Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Love over location: A college student’s guide to long distance relationships

Rachel Choi
Illustration Rachel Choi

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice. 

As a senior in high school, people told me to break up with my boyfriend before I left for Emerson to ensure I got the “full college experience.” This suggestion was combined with cautionary tales of long distance relationships gone wrong where people cheated or grew apart and ultimately broke up. 

In spite of these warnings, my boyfriend and I decided to stay together as we moved away to schools that were hundreds of miles apart. Six months later, I remain happy with the decision I made and have found that long distance can work while you enjoy college. 

With that in mind, here are my tips for maintaining a happy and healthy long distance relationship. 

1. Text, but not too much

One of the best ways to get the most of your college experience is to limit your time glued to your phone. It’s important to communicate with your partner throughout the day, but texting them shouldn’t distract you from classes, school work, or from spending time with your friends. This can be hard at first, but try letting your partner know when you are busy and then put your phone down. Out of sight, out of mind. Live in the present!

2. Calling is key

We live in an age where you cannot only hear a person’s voice with the push of a few buttons, but also see them for a face to face conversation. One of the benefits of long distance is that you will usually have more to talk about than if you are always together, especially if you text less during the day. My boyfriend and I FaceTime almost every day and love hearing what the other person is up to. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, I have found that getting to speak to one another and seeing them—even just on a phone screen—makes all the difference. 

3. Don’t lose date night

We all have days where there just isn’t much to talk about, but it is still important to prioritize quality time together. Long distance shouldn’t restrict you to just talking on the phone; there are plenty of fun activities you and your partner can do virtually. 

  • Games

There are many online games you and your partner can try out. These are a great way to spend time together and get the conversation going when you don’t have much to say. When I video chat with my boyfriend, we often share our screens and spend some of the time playing the New York Times mini games together. You can also play games like 20 Questions or Would You Rather to spark a conversation. 

  • Movie night

A classic stand by for date night is easy to replicate online! Through programs like Teleparty, you can pick a movie or show and watch at the same time as you call. 

  • Dinner dates

For couples who miss going to restaurants together, try FaceTiming while you eat. A fun option is to turn it into a game by using DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Postmates to send food to one another and surprise your partner with a dish you know they love. 

  • Get creative

If you have a little more time on your hands, a fun thing to do is break out the crafts. While you FaceTime, you and your partner can draw, paint, make collages, sculpt with clay, make bracelets, or do any other art project. Participating in the same activity while miles apart can help you feel closer together, and you can even make gifts for one another for the next time you see each other. 

4. Express your love 

If physical touch is your love language, you may be wondering how to show affection for your partner when you don’t occupy the same space. The key is making sure you communicate your love for your significant other. Whether it is just sending a random sweet text to let them know you are thinking of them, or mailing them a love letter or care package, I find that small gestures make a big difference in ensuring your partner knows they are appreciated. 

5, Communication is key!

The biggest asset to a successful long distance relationship is good communication. Not being physically together can make it harder to determine your partner’s mood or how they feel about something. Establishing expectations up front of how often you want to call and text, how often you plan to see each other, anything that makes you uncomfortable about being apart, and more can save you a lot of disagreements and pain down the line. However, the communication should not stop at this point, and it is important to be honest with one another if you are upset, feeling lonely, or just having a hard day and need to talk (or need space). 

Long distance relationships require significant commitment to one another, but they are possible and can be rewarding if you and your significant other are willing to put in the work. Every couple is different, but if you decide staying together is the right choice for you, these tips may help you keep the love alive regardless of location.

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