Hey I’ve recently gotten a lot of readers reaching out about one topic specifically, how to make long distance work…in college. & oh have I been there, and done that. For anyone that doesn’t know, Matt (my long term boyfriend) and I have held a relationship for 8 years, HOWEVER, four of those years were via a long distance relationship. I actually attended college in San Diego while Matt attended college in New York, so I’m talking about cross-country long distance, OH BOY.
Before going any further, like every relationship post, I always encourage you to do what works for you, and I’m in no way saying what I did is the right way, but here’s my experience with the touchy topic that is long distance.
& like the OCD college note-taker in me, I’ve made a syllabus to help break the process down.
A) Distance DOESN’T Always Make the Heart Grow Fonder…
First off, let’s debunk one of those old-wives tales, aka, distance makes the heart grow fonder. I get why people feel this way, and I believe this phrase is completely true for short time periods. It’s exciting going out in the world and having your own experience to bring back to the table, and it’s SO FUN reuniting and catching up like two peas in a pod.
Whenever I’m traveling for a shoot or to visit friends, without Matt, it’s fun and exciting to reconnect after one to three weeks apart; it’s like a relationship cleanse and yes, totally makes the heart grow fonder. BUT two months and up, without seeing each other is a different story. That’s when the debunking comes in because you get into the ‘drifting zone’ and we’ve all been there.
B) MOST IMPORTANT: The Drifting Zone…
Definition: It’s basically the point of no return, it’s that moment when your friend is telling you a story and you realize you have no idea who, what or where they are talking about. It’s the moment when you’re not able to relate….
I’m a firm believer that we have all or will all eventually experience, the drifting zone. Whether it be with a friend, relationship, family member or co-worker; some relationships just aren’t meant to stand the test of time, AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! I’ve had plenty of friendships fizzle out, it’s just part of life.
Let me take a step back if you’re still confused as to what the drifting zone is, I’ll break it down further. Let’s say you’re a sophomore in college, look back at your high school friends, I’m sure there are some you’ve just drifted away from. Drifting is easy, and it’s usually a two-sided issue, and the scariest thing about drifting is that it’s the silent killer of relationships. You’ll always hear about the horrible stories of long distance relationships failing because of cheaters, because of a huge fight or because of jealousy; but to be honest, a lot of long term relationships fail because people just end up drifting apart.
It’s hard having a relationship where your significant other or friend, doesn’t know your college friends, the environment you live in or your schedule/class load. I still to this day, have never been to Matt’s college campus and Matt still to this day hasn’t met all my California friends; which makes some exchange college stories, not as fun or interesting.
So I get a lot of questions about how to prevent drifting and here are a few easy ways: 1) visit each other, 2) facetime and 3) active listening and engagement (get your friends on facetime, actively listen and engage with what they’re saying…always ask questions!).
C) Jealous Jelly Bean…
By nature I’m not a jealous person, sometimes I think Matt wishes I was more jealous because it’s not an emotion I evoke. I always joked with my friends saying, I’m too focused on myself to spend time being jealous…which sounds horrible but is true. I was way too focused in college on launching my blog to be worried about who Matt was hanging out with on a Friday night or a girl he had a group project with. I had zero worries and my roommates always made fun of me for this, stating I was like the man in the long-term relationship.
I just had a very relaxed approach to long-distance and I think that came from 1) not being a jealous person but also 2) by being confident in the relationship Matt and I have. We are both very (I hate this word) confrontational people, which meant if our relationship was going to blow up…IT WOULD BE APPARENT. We have very loud, strong and vocal communication skills; but I think that’s why long distance worked for us…if someone wasn’t happy they voiced it!
Anyway, Jealous Jelly Beans are a NO GO for long-distance, and if you’re one of these beans, especially if you don’t like confrontation, then either rethink taking your relationship long-distance or readjust your attitude.
D) Conclusion: Keep Me Posted…
This was always and still is my go to line with long distance relationships. Keep me posted, was how I ended every phone call. Making yourself available via phone is really important, it’s kind of like being a life coach; if Matt had a group project, interview or test…I wanted to know about it.
If you want to make long distance work than you NEED to stay up to date with current events, and constantly check up on them. No one like a friend that sits there and talks only about themselves, make sure to always stay up to date with what’s going on in your friends like and leave yourself open to hearing about it.
Basically, keep lines of communication mutually beneficial and ACTUALLY LISTEN, because where your attention goes your energy flows! & here’s a NEWSFLASH, long distance takes up both a lot of time and energy so don’t be hasty.
Okay, so that’s my long-distance syllabus for the fall semester. Should I do a second one for spring semester? Let me know below, along with any other tips and tricks you guys have up your sleeves. xx Aubrey