After graduating high school, many couples have to face the tough decision about the future of the relationship. Whether one of the two is still in high school or both are going to separate colleges, choosing how (or if) to continue is not at all easy.
For most couples, this means entering a long-distance relationship. Going from seeing each other daily to as rarely as once a month is not at all easy, and it’s no surprise that nearly every long-distance relationship eventually ends by the end of freshman year. It takes a lot of work, and your relationship might not be up for it.
Talk as a couple.
Don’t make a decision on your own about whether or not to break up. Be responsible and fair to your boyfriend/girlfriend — include him/her. The best way to reach a decision about your future as a couple is to talk as a couple. Discuss how you both feel about possibly becoming a long-distance relationship and what potential you think your relationship has. Don’t assume that the other person feels the same way you do.
This guide will give you a few things to think about and bear in mind as you talk, but you should not make a decision on your own.
How do you feel?
First off, you need to decide how you feel about a long-distance relationship. To do so, you need to evaluate your relationship:
- Could this relationship have a future? Is this relationship something you really want to fight for? Do you value your boyfriend/girlfriend enough to do all you can to keep it going? Can you see yourselves together in the future, or has this relationship just been temporary? If you don’t feel strongly towards the relationship or that it has any future, that’s an important sign. How long you’ve been going out definitely makes a difference here — a three-year relationship will be stronger than a two-month relationship. My buddy’s girlfriend dropped out from the high school last year. They were together just 7 months, it was not even long distance relationship, but they broke up just 2 months after she started her GED courses.
- How long will we be a distance relationship? Will you two only be apart for a year? Two years? Four years? While still tough, being apart your first year of college is drastically different from being apart all four. Remember that plans can change. Even if you two think you’ll be together the next year, there’s a high chance that just won’t happen.
- Will this relationship hold me back? The “college experience” is real, though just what it is will vary from person to person. You need to decide what you expect from college, and if can you still achieve that with your current relationship. Will your boyfriend/girlfriend limit you from your dreams?
- Am I up for this? Distance relationships aren’t for everyone. Are you up for the emotional wear and tear that one will put you through? The next section talks about traits that can cause trouble. How many of these do you have?
- How often will we see each other? Distance plays the biggest part here. Living twenty minutes apart and living ten hours apart make a huge difference. Can you handle how infrequently you’ll be together?
How about your boyfriend/girlfriend? A few warning signs to look out for:
In a long-distance relationship, a lot of flaws with your partner will become immediately apparent. Here are some red flags you need to look out for and bear in mind when evaluating how you feel:
- Clingy. If your significant other can barely stand to survive a day without seeing you, imagine how it will be when you see each other once a month. A clingy person will be devastated by the distance, and you will be annoyed at constantly having to sacrifice what you’re doing to give him/her the attention that they need.
- Jealousy. In college, you’re going to meet a lot of new people, both male and female. If your partner can’t handle you being friends with someone of the opposite sex, you’re in for a rough ride. Being accused and frequently suspected of cheating gets old incredibly fast, and always reassuring your partner about your faithfulness takes its wear on you also.
- Infidelity. If you’ve been cheated on by your boyfriend or girlfriend, you need to evaluate that situation and decide how likely it is to happen when you’re not there. Be honest with yourself — could it happen? The last thing you want to find out is that you spent your first five months in college on a girl/boy who cheated on you the first chance she/he got.
- Stubbornness. Can you guys work through arguments alright? Are you two both able to compromise appropriately, or do you find yourself constantly having to give more than you take? If your significant other refuses to budge, this is going to create a ton of drama down the line once an argument pops up.
Is it even worth trying?
As I said earlier, most long-distance college relationships do fall apart in their first year. When I arrived at university, many of my friends had a girl/boyfriend back home, but by the end of the year, most had broken up. Breaking up always sucks. But if you two just aren’t up for the distance, mutually agreeing to split up will save a lot of headaches and heartbreaks down the line.
Despite that grim advice, in general, I believe it’s usually worth trying: not every relationship falls apart. Two of my best friends and I all managed to keep our relationships over the year. By reaching an understanding beforehand, you may be able to maintain the relationship. And, if it ends up collapsing, you may be able to keep a friendship. The biggest key is to talk. Be entirely honest with each other and reach an agreement that you guys can work with.