College and Long Distance Relationships

by Quentin Singer

No matter what anyone tells you, being in a long distance relationship is not an easy situation. Given the vast student body, along with the 100+ countries represented, long distance relationships are especially present here at Berklee College of Music. I’m 2 1/2+ years into a long distance relationship, so I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and advice to those just starting, or even those struggling with the many challenges of long distance. While it’s good to bear in mind not all relationships are the same, and every couple has their own share of problems, there are many issues that are common ground for couples, particularly those who face long distance.

During my senior year of high school, I was blessed with meeting my best friend and the woman I get to call my partner in crime. Within the first few months of dating we had to ask the question: do we want to do long distance? It wasn’t a matter of choice for both of us, and without question, we wanted to. However, knowing how far apart we’d be was an incredibly scary and intimidating feeling. She’s native Italian and goes to school/lives in Rome, while I’m a US native and from Northern Virginia. Often times couples find themselves in this circle of fear, sadness, and aghast, specifically in the first year of distance, and there’s no denying we’ve both felt so on a number of occasions. These feelings are completely normal and serve as a testament to how important and special your relationship is. So for any couples feeling the long-distance blues, it’s absolutely natural, but it’s good to know how to express these emotions. Taking into account your student life, your relationships shouldn’t feel intrusive of your college experience. It’s absolutely necessary to express your thoughts and concerns with your partner, but know how to do so without becoming overbearing to them. For instance, if you’re feeling sad, doubtful, and/or lonely, of course, it’s good to talk to your partner about it, but be conscious of the stress you might be putting on them. You both are developing into adults and need your space to study, learn, and enjoy college. If reoccurring issues keep circulating throughout your relationship, long distance can feel more burdensome to both parties.

Generally speaking, it’s healthy to develop a sense of space to let each other enjoy college. Whether it’s Friday night and your friends want to go out, but your partner wants to hang out and Skype, be mindful of which experience is a priority. If Skype sessions are consistent throughout the week, it’s great every now and then to encourage your partner to go out and hang with friends. In doing so, you develop a healthy communication with your partner, and they admire the fact you recognize these opportunities. If you’re constantly eager to Skype throughout the week, it can be detrimental to the relationship, and ultimately make Skype sessions feel more like a chore then a fun-relaxing time with the person you love. However, that’s not to say there aren’t moments where Skype/calling is more important, it’s just knowing when and what is the priority at that given time. Finding a balance in communication is absolutely critical in establishing a healthy long-distance relationship.

Whenever I hear a couple is doing long distance, I get instant admiration for them. While this might sound cheesy, it truly shows the couple is willing to go through thick and thin in order to be with the one they love, and it reflects how special the relationship is to them. To me, that’s part of what true love is, commitment, and not giving up when your relationship faces astronomical challenges. I strongly believe life isn’t fulfilling if it isn’t hard and that the same can be said for relationships; they’re not fulfilling if there’s no sacrifices and challenges. Again, all of this is just my opinion and every relationship works differently, but given the vast amount of long-distance couples at Berklee, and my own personal experience, I thought it would be helpful to share some insight on what I think makes a healthy long-distance relationship.