Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Adding longevity to your long-distance relationship

When I first met my current boyfriend of nearly two years, I told him that I would never be in a long-distance relationship. End of discussion. At this point, he had just enlisted in the United States Army which, to me, meant we would never date.


Looking back, I believe my reluctance was based on the common assumption that long-distance relationships ultimately fail. I have had countless people tell me, point blank: “Long distance doesn’t work.”

We are hard-wired to believe two things about dating: First, that in order to maintain a happy relationship, you have to spend every waking second together; and second, that if your relationship is based on long distance and fails, the distance is undoubtedly the cause of its downfall.

Neither is true.

Though physical intimacy is a key part of any healthy relationship, couples can manage to be faithful and happy, even if they spend extended periods of time apart.

So how do you make a long distance relationship work?

Don’t let the distance define you.

When long-distance couples have problems, everyone blames the distance first. But most likely, this isn’t the cause of your struggle. Treat your relationship like any other: Focus on what you love about that person, what you like to do together and where you see the two of you in the future. However…

Do accept the distance.

It shouldn’t become a monster you refuse to talk about. If you start thinking of your significant other in the context of the struggle against distance, instead of seeing him or her as the person you like to sit up drinking beers with until three in the morning, listening to weird indie music while your upstairs neighbors pound on the floor telling you to be quiet, you are in trouble.

Do define your relationship.

You cannot have a successful relationship if one person is insecure about where you stand. Before one member leaves for a new locale, decide what you are. Are you monogamous? Are you just having fun? How serious are you? These are all very important things to know, because if you don’t define a relationship, your expectations are likely going to be very different from your significant other’s. One of you is going to do something that hurts the other without meaning to, and without technically doing anything wrong, because neither of you ever declared where the “line” was.

Don’t convince yourself that you’re missing out.

Ever heard the phrase, “The grass is always greener?” People who are single tend to wish that they were in a relationship. People in relationships, who often have doubts or fears regarding them, always fall back on how great it was to be single and unattached. But think really hard. Was it so great? Was it better than being in a loving, open, honest relationship with someone you care deeply for? If the answer is yes, well, maybe monogamy isn’t for you, and that’s fine. But if the answer is no, you’re just overthinking things and need to calm down. Are you really going to let a few nights alone keep you from spending your life with someone who makes you truly happy?

Do save money.

You don’t want to reach a point where you are forced to choose between paying rent and seeing your beau for the holidays.

Don’t cheat.

Just don’t do it. If you want to be with someone else so badly that you can’t wait for the person you love, maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship at all.

Do make time for them.

Make Skype or FaceTime dates. Text them. Call when you can. Set times and dates for video chat. Agree on when you’ll see each other again. You are less likely to feel insecure or forgotten if you keep all lines of communication open.

Do make time for your friends.

When your significant other is away, don’t spend every single night talking to them. Don’t text them the entire time you are out with your friends. It’s not emotionally healthy for you to dwell on their absence and alienate your best support system.

Do be creative.

Write letters. Share photos. Send each other videos or leave voicemails. Google other cute ideas to surprise one another. There’s a lot more information out there to help make long distance easier.

And last but not least…

Do remember that no one knows your relationship as well as you do.

People have their opinions, but the only opinions that really matter are those of yourself and your significant other. If you are truly right for each other, then the distance will not destroy you.

Steffi Porter can be reached at [email protected].

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