Friday, July 21, 2017

Why It's Okay to Be in a Long-Distance Relationship in College

Hello, beautiful! This post is a bit different than most I've been sharing recently, but I thought it was really important to weigh in on this issue as many of you graduating seniors start to head to college.

Obviously, I can't tell you whether or not you should break up with your boyfriend (or girlfriend or non-binary partner - I'm not one to judge!) before college - only you and your significant other can make that decision for yourselves. However, many posts I read on this subject seem to say that heading into college single is the best and only decision for your future. In short, this post is all the reasons why I think that's completely false!

As a bit of a disclaimer, my boyfriend Ryan and I have been together for over two years now, and the second year of our relationship overlapped with my freshman year of college. Looking back on it, staying together through all of the long nights and exhausting commutes has been tough, but I am so happy I did it and wouldn't change anything about our relationship for the world. I wouldn't want any of my readers to deny themselves that happiness just because an article told them being single was the right thing to do!

I'd also like to clarify that this isn't a post full of reasons to stay with your boyfriend if the relationship isn't working out. Instead, it's a list of reasons why you shouldn't automatically break up with your boyfriend if you don't want to just because you're heading to college in the fall.

When I was a senior in high school and knew I wasn't ready to end my relationship with Ryan, I remembered how disheartening it was to read article after article glorifying the "single life" in college and ripping on long-distance relationships. So, here I am to present the alternative argument for any of you girls who aren't ready to move on just yet: here's 6 awesome reasons why it's okay not to be single during your freshman year of college!

P.S. Check out my feature in As Life Grows' College Relationship Q and A for more of my thoughts on being in a long-distance relationship!

Long distance sucks no matter what...

...not just in college! Admittedly, after experiencing it for a year now, maintaining an LDR in college is tough - much tougher than maintaining an ordinary relationship, or even an LDR outside of college. With a busy schedule that often won't overlap with your significant other's, finding time to connect after a long day can sometimes seem impossible. But even though going the distance in college sucks sometimes, that's no reason to break up with someone who you're ready to take the plunge with. You should make your decision based on whether or not you can see yourself in a long-distance relationship with them period, not strictly because you're going to college.

You'll get to experience many firsts together

Relationships are all about shared experiences, and in college, you'll be experiencing a lot of new things you've never tried before. Whether it's your first party, your first sip of alcohol, your first failed class or your first rejection letter from grad school, there's nothing more special than sharing all of these "firsts" with someone you love. If you can't imagine yourself going through any of these experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly - without your significant other by your side, then don't break up with him just because someone told you you should be single in college! In many ways, your relationship will help you make the most of these experiences - and it won't hold you back like some may suggest.

Freshman year is an emotional time

Heading off to college is difficult. You're leaving behind your friends, your family, your home and completely starting over in a new town and a new school full of new people and places - which can be just as scary and sad as it is exciting! Honestly, my freshman year of college was an emotional rollercoaster, and I'm not sure I would have survived it without Ryan by my side. As long as you can see your significant other being your shoulder to cry on and your ear to listen during this time, rather than someone who will worsen your emotional transition, it's worth considering a long-distance relationship instead of just breaking up.

Technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch

I have to commend all of my ancestors who were ever in an LDR, because being in a long-distance relationship in the days of old-fashioned letter-writing must have been excruciatingly difficult. Today, with inventions like FaceTime and 24/7 texting, maintaining a healthy relationship from miles away has become easier than ever. There's even websites designed specifically for couples in long-distance relationships - check out this awesome list of 130 online and real-time activities from LDR Magazine for just a sample of all the technology that's out there. So, if your greatest concern about a long-distance relationship is that you'll miss each other too much, remember all the amazing resources the world has made available right at your fingertips! I feel so incredibly blessed that no matter where I am, hearing Ryan's voice is only ever a phone call away.

An LDR will test the strength of your trust in one another

In many ways, maintaining a healthy relationship is all about faith - having faith not just in the other person, but also faith in yourself. If you're someone who gets jealous, suspects your significant other of cheating or knows your S.O. has lied to you (or that you've lied to them) in the past, then a long-distance relationship will only bring these problems further into the vanguard of your relationship. On the other hand, if you have a strong, healthy connection with one another supplemented by a deep and lasting trust, a long-distance relationship can highlight all the already beautiful and wonderful aspects of your relationship. If you know you trust your significant other, then don't let go of that faith just because you're heading off to college away from home. Test it, and prove to yourselves just how strong your relationship truly is! 

True love will wait

Any couple in a long distance relationship knows the truth behind these words: true love will wait! If you really, truly love someone, that person will wait as long as they have to before you can be together again. Taking the plunge into a long-distance relationship defies all the odds, and all the people who say that being single in college is the best way to go. It's a stunning gesture that proves your genuine love and deep commitment to one another. Though many people will tell you it's unlikely to marry your high school sweetheart, or even stay with them for longer than a few years, I think any couple that's willing to wait four years to see each other every day again has a better chance of making it than most :)

What are your thoughts on long-distance relationships? Would you (or have you) ever gone the distance? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!

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