Ben Zentner, Columnist

 

Should college students try long-distance relationships?

The obvious answer from the average citizen is a resounding no. And for good reason. Long-distance relationships are hard, with a capital H. They’re time consuming, they’re frustrating and often they can be costly to maintain.

Long-distance relationships are a double-edged sword. Either limited in-person interaction makes you lose interest or you care about the other person so much that being apart hurts. And for this reason, many students deem long-distance relationships impossible.

My parents were in a long-distance relationship for an entire year. They talked on the phone only once or twice a week because of the extra charges for calling someone in another state. Now they’ve been happily married for over twenty years. So don’t rule out long-distance.

With modern technology like FaceTime and Skype, communication is much easier than ever before. Video chat in of itself allows for more natural communication than calling or texting. Apps and streaming services make it easy to do things like watch movies with your significant other over the internet.

If you care about someone deeply and want to be in a relationship with them, don’t let distance stop you. Admittedly it’s not for everyone. It takes two particularly attentive, loyal and understanding people to be successful.

Should you succeed, there are some exclusive advantages to having a long distance boyfriend or girlfriend.

Most notably, your relationship is forged in fire. If you can survive long distances, your relationship should be able to overcome pretty much anything. You become very accustomed to communicating with each other honestly about a constant problem (the distance). So when other issues come up, it’s much easier to work through them.

Dr. Crystal Jiang, from City University in Hong Kong, studied long distance relationships and concluded that “long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.” Communication is key to a healthy relationship and being long distance forces you to communicate more effectively than if you weren’t.

Further, your relationship is much more than physical. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of a relationship based on surface-level physical attraction. In order to make it last, you have to truly enjoy the other person’s personality. Romantic feelings are the emphasis, rather than sexuality.

In addition to your relationship being strengthened, there are also benefits for you, personally. You’re allowed to have lazy days. If you’re not presentable all of the time, your boyfriend or girlfriend won’t know and it’s not like you’re trying to impress anyone else!

You also get the attention and care of a significant other while remaining independent. You cannot get absorbed in the relationship; you’re forced to continue to have your own life. And you still (for better or worse) get plenty of “me” time.

Don’t rule out long-distance relationships at first glance. They take lots of planning but if you can sort out the logistics, at least give it a try if you find someone who’s worth it. It’s a risk, but the potential reward is too great to pass up.

Finding someone to love is hard enough. Don’t sabotage an opportunity to be with someone special because people say it won’t or can’t work. What do they know?