OPINION: Long distance relationships while in college

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OPINION: Long distance relationships while in college

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Maria Ramos Pacheco, Contributor

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To be honest, having a long distance relationship is not easy or fun. I will not lie; it takes extra commitment and tons of patience. Let me walk you through how I have maintained my long distance relationship for about two years, knowing that there is still one more year to go before we live in the same city.   

When I met my current boyfriend, we were both in New York City for the day. I was there visiting the Associated Press offices; he had just finished a project in the city. I went for “happy hour” with my friend, he did the same with his colleagues. We met in a tiny bar close to Penn Station. I know this sounds very cliché, like a Hollywood movie, but it happened to us, we fell in love.   

We exchanged numbers and soon went for a second date. I knew this was not going anywhere because he lived in Tennessee and I was living in New Jersey. Besides, at that point in my life, I was very busy with school and work; I was not looking for a relationship at all.   

As time went by, we decided to continue going out and we managed to see each other once a month, either he was visiting me in New Jersey or I was traveling to wherever he was located, as he moves continuously because of his job. Later, I moved to Texas and we continued with our relationship.   

FaceTime and WhatsApp have been our best friends. With our busy schedules and time differences, it has been a challenge to keep the romance alive. But with these two apps, we are able to make the best of it.   

Patience is also key. It took us almost a year to figure out what we really wanted and how to manage our relationship.   

A typical day looks like this: We try to talk in the morning at least for five minutes to see how we are doing, what the day is going to be like and to wish each other a good day. We text on and off during the day, depending on each other’s schedule. At night we really try to make sure we do FaceTime for about an hour or two and share how our day went, concerns or anything we want. To me, this is our most precious time.   

I have learned that giving each other more details about our days and expressing our feelings has helped us understand each other more. At the same time, a hard aspect of our long distance relationship has been to give each other space, to understand that the other person also needs to go out and hang out with other people. We cannot be glued to our phones every night; it is not healthy.   

I will not lie, we have experienced tough times, lots of fights, anxiety and desperation. But after almost a year, we have been able to figure it out a little bit more. We keep trying every day. We try to remember to be patient with each other, to support each other with our goals, to give us space while remembering that we are in a serious relationship.   

The hardest element to maintain in any relationship is trust and, in my experience, this is even harder in a long distance relationship. You need to believe and trust in your partner. Living with fear and insecurities will affect your mental health and relationship. I still work on this every single day, but I am convinced that if this is meant to be, it will be.   

At this point, I lost track of all the cities we have traveled in these past two years. Every month we decide which weekend we are going to see each other and book our tickets. Sometimes, we are able to spend a week or two together, but that only occurs once or twice a year.   

I believe that what keeps us fighting for this, of course, is love, but also knowing that this is temporary. I will finish my degree next year and that is when we will find common ground.   

Maria Ramos Pacheco may be reached at [email protected]