Sexy & Savvy: 3 Tips for Dealing with a Long Distance Relationship

Contributed by Rebecca Smith, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.S.A.T.

Committing to a long distance relationship in college is like being single, going through a break-up, and having a relationship all at the same time. It’s a crazy experience, for sure.

Some people will tell you that you’re lucky to at least have someone in your life, but there are many days when you actually feel unlucky. You might feel sad or jealous when you see happy couples spending time together. You might also feel that you have a lot of time to yourself because the one you love isn’t there with you. But just remember – you have someone who loves you and wants to be with you in spite of the distance.

Reuniting and then being apart again is heartbreaking. The weeks that lead up to seeing the other person are exciting, yet very frustrating. You just want the reunion to be here already! Then, the time you spend together seems like a dream and flies by way too fast. After your significant other leaves, your friends expect you to be happy since you just saw the person you love…but you feel sadder than ever after having to say goodbye again.

How can you deal with a long distance relationship’s exhaustive roller coaster of emotions? Here are three helpful tips for college students from Rebecca Smith, a counselor at Aurora University’s Counseling Center:

Use Technology – This Is the 21st Century, After All

Technology has come a long way. Back in the day (like waaaay back), couples had to communicate by writing letters and sending them in the mail (what’s that?). Come to think of it, that’s probably why a lot of people married cousins who lived next door. Today, you can meet someone online who lives across the country. As a result of this availability of potentials, many people date long distance.

Skype, a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet, is a fun way to connect with your significant other. Many people also send daily or weekly emails, or chat through services like Google’s Gchat or Facebook. This is particularly useful for those that have significant others in the military overseas or who have major time zone differences.

Sometimes the Internet isn’t always reliable, though, so pick up that cell phone and give each other a call at the very least.

Spend Time with Close Friends

Being apart from someone you love hurts and time can seem to slow down – not fun! Your friends will try to understand and support you, though no one truly knows how painful it is until they’re dealing with it. Nevertheless, you need your friends now more than ever. It may be hard at times for you to relate to them or for them to relate to you, but remember that everyone is trying their best to be there for you.

Pick a Date

One of the hardest parts of a long-distance relationship is figuring out how to actually be together. For some couples, it’s only a matter of time. For example, if your partner’s in the military, you’ll be reunited when he or she returns. For other couples, it’s more complicated. There are logistics to figure out, like which one of you might be willing to move to be closer to the other person. That decision involves many sacrifices, and can be really hard on a relationship. It’s difficult to strike a compromise sometimes.

Regardless, it’s a good idea to pick a date for the next time you’ll see each other face-to-face. This will get rid of some of the uncertainty of when you’ll see them next, and it will give you something to look forward to.

Dealing with Distance Is Hard

Sometimes it will be easy to be positive. Other days, the sadness will just take over, no matter how hard you try to be upbeat. The situation isn’t ideal, but there are others out there who do know how you feel. Many couples survive this period of their relationship, and you will too. Do what you can to process your emotions in positive ways and don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel depressed.

At the end of the day, the struggle is worth it. As they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The distance may pose challenges, but it can also make your relationship stronger.

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