Thoughts on Long Distance
Despite all of the criticism it receives, a long distance relationship can thrive while you are in school.
There is so much adversity to being in a relationship where your significant other is thousands of miles away. That is why it is so looked down upon. Well, anybody can overcome adversity, and I believe that this idea applies to long distance. Yes, it is possible to be in a happy long distance relationship. In fact, I'm an example of someone who is currently thriving in one. I have been with my beloved girlfriend for over two years, and we don't plan on ending it any time soon (or ever, for that matter). I know it may be hard to believe, but there are many Obies who have been or are still involved in a long distance relationship. I don't know this for sure, but I would not be surprised if there are Obies who eventually married their significant other from a long distance relationship. This article is for those who are trying to improve their long distance relationship while they are doing their own thing at Oberlin College. In fact, this advice could help anybody in a long distance relationship, not just Obies. This will just be more Obie-specific. I can already assure you that maintaining a romantic relationship like this is not going to be easy. It is going to take time and dedication. It is going to take all of the qualities as a normal relationship, and then some. If you are willing to maintain the relationship fiercely enough, it is very possible. Here are some tips that could make your long distance relationship as well as your time in Oberlin a lot better.
Try to establish the relationship more before you go off to Obieland. If that isn't possible, that's okay, too.
Ideally, your relationship with someone will have a certain amount of strength to it. If you feel like your relationship has lasted long enough for it to withstand the adversity that comes with long distance, go ahead and keep the relationship going! If you haven't talked to the other person for a long time before it develops into a serious long distance relationship, it's still okay to try. If you genuinely want to start a relationship with a person out of state, at least give it a chance. Love can show up in the weirdest ways, so don't shut off the opportunity if it could positively affect you. Now, I have to tell you that it will be far from easy to be in a relationship like this. There will be some fear that comes with going into a long distance relationship, but some of that fear may be reduced because you know that you and your partner have withstood other issues in the past. The amount of time you have been with your partner may not be the end all, be all in this situation, but it can make a difference.
Repeat after me: COMMUNICATION IS KEY! 1..2...3, COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
That's right! Being a great communicator will make your life a lot easier in any relationship. It is even more essential to a long distance relationship, because you won't be able to see your significant other as much, and because it may be a lot more difficult for both people to keep up with what their significant other is doing. Another aspect of communication in long distance relationships that hasn't been mentioned is an obvious one. Your significant other misses you! This person most likely wants to talk to you! Make an effort to reach out as often as possible. That way, you will be there for your significant other as often as possible. This points out another fact, which is that effort is essential to your relationship.
Effort is EVERYTHING. When less effort is put into a long distance relationship by either party, the relationship gets weaker.
It is the role of both parties to put effort into the relationship. Think of this like the relationship is a canoe on a river. This river is no ordinary river, either. It is a very difficult river to go canoeing in, but it is possible to make it through. If you make it through, the experience will be worth it because of all the fun you had despite the hardships. The river is a representation of the long distance between the two people in the relationship. Now, since this river is going to be tough to get through, you will need both people to steer the boat through the river. If one person is steering while the other isn't doing anything to make it easier to make it through, the boat may crash or even capsize. Your relationship may crash or capsize if you do not put forth the effort. The same idea applies to your significant other. If your significant other is not putting the same amount of effort into the relationship, try to talk to that person. Try to understand how any outside influences affect that person's life. If things still don't add up, persuade that person to put more of themselves into the relationship. Relationships in general are an investment. It must be treated like one in order for it to be maintained in a healthy way.
Surprise your significant other sometimes! Trust me; it works.
Sometimes it is necessary to show your significant other your appreciation by sending them a gift. It does not have to be expensive, either. I feel like that is a common misconception. You can buy tangible things for your significant other without spending that much. If you feel like you have to consistently spend a lot of money to please the other person in the relationship, you may not be in the healthiest relationship. Buying something for the other person should not have to put a financial burden on you. That's always how I looked at it. Do something that's more thoughtful instead of spending a lot of money. For instance, you could write letters to your significant other. That's something I do with my girlfriend, and she absolutely loves it.
Trust is imperative. That comes with EVERY relationship, though.
This idea is pretty straightforward. Every relationship needs trust to survive. This even applies to non-romantic relationships. Without trust, any relationship will fail. It is a scary thought, but I promise you this: Trust is not a difficult thing to maintain in a relationship if both sides do their part. Yes, it is a team effort. One person shouldn't display untrustworthy traits while the other person is doing their thing. That's ridiculous, and it could be potentially heartbreaking for both parties involved. Don't be untrustworthy. It's not worth all the consequences that come with it. Also, we already have midterms and finals to worry about. Why would you want an additional issue? Obies deal with enough stress!
Sharing schedules will make your lives so much easier!
One of the things I wanted to focus on in my own relationship is how I could make it easier for my girlfriend to know what I am going through on a daily basis. She does the same, and I am so grateful for that. It makes our lives easier, because we know when to call each other without interrupting any of the activities we are involved in. It goes back to the fact that communication is key. Without proper communication, the relationship may be in trouble. It depends on the couple's relationship dynamic, though. Some couples can handle limited communication, and some can't. Personally, I know that my relationship couldn't handle limited communication. That's why we make sure we keep each other updated. It's part of our own dynamic. We share class schedules with each other, which makes it easier to communicate throughout the day. Then, we have extracurriculars that we have to deal with, so the time we have to talk to each other is somewhat limited. If we didn't share our schedules with each other, who knows how frustrated we would be?
Being in a long distance relationship requires sacrifice!
There will be times where your friend group engages in activities that might not be best for those who are in relationships. For instance, many of my friends go on Tinder and routinely check out the Oberlin Crushes page. Unless you are in an open relationship, I would not recommend doing any of that. You can still have fun, of course. Just make sure you aren't putting your relationship in jeopardy when you are having fun in Obieland. Remember that when you enter a long distance relationship, it requires sacrifice. You won't be able to enjoy the same opportunities as your classmates. Fortunately, you will have your significant other. Having that person in your life is more satisfying than any other opportunity your single friends will have in their romantic lives. If you feel like you can handle all the adversity that comes with a long distance relationship, go ahead and take that chance. It could be one of the best decisions of your life. I know that my long distance relationship changed my life for the better. Maybe that could apply to you as well. Best of luck!