On Going the Distance
Being in a long-distance relationship in college is very much like being the only sober person at a Beer Olympics party before finals. While you may not be having as much fun as everyone else in the moment, the next morning when you’re able to study for that one last exam while your roommate is puking her brains out, you realize that the sacrifice of a fun night was actually worth the long-term payoff of an “A” on your exam.
In other words, while maintaining long-distance relationships in college can be extremely challenging at times, they also have the potential to create a new level of maturity for those partaking in them. Furthermore, being in a long-distance relationship in college can teach a person to appreciate the importance of commitment, communication, and finding alternative ways to have fun.
Dare I say that a person can actually benefit from being in a long-distance relationship in college?
I would argue that one thing that is unique about this type of relationship is that while typical dating on a college campus can—not always, but sometimes—be the product of convenience or constant horniness, most long-distance relationships in college require finding a connection with someone on a different, deeper level. Because being in a long-distance relationship means pushing yourself to communicate without constant physical contact with your significant other. It means focusing on the important emotional conversations that push your relationship forward and forgetting about the trivial arguments that many times occur between couples when they spend day in and day out together.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is not my intention in any way to belittle non-long distance daters in college, but rather to simply defend those of my peers who may look crazy to bystanders as they talk to their computer or phone screens any free second they get. Access to technology becomes crucial in most long-distance relationships today, but lucky for those long-distance daters out there, technology is also crucial in most life experiences today. And let it be known that it is definitely not a myth that Skype calls ending abruptly will cause blue balls for many.
Relationships in college are a rather complicated thing. For those of us dating a person at a small university like Wesleyan, chances are somebody you know has gotten cozy with your significant other before you came around and chances are you will see that person at most—if not all—social events wearing high-wasted jeggings you could never pull off. The rather incestuous college hook-up scene at a small school is a whole other op-ed piece in itself, but what I will say here is that learning how to have fun without always having someone to go home with is actually a valuable lesson in life. While you will inevitably be missing your significant other, not always having them around will teach you how to be self-sufficient. In many cases, it can also motivate you to create sincere relationships with your peers, avoiding the more superficial interactions that come with the one-night-stand approach that is so typical of college social life.
The bottom line is that while long-distance relationships are rarely conducive to short-term fun, enduring a long-distance relationship causes one to take a huge step into adulthood, an achievement that will stay with you well beyond your college years.