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Tips for a Long Distance College Relationship

Apr 11, 2011

College students often find themselves in relationships with partners who live far away. This article provides tips for making a long distance romance work.

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Long Distance Relationship Survival 101

If you're a high school senior in a great relationship, it's possible that you and your significant other have made plans to attend college at the same school, or at least at two schools that are close by. Sometimes, though, it's not possible to be close to the one you love. If you won't be able to have regular in-person visits with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you want to try to stay together, there are some important steps to take to ensure your relationship's survival.

Establish Trust

Trust is especially important in a long distance relationship. Even if you're not the jealous type, there's often a lingering fear that your significant other might cheat on you. Though this fear is normal, allowing it to dominate conversations and interactions can destroy a relationship. If you trust your partner, though, this fear can take a backseat, allowing for calm and happiness in your interactions.

One important part of establishing trust is to be open and honest in your communication. Tell your partner what you plan on doing over the weekend before it happens to avoid any worry or hurt feelings. Establishing this type of communication helps both people in the relationship feel included in their significant other's life, and this feeling of inclusion is a great way to maintain closeness.

Another essential part of establishing trust is recognizing and dealing with jealousy as soon as it rears its head. If you see the same attractive person near your significant other in multiple Facebook photos, ask your partner about that person. It could be that your partner doesn't even know or like that random person. Don't go behind your partner's back and try to gather information yourself. This can lead to petty, irrational fights. Always keep an open line of communication, and be honest. After all, it's not fair to expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to be honest with you if you're not going to do the same.

long distance relationship telecommunication

Make Time for Each Other

Even if the distance in your relationship can be closed by a few hours worth of driving, you're not always going to be able to have in-person visits. As the school year progresses, you will both likely be busy with homework, classes, activities and making new friends. It's important for you both to be supportive of each other as you adjust to college life, so don't be resentful if your partner starts spending less time communicating with you and more time doing other things.

However, you will need to make time to maintain your closeness. Respond to your partner's texts, calls and emails within a matter of hours, rather than days. If in-person visits are impossible, make a standing appointment for a phone call or online chat. Go on virtual 'dates' together, either by watching the same movie or TV show together while chatting about it, going for a walk outside and describing your surroundings to each other over the phone, or eating dinner together over video chat. Investing a few uninterrupted hours a week on close communication like this can really help both partners feel close and connected in spite of distance.

Be Thoughtful

If you see a picture of something that will make your partner laugh, or find something affordable in a shop that he or she would like, send it to him or her. Thoughtful gestures don't have to be elaborate - little things go a long way. Ask about how your partner is doing, and try to remember and ask about details like new friends and classes that he or she particularly likes. If you read something in a class that might interest your partner, tell him or her about it. If your partner complains about feeling sick, ask if he or she is feeling better the next day. Remembering these little personal details is a great way to show how much you care. And of course, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries are essential to remember. If you can't afford a gift, send a free e-card or an email with a bunch of YouTube videos you think your partner will like.

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