conversation. “LDR Communications & The 6 Pivotal Keys to Success” reminds us, “Do not get trapped by routine while you communicate with your partner. Obviously, this may seem complicated when both of you are busy most of the time. But as in all kinds of relationships, when the communication and interactions become so predictable, the couple suffers.” This suggests that in a relationship you need to stay unpredictable and spontaneous with communication styles, for example, changing the time you usually call or even the setting to surprise your partner or even yourself. This is already one step to making the college transition easier. Over time you might be faced with difficulties and changes in your relationship, the best way to resolve this is to communicate exactly how you are feeling. It can be hard at times to connect to your partner when you cannot notice their reactions or tone over text. You will sit there contemplating if they are mad or upset based on whether they used a period or not. This can cause confusion and overthinking in your relationship. I have even been faced with this problem in my own relationship. A solution is to be understanding and hear out your partner’s emotions before you jump to any conclusions. Reminder, assumptions can lead to tension between you and your significant other, so beware of this coming up in your relationship because it will. Although communication is important during a long-distance relationship, it is not a guarantee to a healthy relationship.

Tool #2

The second tool is boundaries. Communication is important, but it can only so far. To be successful a couple must have full trust and boundaries. A recent study I did on campus asked multiple students here on campus why their long-distance relationship did not work out. The number one answer I got is one or both partners did not have trust in the other. TRUST me, it is difficult to have certainty that your partner will or will not be faithful to you while you are away getting your degree. College can be filled with temptations to explore a part of us we did not know about ourselves before we left. This also applies to your partner while they are at school. But one thing I can tell you is to be honest about your concerns and set boundaries during your transition to college. Ask each other what you expect from one another. This might save you from future arguments and disagreements. Overall, if you and your partner do not have a clear set of boundaries and trust in one another, it might be time to reconsider being single in this new journey.

Tool #3

Now, for the final tool, it is important that both of you are trying to keep your relationship thriving. I am not saying you need to talk to each other every day. Honestly, I could write a whole other blog on how it is crucial to have independence during your relationship. What I mean to say is you and your boo must WANT to be in a relationship. It is a big commitment and sometimes it can be super hard. Make the little moments matter and if you are as lucky as I am, you might have a partner who will drive 361 miles to see you. Even if you are countries away from each other.

I want to remind everyone reading this blog to know that even with these tools it is okay to make mistakes in your relationship. You and your partner will change and grow when you enter college. You are still young. Although I might sound like I know what I am doing, in all reality, my partner and I are still growing and learning how to navigate a LDR just like you might be in the next couple of months. You will have differences and character flaws that can clash with one another. The best advice I can give came from my mother. She said to me, “Your partner will have flaws just like you. Now, it is your choice overall whether you can accept and love them for those flaws or make the decision you are not meant for one another.”

For A Success Relationship Remember To

  •  Use Clear Communication
  •  Set Boundaries
  •  Work at it together
  •  Accept your partner for who they are

Reference List

  1. Guldner. February 2023 Long Distance Relationship Statistics. The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, a division of JF Milne Publications.
  2. LDR Communication & The 6 PIVOTAL Keys To Success. December 2022.
  3. Morawietz, Kaleigh. February 3, 2023, Personal Interviews on St. Andrews Campus.