As the school year winds down and you start to let thoughts of summer days creep into your longing, vacation-starved daydreams, some of you may be wondering what will become of your relationship in the coming summer months. If you’re not going home to your relationship or spending the summer with your significant other, read on.
It could be that you’re already a pro from last summer, or maybe you’re so confident that you’re not worried. Perhaps you haven’t thought about it yet, but maybe you’re one of the many people that asked me to write in my own area of expertise: the dreaded long-distance relationship.
If you’re just sitting wondering what distance will do to your relationship, I’m here to tell you how you might be able to strengthen it. While it’s true that distance can make a relationship harder, there’s a lot you can learn through spending some time apart. In many ways, it’s good for you.
While the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” may make some of you secretly roll your eyes, it’s actually true of relationships. Often difficult things you go through as a couple can make you more secure in your relationship.
To survive a long-distance relationship, the first ingredient you’ll need is commitment. It’s best if you’re at a point where you feel a real connection with the person you’re dating. Equal commitment is crucial to a serious relationship. Once you’re committed, it’s important to keep it there if you want your relationship to remain solid. Think of it this way: you’ll have a main form of communication while you’re away from each other. If one of you “slacks off,” the other is left feeling lonely and neglected. Don’t go there. Be as committed apart as you are together. Would you ever forget to hang out with your significant other while you’re on the same campus? Then don’t forget to call or be available when you say you’re going to be.
That brings me to the second ingredient: trust. Relationship trust is something you need anyway. Why is it so important when you’re apart? When you’re not with your significant other for the majority of your free time, you have to realize that she/he will be spending a lot of time with other people. I already wrote on jealousy in my last article. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, don’t let your imagination get the best of you. You know the person you’re dating. You know that person romantically better than anyone else. Don’t let a false sense of fear creep in and ruin something great. Trust your partner. In fact, you can talk about how much you care about each other. If you miss him/her, talk about it! Don’t dwell on it. You’ll make yourself miserable. However, it doesn’t hurt to tell your partner how you feel.
Talk about the little things. Any insecurities you have about your relationship that seem small now can easily be blown bigger when you go long-distance and don’t have the ease of talking whenever you want to. Don’t pick at or nag your partner, but do discuss things you don’t feel great about. If you’re feeling anxious about taking the relationship long-distance, talk about it now. It’s a lot easier to get it out on the table and at least to be thinking about it before you can’t see each other every day.
I’ve witnessed couples who bottle up the fact that they’re nervous about long-distance, and they are the ones who I’ve seen blow up or freak out the moment they realize how long 2.5 months feels. The ones that talk about it ahead of time are the ones that make a commitment to talk once a day, every other day, etc. There are some things you won’t know ahead of time, but talking about the need for it will help once it comes.
One of the most important things you can do is to call when you say you’re going to—follow through. Even if it’s “I don’t know when we can talk tomorrow, but I’ll call you tomorrow,” it’s better than nothing at all. Give a ballpark time (around 6, right after lunch, before dinner, etc.). When you make that time, DON’T fall short. I can’t stress enough how important it is to call when you say you’re going to. It’s your form of communication. It might seem small, but it can deteriorate relationship trust if your partner doesn’t feel he/she can trust you to keep your word.
All-in-all, if you can keep these simple aspects in mind as you go off on your summer holiday and talk about if before you leave, you’re in for a relatively easy time apart. Keep in touch and keep communicating.
Love from me to you,
P.S. This is my last column at Prin since I’ll be graduating in June, but if you’d like to keep following, you can follow my blog at http://lovefromlaurentoyou.blogspot.com.