Distance complicates the when, where and how of making a relationship work.
When the love of your life resides hundreds of miles away, the emotional obstacles of a relationship are intensified. I have experienced firsthand the complications that occur in a long-distance relationship and how they force you into an early maturity. Below are some of the most common problems I have faced and how I’ve dealt with them:
A three-hour drive across several states can drain your bank account, but even worse are plane tickets. In the first year of our relationship, my boyfriend and I spent more than $1,400 for flights. This total does not even include the other costs associated with flying; extra baggage fees, gas to travel to the airport and long-term parking fares accumulate quickly.
Financial discussions become much more frequent in this type of relationship because you must decide how to divide the costs. If only one of you has a job, finances may become the most stressful part of your relationship. In addition, long-distance couples need to consider how much money they could save by waiting another two weeks or more to visit. Ultimately, you need to strike a balance between being financially responsible and maintaining a strong emotional bond.
Study-abroad trips, jobs, internships and classes will often anchor you to a certain location. Because of these obligations, you may not see your partner for months or even years. You might have to take off work or miss classes to visit them.
Spending the holidays together can be difficult to coordinate as well. Whose family should you celebrate Thanksgiving with? Will your parents be hurt if you’re not home for Christmas? Alternating where you stay is one solution, or you could simply live with being physically apart for the holidays; the issue is merely temporary.
While I have not personally had this problem, time-zone differences are another common issue for long-distance couples. Developing a daily routine for when you call or video chat can help ensure effective communication. Achieving your individual goals is highly important, but you must also avoid losing the emotional connection you have with your partner.
Regardless of the relationship, you will inevitably spend less time with your friends because of your commitment to your significant other. Because I often spend my academic breaks away from home, it is almost impossible to hang out with my hometown friends.
Although you could have group outings when your other half is in town, you may prefer to savor the precious few days you have alone together. If you plan on spending the holidays away from home, it might be best to spend more time with your friends during the school year.
College couples will often spend the night at each others’ place of residence, but rarely do they get to be together for days or weeks at a time. An apartment is the ideal housing for when your significant other comes to visit, but some are not so lucky. Dorm residents and commuters are faced with bigger challenges. In dorms, you will have to request permission from your roommate(s), and you might not have any privacy. You may have just as many concerns if you plan on staying at your house. Do your parents mind having a guest? Do they approve of you two sleeping in the same room?
Deciding where to live after graduation is another important decision experienced by all couples that could be potentially exacerbated by a long-distance relationship. You and your significant other may have different career goals; perhaps one of you wishes to go to a graduate program in your home state and the other has a job offer from a company in their home state. Before you make a decision, look for other options that would be beneficial for both of you.
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