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Tips for making relationships work over a distance

Photo by Tina Wallace

When you or the person you love decides to move hundreds of kilometres away for school, you are faced with a tough decision: do you break up or stay together?

This is something I faced when my boyfriend of two and a half years received a scholarship to play baseball in the U.S. We decided to stay together, and during my second year of university we entered a long-distance relationship.

Whenever I told someone I was in a long-distance relationship, they  greeted me with mixed responses like, “Oh, that sucks,” or “Really? I could never do that.” It quickly became clear that there was a stigma attached to a long-distance relationship and many didn’t understand my choice.

For me, being in a long distance relationship was about staying committed regardless of the challenges we faced. Even though everyone will have a different perspective, there are some things that I learned throughout my experience.

Schedule Skype

Skype is probably the greatest thing for a couple in a long distance relationship. Being able to have daily face-to-face time is amazing. It’s important that you schedule a time slot when neither of you are distracted so you can be focused on one another. We even found that we could watch a movie together and loved being able to share that experience.

Talk it out

When you argue in person, you might sit on opposite sides of a couch for 30 minutes until one of you gives in and apologizes, but when there is a physical distance separating you, you have to learn to deal with conflict differently. That’s what makes it so important to communicate clearly and to never leave a fight unresolved.

Trust them

You need to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are being honest with you. If someone of the opposite sex writes on their Facebook wall or is tagged in a photo with them, don’t go crazy. Jealousy can ruin your relationship.

Plan when you’ll see them

Looking forward to seeing your partner next will help the days pass by faster. You can even start a countdown and plan something special. It also gives you time to figure out travel arrangements and lower the cost of booking flights.

After sticking out a long-distance relationship for two years, my boyfriend is back in the city studying at Carleton University. We’re proof that long-distance relationships can work.

It may surprise you, but there are even some positive things about being in a long-distance relationship. You learn to appreciate the time you have together because you have to make every minute count. You learn to express your thoughts and improve your communication, you get more time to see your friends, you stay focused on school, and overall it can make your relationship stronger.

Long-distance relationships might not be for everyone, but don’t feel stupid for giving one a chance.