A Long Distance Relationship In College Can Work

by Kat Kuehl

We all know that any relationship can be hard. But, long distance relationships can be especially tricky to maintain. If you and your beau are currently in a situation that requires extra attention and tons of careful planning just to end up in the same zip code, you might be hunting for some long distance relationship tips to make this whole thing a little easier.

I can totally relate. My college boyfriend (who, incidentally, is now my husband) and I attended schools in completely separate states. I'll be the first to admit that a long distance relationship in college was far from easy — in fact I reached a certain point when I was convinced that we'd never end up in the same state again. But, if you're committed, it's totally doable.

Obviously, we're married now, so I like to think that's some solid inspiration for you to shut up all of those critics who repeatedly tell you that your long distance relationship will never last.

Every relationship requires a certain amount of trust, commitment, and patience — this is especially true when you need to be separated for long periods of time. But don't panic yet, my long distance comrades. I've rounded up some relationship tips to help you make it through the trials and tribulations of long distance love.

1. Trust your significant other

Trust is huge in any sort of relationship, but it becomes increasingly important when you're separated by miles and miles. Obviously, you can't constantly check in on your partner in order to make sure that they're actually going where they said they would be. So you need to place a large amount of trust in your significant other, and have faith that they're being honest with you.

Or, you can be that obnoxious person who calls or texts every five minutes. But if you take that road, I wouldn't expect your relationship to make it for the long haul.

2. Make communication a priority

Communication is another one of those things that's crucial for any relationship. When you're long distance, communication is really all you have most of the time. You can't just simply get together and watch a movie in silence. Your "together time" pretty much consists of talking, whether that's via phone calls, text messages, Skype, or carrier pigeons.

But, communication extends far beyond just chatting regularly. In a long distance relationship, your partner will have a much more difficult time picking up on your nonverbal cues, such as your body language, facial expressions, and overall demeanor. So, you need to place an emphasis on quality communication. Always be forthcoming with your significant other, and tell them if there's something that's been bugging you, if they did something to upset you, or if you just feel like you're in a funk. Keeping the lines of communication open will make the entire relationship much easier.

3. Do little things to show you care

Here's another tricky thing about long distance love: it can be a lot more challenging to show how much you care. There's no dropping by your significant other's workplace in the morning to surprise them with their favorite cup of coffee. There are no backrubs after a tough exam or a bad day.

So, you need to get creative with other things you can do to show your partner how much you care. Mail a care package when it gets close to exam time. Have an order of buffalo wings delivered to his dorm room. Be constantly thinking of new (and preferably cheap!) ways that you can remind your partner how much you love them — even from afar.

4. Plan your visits far in advance

Back in my long distance days, there would be times when we would need to survive an extended period between visits. I won't sugarcoat it — it could definitely be brutal at times. But, planning our visits far in advance helped pull us through these long separations, as we could always look forward to the next time we were going to see each other.

Try to plan out your visits for the next few months, so you both have a good idea of how often (and when!) you'll be seeing each other. Of course, a surprise visit never hurt anyone either.

5. Coordinate fun activities for your visits together

Once you are finally reunited, it can be tempting to hole up in your dorm or apartment, and just enjoy being together. But, try to keep in mind that this is your chance to enjoy all of those "regular couple" date nights that you don't get to have any other time. So make the most of your visits, and plan some fun things that you can enjoy together.

Go mini golfing. Cook a fancy dinner together. Attend a concert. Go on a hike. Whatever shared interests you have, make the most of them during your visits!

6. Don't listen to the naysayers

I stuck it out through a long distance relationship for two and a half years before we even ended up in the same state. During that time, I received a lot of criticism and questions. Why would you want to torture yourself like this? Is there even a point to staying together if you never get to see each other? Are you sure this is worth it?

Well, I married the poor schmuck. So, I'm pretty sure that it was worth it. If there's one thing I know by now, it's that people are always going to have an opinion about what you're doing — even if it's none of their business. My best advice? Just ignore them. You're the one who needs to feel happy and fulfilled in your relationship. Not them.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Wendy Nelson/Flickr; Giphy (6)