College LDRs are challenging and require a lot of work but they're not impossible.
Long distance relationships (aka "LDRs") aren't anything new. Almost anyone that's been in the dating game has experienced this situation at least once in their lives. But for some reason, college LDRs seem to be worthy of their own sub-category in dating. It's one thing to be far from your significant other while going through the routines of daily life but it's quite another to be dealing with this situation and preparing to begin college. Although college LDRs aren't perfect and can be quite a handful, with proper planning and communication, the connection can stay strong, no matter the campus location.
Just as it's important to plan in advance for college, the same goes for your relationship. Once the decision has been made by the both of you to put your situation under the LDR category, it's time to put your heads together and start planning your next steps. After you've both been accepted to college, schedule a day to get together and plan out your class schedules. Focus on the following to increase your odds of success in your college LDR:
Breaks: Want to make sure you have the time to connect with your sweetie? Then don't schedule a full day of back-to-back classes. Can't avoid a full day? Then do your best to schedule only 1-2 days out of the week where you'll be in classes all day. Otherwise, see if you can both arrange for at least one long break a day, depending on how often you want/need to communicate with one another.
Online vs. Traditional Courses: Addicted to being online? Signing up for online courses is a convenient way to get your studying and assignments done without the need to be physically present in a classroom. An added perk to online courses is the ability to chat with your partner when you're both online. This is a great and fast way to keep up-to-date on each other's daily happenings. However, if this proves to be too much of a distraction, learn how to discipline yourself in order to balance the two.
Lay Those Ground Rules
Not all couples are the same so it's important to tailor your college LDR ground rules to what's realistic for you and your boyfriend/girlfriend. The word "realistic" is a major player when it comes to LDRs. Too often couples set impossible or impractical guidelines or ground rules. Doing this is a quick way to set yourself up for failure.
Be honest with each other when discussing this stage in your relationship. One helpful way to produce favorable results is to list each others strengths and weaknesses in your relationship. Use that information to create your ground rules so that they are unique to not just yourself but how you operate as a couple.
Take Advantage of Technology
This may seem like a no-brainer but it's worth mentioning anyway. LDRs of the past only had the telephone and snail mail to keep up with significant others far away. These days, the options have expanded dramatically, making it convenient for couples to keep in touch in ways that are the most suitable for them. But to maintain a truly strong college LDR, you'll want to step up your game when it comes to using technology to your advantage. Instead of just Skyping each other a few times out of the week, make the most of this experience.
Set aside at least one night out of the week for "Skype Date Night." This is one evening where it's just you and your sweetie with no distractions. Don't be afraid to dress up! It might seem silly at first but what's wrong with wanting to look your best--not to mention you'll be reminding them of what they have and why it's worth waiting for!
Love your smart phone? Use it for more than just texting, checking emails and updating your Facebook status. Record a mini video of yourself and send it to your sweetie to let him/her know you're thinking of them. Plan on going somewhere fun and wish your partner was with you? Record yourself and document your experience so you can share it with your boyfriend/girlfriend. This gives you the opportunity to include them in your life even though they're not right there beside you. The possibilities are endless with technology and it can be a great asset to any college LDR.
Go Past Basic Communication
Sure, talking on a regular basis is essential for any LDR but because those in college have an entirely different lifestyle to deal with, it's crucial to cover all aspects of the communication game. This means not just chatting away about your classes, the professor you can't stand or venting about how much studying you have to do. Mention those topics but also focus on each other. Chances are you know your boyfriend/girlfriend very well so the minute you sense a change in their attitude, voice or interaction with you, don't hesitate to ask how they're feeling or if there's anything on their mind they want to talk about.
Checking in with each other on an emotional level is important because it decreases the odds of keeping those feelings inside and causing miscommunication (we all know how destructive that can be). This doesn't mean getting into a super deep discussion every time you talk but simply asking "How are you?" or how they're feeling about your LDR status can go a long way in opening up the doors for your significant other to tell you what's going on in their lives.
Know When to Call It Quits
Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is inevitable sometimes. College LDRs can be successful but they can also fail miserably. The worst thing any couple can do is deny the status of their relationship to the point where they're no longer sure of where they are in the equation. Just as you plan on making the commitment to one another at the beginning of your college LDR, you both also need to make the commitment to be honest enough to know when to end it.