I am an international student, I go to college in the U.S. and I have a boyfriend at home. No, we weren't high school sweethearts, we kind of just met last summer and then it all happened. And now I am here to try to convince all of you out there that long distance relationships can totally work, and that they aren't as bad as they sound so I'm sharing with you today what my boyfriend and I have found to be helpful.
I met my boyfriend this past summer, and we were just dating for about a month before it was time for me to leave for college again. This means that we did not have a lot of time together before we had to make a decision about what we were going to do. I am the kind of person who would rather try to make something work than simply give up on something that could have turned out really great. So after some talking, we decided to try it and see how it would work out. A few days later, he came to the airport with my family at 5 in the morning to say goodbye to me along with my family. This is after comforting me all night because hey, going back to college in another country can be scary even if you're not a freshman anymore, and after some tears, off I went.
You might have never thought about this, but being physically apart basically forces you to communicate much more than you might have done if you saw each other several times a week. In fact, we talk a lot. Everyday. Mostly about random things. For example, he messaged me earlier today about whether he should wear a dress shirt today or not, and that he went grocery shopping yesterday, but we also regularly check in and see how the other person is doing. (We use WhatsApp, an online texting app that is really popular everywhere in the world except for the US. You should all get it. Just saying). The campus house I lived in this year started doing what we call 'feelings check' every night where you tell everyone about one high and one low of your day and you can talk about your feelings and thoughts and all. After having a really positive experience with that, I suggested to my boyfriend that every night before each of us goes to bed, we write each other our highs and lows of the day. I personally think that that really helped with communication as you share everything about your day with the other person and talk about things that bothered you, things that made you really excited, and also everything that happened during a bad day. Due to the time difference, the other person always wakes up with highs and lows to read and then can reply to them. So then consequently, the person who sent the message about their day wakes up with responses from the other person. It's quite a nice thing to do because you don't usually constantly update the other person on what you are doing every second of the day and how you are feeling. It's a good way to know what is going on in each others days, especially the parts that happen while the other person is sleeping. This, in addition to weekly skype conversations really help us keep in touch, and we never really feel that far apart from each other because we developed a really strong emotional connection over time.
Psst... if you want to do something special, you can always send the other person gifts! Whether it is ordering something on Amazon in your partner's country or ordering something on Etsy, there are a million ways to send each other small gifts occasionally. Who doesn't love gifts? The most important part, of course, is to unbox the package you received while you're Skyping with the other person, because reactions are priceless.
Of course, when you're in college, you should be pretty clear on when you will be traveling home. For me, it's for winter break and summer break, making the time apart only 3 to 4 months each. When you think about it, that's really not that bad! Then, when you finally come back home, it's really excited and you have butterflies in your stomach and it's like falling in love all over again!
For me long distance works really well, and I encourage you all to try it if you are not ready to leave someone you just barely started with behind. I know that these kinds of relationships don't work for everyone, and that's ok too. Everyone is different and it's important to keep that in mind. I just wanted to show you what my boyfriend and I do. It might help someone out there. Fact is, your partner should always be there for you in the good and in the bad times. Don't be afraid to call them in the middle of the night when you're really not doing well, and don't be afraid to tell them what's going on in your mind. That's what being in a relationship is all about, it's about finding your person who is your best friend, but that you also have romantic feelings for. It doesn't matter whether you partner is 4,300 miles away or in a residence hall across campus. If your partner is not there for you, and you don't feel comfortable enough to tell them anything over time, then the relationship won't work regardless of how far away from each other you are. At least that's my opinion. So go out there, take some risks because you never know how rewarding the experience might be!
(Thanks to my lovely boyfriend for suggesting this topic, you're the best and I love you.)