Dear Di

With summer approaching, many couples at the U of O might be at a tough crossroads. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader.
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Dear Ty,

I’ve been seeing someone I met at the U of O pretty seriously since the start of this semester, and as final exams and the end of the year approach, we’re trying to figure out where to take things next. My partner lives on one side of the country, and I’m on the other, and we’re both going home for the summer. Where do we go from here?

Summer Bummer

Dear SB,

Great question, and one I’m sure a lot of students at the U of O are contemplating themselves. Finding romantic relationships, sexual partners, and even love is an intrinsic part of the university experience for some people and it’s a lot of fun, but things can get tough when the end of the academic year approaches and you’re forced to go your separate ways until September.

I’m going to divide this answer into two broad sections since there are two major ways you could take this relationship over the summer months: To put it bluntly, you could stay together or break it off, and there are a few different ways each of these could work, and we’ll get to that below. Keep in mind that I’m not here to make decisions for you or to preach about how to navigate your own unique relationship. My only job is to give you all the information I can to help you make the choice that’s best for you and your partner.

As a rule of thumb though, whatever choice you do make, try to do it together with your partner through open, honest discussion. Weigh your pros and cons together and whatever choice you do make, stick to it to avoid confusion.

Option one: You stick together.

This approach, as you mentioned, entails a long-distance relationship, which isn’t actually as hard to navigate as people paint them to be.

Technology will never replace actually seeing your partner in person, but it’s coming close. Use all the social media and technological tools at your disposal to your advantage. This could look like Skyping or Facetiming your partner at a designated time every few days to maintain a routine of intimacy.

When you are on these calls, actually talk. Don’t just discuss the weather or what you’ve been binging on Netflix, but keep each other up to date on how your life’s been, what your summer has been like, and what emotions you’re feeling and thoughts you might be having. In essence, treat it like a great conversation you might have in bed, or over a fancy dinner date.

I’ll also address the elephant in the room: The horniness you’ll probably feel being away from your partner for so long — but don’t fret, there are easy ways to address this. For one, you could exchange nudes or sexts (see Ty’s full guide here), or even give phone sex a shot. If you’re looking to fly solo, there’s always masturbation.

On the other hand, you and your partner could discuss exploring an open relationship, where both you and your partner can have sexual relations with others while still maintaining your relationship. Prior to doing so though, ensure both you and your partner are fully comfortable with this approach and boundaries are clear so nobody’s feelings get hurt.

Option two: You break it off.

If you do choose to break it off, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to remain separated forever. Moreover, even if you do choose not to get back together as the next academic year begins when you’re both back in Ottawa, this doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. You’re both adults, so end the relationship with compassion and empathy.

Whatever choice you do make, know both are valid and deserving of respect from your friends, family members, and your partner as well. You owe them the same respect you expect from them.