College Long Distance Relationship: My Experience

We started dating the second semester of my freshman year, his sophomore year. I’m not afraid to admit that I definitely worried about it way more than I should have. Since I met him my freshman year, a lot of my college experience included him. So, I couldn’t imagine continuing my experience without having him around (it’s like going through winter without leggings… like, do I know how to do that? Would I survive? LOL half joking).

At this time last year, I remember constantly thinking and dreading about what would happen after he graduated. What would the distance be like? Would it work? Will it last? Would it be too different? I’m not kidding when I say that these questions literally popped into my head one after another whenever I heard “May,” “next year,” or… duh duh dum “GRADUATION.”

My mom and I were out to lunch last year when she said “Aww, so Fonz won’t be here next year. You’re gonna miss having him around!” or something nonchalant along those lines. Around this time of year, the thoughts were beginning to brew in my head, so when she made that comment– I literally started crying. In the middle of a nice lunch. Pretty randomly. It was one of those times when someone says something as a simple part of a conversation, you reply not really thinking about it; you reply normally, mindlessly even, THEN you think about it… 30 or so seconds of silence as you continue to eat… and then you feel that stinging in your eye and that lump in your throat. Finally, the other person is totally confused as to why you look like Kim K. Even you’re confused. Ugh.

(I’ve been told an unfortunate amount of times that I cry like Kim).

Having this annoying, sort of nagging thoughts were especially weird for me though. I always tend to be an over thinker. However, when it comes to him, I never usually overthink things too much. Our relationship has always been pretty chill and we click. We know how to communicate and I feel lucky that I was never a girl in the unfortunate position where I was left wondering what he was feeling all the time. With that being said, it’s always been easy. So, I think knowing that the whole distance thing would be thrown into the mix– I wasn’t sure what to expect and how things would change.

I’m actually such a freak I Googled it (like how I say I’m and over thinker, I’m also a Googler). I love reading; especially reading about people’s experiences, thoughts, ideas, etc. (I am a journalism major, so makes sense I guess). While I laid in bed one night with my phone held over my face I thought, there are definitely girls who have been in my situation where their boyfriend graduated college before them– super common. However, I stumbled upon sooo many articles like “Why College Relationships aren’t Worth it in the Long-Term” and “Graduation: the killer of college relationships.” OK, like jeez. Why so negative? Even the ones that were semi-positive were simply weird. They were mostly listicles that listed things that were seemingly, undoubtedly going to happen; such as “He will no longer want to party” and “You will have less things in common” blah bah blah. While I give those writers props for putting in such a detailed effort, (I mean, those were exactly what I was looking for– answers) they don’t mean anything.

When I sat down to write this, I was thinking I would do something similar, but less detailed such as putting together my tips and advice to make an LDR work. But then I realized that I wouldn’t be completely truthful. How am I supposed to know what would work for another relationship? Every relationship is so different, it’s impossible to tailor your tips and answers to someone else. As I go back and read those articles that I initially Googled, most of their advice doesn’t apply to me at all. Although this article is already getting pretty long, bare with me, because I’m just going to share my experiences so far. And you can do what you want with it.:

Yeah, it was weird at first. And yeah, sometimes I still cry like Kim K.

He was no longer a two-minute drive from my house, but now a 7-hour drive. Back to the leggings thing– it literally felt like having something you look forward to wearing– just not there anymore. Whenever I thought of going back to school, it always meant going back to him. We’ve gone through long distance before (we aren’t from the same area) during breaks and all that. So, college was the place where we came back to each other. Again, like leggings, you go back to them in the colder months. They are your favorite thing to wear, you look forward to wearing them, they make you feel good, etc you get my point (I’m so annoying, I know), then it’s like, WHAT DO I DO WITHOUT THEM NOW?

I became closer with my friends. 

We’ve never been the type of couple to be joined at the hip. We rarely went out to bars with each other on the weekends, or ate tons of meals together. Instead, we spent our time together in a different way that worked for us. Friends are very important to both of us, so maintaining friendships were always a priority. Not to say that we put them before our relationship– but we achieved a balance. Because of that balance, I always thought that I was so close with my friends, I couldn’t possibly become any closer. But I did. I can’t really explain why this happened other than stating the obvious: Almost all of my time (even though it never seemed like a ridiculous amount of time) that I would’ve spent with him, was now time spent with friends.

It was amazing when he visited for the first time. 

Both our hearts definitely grew fonder. This is something that year-ago-Mac would’ve been SO relieved to hear. When he visited for the first time this past weekend, we were really able to spend quality time together. We went out to lunch and dinners, went on a hike, watched Netflix, etc. all that fun stuff. When we were at school, we always had to cut time short for meetings, practice, homework and class. Now, when we are with each other, we are only focused on one thing. I made sure to finish everything I needed to get done for the week before he came and cleared my schedule.

Conversations have become more meaningful. 

I found that since we weren’t talking in person every day, when we do talk (usually most of the time on FaceTime), it’s at the end of the day and there always feels like there’s so much to say. It’s something that we look forward to. Additionally, because we can’t simply “hang out,” we both have to put in effort to have conversations rather than a brief recap about our day.

I’ve been more excited? 

I don’t know exactly how to explain this other than I’ve been more excited about life? I’m not sure if that even makes sense to me… hence the question marks. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m always looking forward and excited for the next time I’m going to see him and we’ll be together, planning dates and things to do. And overall, I’m excited to see what the future holds after I graduate. After seeing him and talking about all of his options for a career and what not– it’s contagious thinking. I can’t help but look at him and know that life after college is incredibly exciting.

Ultimately every realtiionship is different– the only way to experience it is to do it. You can’t plan for it and nobody can tell you what it’s going to be like!

(shoutout to keegs for the extra insight) 


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