Are long distance relationships worth the balancing act?

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Opinion

Navigating a relationship while navigating through school? It’s a balancing act that many students find challenging. And when your significant other is miles away, the complexity level ramps up. Long-distance relationships (LDRs) have become increasingly common among younger generations. Whether it’s due to connecting with someone across the continent or leveraging today’s technology to sustain a relationship post-relocation, the once-taboo notion of an LDR is now met with more understanding and empathy.

I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years, a connection that grew online as a teenager. While some might raise eyebrows at the fact that I met an online connection in person at such a young age, I assure you, we planned for a safe meeting. And we were both adults at the time. Understandably, my friends often inquire about the logistics and dynamics of dating someone so far away. As a student entrenched in the world of post-secondary education, I hope to shed some light on what an LDR entails, particularly from a student’s perspective.

 Let’s address the elephant in the room: do long-distance relationships even have any perks? Speaking from my experience, they certainly do when it comes to self-development and independence. Having started this relationship during high school, I’ve always juggled academic pursuits alongside my relationship. Maintaining a healthy balance between the two requires mutual respect for each other’s educational priorities. Without the physical proximity, distractions are minimized, allowing me to focus more intently on my studies. Month-long visits between semesters serve as cherished moments that compensate for the time spent apart. Additionally, sharing academic interests with my partner adds another layer of connection; discussing coursework and career aspirations fosters a sense of mutual growth and understanding.

Entering my twenties, I relish the freedom to explore my identity as an adult. While singledom may offer more autonomy, there’s a unique comfort and potential for growth within a committed relationship like this that still allows space for individual development. It’s a delicate balance, one that encourages personal growth beyond the confines of familiarity and comfort.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Long-distance relationships come with their fair share of challenges, some more obvious than others. The lack of physical intimacy and shared activities can breed boredom and disconnect. Moreover, inviting your partner seamlessly into your social circle becomes a challenge, hindering the organic blending of friend groups—a crucial element in fostering mutual connection and excitement in a relationship.

Let’s not forget the financial strain. International LDRs, in particular, mean hefty travel expenses and limited visitation windows dictated by your school and work schedule.

But fear not, there are strategies to keep the flame burning bright. Contrary to popular belief, constant communication isn’t always the key. It’s about quality over quantity; finding a balance between shared activities and independent interests fuels the relationship’s longevity. From engaging in joint hobbies to envisioning a shared future, proactive efforts can inject vitality into the relationship. One of my favourite long-term activities to take part in with my partner is having a book club (or duo) between the two of us. We read a variety of books and find enjoyment in sharing our thoughts after every few chapters.

Ultimately, sustaining a long-distance relationship as a student demands patience, resilience and a willingness to adapt. It’s not a journey suited for everyone, and the road ahead may be fraught with challenges. But for those willing to weather the storm, the rewards can be profound—a testament to the enduring power of love across any distance.

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