You’ve been together since high school. Or maybe you just met each other that summer before you left for college. What are the chances that your romance will last while you are separated by distance, attending different colleges, or maybe working in your hometown and studying at school?
How it works will depend not only on levels of mutual engagement, but also on how you conduct yourself in what will likely be at least four years apart. Here are a few things to consider:
- It might sound crazy, but as much as you need to maintain regular and meaningful contact with your spouse, you need to give your baby some space as well. Texting and frantic phone calls can seem needy, and it really isn’t a good look if the other party enjoys the experience of meeting new people and expanding their boundaries.
- Establish a few ground rules before you go your separate ways. Talk about the relationship and what you hope will happen – together forever? Nothing wrong with that, even if you are young, and feelings can change. Or do you both think you should see other people during your separation? Agreeing to see other people, of course, means there’s a better chance that one of you will meet someone else. However, trying to maintain an exclusive relationship can be overly ambitious, given all the pressures and social options in college.
- Think of some ingenious ways to stay in touch – from a care set containing favorite snacks during a rough week to cute underwear you hope to see each other in the next time you meet. The COVID-19 pandemic, if it’s taught us anything, it’s how easily people can stay together apart, thanks to Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other long-distance communication apps.
- When it comes to privacy, you’ll need to sort out the details, from snuggling up in the dorm (your roommate may protest if your significant other is planning weekly visits) to frequent weekends at your five-person college in Athens in the Ohio with roommates walking through. It can get boring to take refuge in a bedroom, so add variety by going out to a new place every now and then.
- A little jealousy is natural and okay, so let your feelings be known. Don’t you really care how your partner’s study mate seems to be after him with excessive texting? Let him know. But remember: jealousy can be a relationship killer.
- Don’t make the mistake of planning a surprise visit. You can be unpleasantly surprised when you show up at a local bar where your partner is flirting with this hottie from his psychology class.