College and Distant Love: Can They Work Together?

By Mel Bancroft

College love conjures up those tender moments when boy meets girl, then boy does something stupid to lose girl, then boy does everything under the sun to find girl, win his way back into her heart, and they live happily ever after. But what happens when boy and girl are in love and have to split up to attend different colleges many miles away from each other? Can college students in this type of relationship survive the strain of being apart, keep grades up to par, and resist the temptation to hook up with a local hottie?

College long distance relationships can be more complicated than long distance relationships. College students have to ask themselves several questions when it comes to making such a sacrifice. For instance, “Is the relationship strong enough to handle being apart while focusing on school?” If you weren’t seeing each other regularly from the start, argued a lot, and just didn’t get along that well, going long distance would only make matters worse—not to mention the amount of energy and time it takes to study, prepare essays, and other loads of homework. It’s a wonder anyone can last more than a couple months in college long distance relationships.

Sandra, a second-year law student was able to maintain a consistent relationship with Jerrod for a year. “But after that, I just got tired. It started feeling like work. I was in North Carolina and he was in Washington, D.C. Our weekend travel back and forth was hectic and constantly postponed by school studies. Except one time, I just told him I couldn’t come visit him because I had to study for an exam. The truth was: I went on a date with a guy in my study group. It was refreshing to go out somewhere local, without packing a suitcase.” Although it didn’t work out as she hoped, she encourages others to follow their hearts. “College long distance relationships might work for somebody else. But you really have to be tightly-bound with your mate,” Sandra concluded.

Although taxing, college long distance relationships can offer valuable experience, even if it doesn’t work out. It can help one identify personal needs and desires, understanding what it means to make sacrifices when it’s worth it, thus exploring life as a whole, as painful as it can be. On the other hand—for some people—college long distance relationships can lay the foundation for the future, create a strong bond, and prepare couples for a more serious commitment.

Such is the case for Rob and Loren. They dated their entire time in high school.  They had known each other since they were kids. Although the two of them were accepted to different colleges, they were engaged and got married after graduation. “We planned it that way, education was our first priority,” said Rob. His wife is a CPA and he’s an engineer. Settled in their careers, they’re ready to start a family. When asked how they survived the strain and pressures of a college long distance relationship, Loren replied, “We had so much history together, solid trust and respect for each other. That’s what kept us close while we were separated.”

Apparently distant love and college can work together, but it takes two people who are mature enough, patient enough, and in love enough to succeed at it.

Bancroft is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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