Linked: Long Distance Relationships

Many of us went away to college and left our loved ones behind. It’s hard to say goodbye to our parents, friends and, even worse, our high school relationship. So hard, in fact, that some of us don’t say goodbye. Long distance relationships in college are fairly common, especially for underclassmen. When we fall in love young, we are willing to turn our world upside down for our boyfriend or girlfriend. Now, we take the next step in life, and sometimes, that step is miles away from love.

Column by Danielle Haberly

Do long distance relationships actually work? I believe a relationship separated by time and distance will only be successful if a few key factors are efficiently engaged.

Devotion: A partnership relies on the participation of both sides. The connection must be equally yoked. A cart led by two oxen can only more forward if both animals pull with equal power. If one pulls less than the other, the cart will roll over or in circles. The same goes for a long distance relationship. Each person has to be equally committed and enthusiastic about the success of the partnership.

Trust: If you don’t trust your partner while living in the same city, there is no hope for success miles away. However, being in a long distance relationship doesn’t mean you have to stay home every night, giving up your social life waiting for a phone call. If I go out to Dirty Sixth with my roommate on a Saturday night, my man needs to be comfortable with the fact that I will be drinking around a bunch of dudes. He also needs to be able to trust that I would never put myself in a situation to cheat. Without that trust, paranoia will rip apart our connection. When I get home from the bar, I call and tell him about my night. If he is accusatory and irritated that I went out and had a good time without him, I could become hostile and defensive. This could lead to a fight that would not be subdued without a face-to-face confrontation. Forgiveness is much harder to dish out over the phone.

Visuals/Vocals: To keep the flame alive, visuals and vocals are excellent reminders of why you are in a long distance relationship in the first place. Today, texting is an all-day, everyday phenomenon, but texting isn’t stimulating in the same way as hearing his/her voice or seeing his/her face. Send photos and call often. Tell them about your day using pictures. Snapchat is a fun app I’m sure most of you already use on a daily basis. Use apps like these to show them what you’re up to.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but take selfies! Text them to your lover so they can be saved and reviewed when they miss you. You don’t have to stay in constant contact with your partner, but when you’re bored and thinking about them, call. When something crazy, amazing or sad happens to you, call.

Word to the wise: Sending dirty photos is risky business. That may help keep the juices flowing, but things you send on your phone are hardly private or secure. Think about what will happen to that photo if you break up. Think about how you would feel if those images were posted on the Internet and seen by your mother or future employer. I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Finish line: The most important thing to do in a long distance relationship is to have an end goal in mind. My man graduates from Texas Tech in May. After, we plan to live in the same area, continue to date and see where it goes. If I didn’t have May to look forward to, I’d have to ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

A long distance relationship is meant to be temporary. There’s a difference between a "catfish" situation and being separated because of school. There is no point in putting in time and effort into a relationship if there is no plan to be together in the same physical location in the near future. Be devoted, but don’t throw away your life for them.

So, yes. Long distance relationships do work, but only if you are both committed, find creative ways to contact one another and plan to eventually live in the same area.