College & Long Distance Relationships
Breaking away from a high school sweetheart in order to head for college can prove to be a tough assignment. And while the odds of continuing a long distance relationship throughout your college career may not be in your favor, successfully doing so is not impossible.
If you decide you want to pursue such a relationship while you are away, there are things you can do that might increase the chances of things working out. Only you and your loved one really know deep down if your relationship stands a chance against the distance and temptations that present themselves while away at school, but if you feel you can make it work — and really want it to work — here are a few things that might help you in your efforts.
Putting Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
One of the best ways to make a long distance relationship work is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. While at times, this is easier said than done, trying to see the situation through the other person’s eyes can give you a better understanding of what he or she may be going through. Whether you are at different schools, or one of you has chosen to work or must still finish high school first, ask yourself what you would be doing if you were the other person.
If your sweetheart is left home to work or finish high school and doesn’t have the opportunity to go to college, he or she might be feeling left out, betrayed, unwanted, unneeded, or unimportant. These feelings can result in anger and jealousy. Consider how you would feel if he or she went off on a new and exciting adventure, filled with unique opportunities, amazing experiences and plenty of the opposite sex to tempt them. Might you be feeling a little insecure or worried about what your squeeze was doing without you there? He or she might be feeling the same way about you though.
Just because your girlfriend or boyfriend is away at college doesn’t mean he or she is having the time of their life. College requires a lot of hard work and time commitment. It isn’t all parties and going to the bars. So while your sweetie is toiling away at the library, he or she might be wondering what you are doing back home or at your school. Old flames could be trying to reignite the passion, new people might be entering your life, or you might be succeeding at work or your own school while they struggle toward an unknown future.
No matter what the situation is, it is important to understand that there will likely be joy and sadness, temptation and denied gratification on both sides of the relationship. But all the while, it is important to realize that this is the other person’s chance to grow and explore new things, meet interesting people, and make wonderful memories, and you shouldn’t try to inhibit these experiences. Doing so will only create resentment and make that person feel that he or she is missing out on life because of you.
Communication is Key
Another important factor in maintaining a successful long distance relationship during your college stint is to stay in touch. It is pertinent in keeping your relationship healthy that you let the other person know that you care and that you are there for them, but you don’t want to be overly clingy. Constantly calling, making ridiculous demands upon his or her time, and continuously questioning his or her whereabouts can be the quickest way to break the feeling of trust and drive your sweetie away. You have to find the balance between letting him or her know that you still care, but not overdo it.
To make communicating easier, try to make set times for talking to each other on the phone and resist the urge to make impulse calls. This might make the other person feel that there is a lack of trust in the relationship and that you are checking up on them.
Making the Effort
Realize early on that maintaining a long distance relationship won’t be easy. Watching your friends hook up at parties while you climb into bed by yourself, having the opposite sex hitting on you, and pondering what your sweetheart is doing when you aren’t around can be difficult, confusing, and downright depressing. Consider using these times when you’re feeling down and lonely to compose a letter or an email. This can allow you to express your feelings as well as take some time to consider them before making them known to your loved one.
Often in the heat of the moment during phone conversations, we say things we don’t mean or don’t express ourselves in the way in which we want. By writing a letter, you can consider the wording and expression of your feelings and decide whether you’ve made the right decision before airing them.
Remember, keeping a long distance relationship going while one of you or both of you are away at school won’t just happen on its own. You have to work at it and make an effort. There will likely be mistakes made on both sides and people may try to sway you and convince you to “relax and just have fun,” but in the end it is up to you to make the decision that’s right for you and your relationship.
At the end of the day if this is something you just can’t handle and need to be close to your loved one there’s always the option to attend an college online. Today, many traditional schools like University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, Northeastern University and others are offering online degree programs in fields ranging from business to psychology to health care. You can earn a degree from the comforts of your home, get started by browsing and requesting information from the colleges. Our online degrees channel has a comprehensive listing of all such programs and colleges.