Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Short-term long-distance doesn’t mean the end

Summer is upon us once again and a good number of students are in an unexpected state of disarray. Maybe you are one of these students, or maybe you just have a friend in this boat.

This awkward place is one I like to refer to as short-term long-distance. To clarify, this is the uncomfortable place you find yourself in when you start dating someone you met away from home and continue to date them while you are apart for the summer. It’s not exactly a long-distance relationship (as you’ll only be apart for three months), but for a short time you will not be as close as you’re used to.

The obvious reaction here is to realize that this will suck. While three months isn’t a very long time in the grand scheme of things, it can seem like an excruciatingly long period if you are used to seeing your significant other all the time, or even if you’re just used to seeing him or her moderately often. If you’re anything like I am, the more often you think about the prospect of being apart, the scarier the idea gets. Never fear, my young Casanova, there are solutions.

First and foremost, talk about it. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page for the summer. It sounds stupid, but I’ve seen plenty of situations where one person remains unwaveringly faithful while, unbeknownst to the faithful one, his or her partner thinks the two are on a sort of break. Cue the palm to the face.

Communication breakdowns do not need to ruin your relationship. These three months should be used to strengthen your relationship and gain a greater appreciation for your partner. In my experience, many college students develop unhealthily dependent relationships because it is easy to spend all of your time with just one person. In these situations, the three months apart is an even better idea. Codependency is something to avoid this early in your life. Even if you are married, you need to know how to take care of yourself and not depend on your partner for things you could, or should, be doing for yourself.

Modern technology makes it more possible than ever before to stay in touch with your sweetheart. With video chatting software like Skype and iChat, you can talk it up to your heart’s content and never even have to get out of bed, though that’s not exactly recommended. These methods are definitely also something to keep in mind if your special someone might be studying abroad eventually, too. However, there are countries where video chatting won’t be an option due to the lack of necessary technology, so don’t let cell phones and land lines become a thing of the past just yet. When all else fails, everybody likes getting good old-fashioned snail mail. You could even seal it with a kiss.

With just a little planning and communication, summer suddenly becomes less scary. Short-term long-distance isn’t something you should stress about. It’s a healthy way to develop a good amount of independence in your relationship while really growing to appreciate your partner when you see him or her again. Next August is closer than it seems.

Originally appeared in The Daily Evergreen

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