Students relate long-distance tales

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

All relationships require trust, communication, honesty and patience, but long-distance relationships require more of these things in order to survive across the miles.

The cornerstone of a long-distance relationship is communication, according to The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell.

“Inarguably, the ability to communicate effectively is one of the key determining factors for success in any romantic relationship,” the Bells say. “We’ve all experienced miscommunications over email or the telephone. When these methods become a couple’s primary vehicles for connecting with one another, such miscommunications are even more dangerous.”

Although the ability to communicate is difficult when a couple is separated, learning to do it effectively is rewarding.

“As much as these glitches in communication may seem like insurmountable hurdles, conquering them can lead to an even richer understanding of one another, an understanding that can help the relationship flourish in the long run.”

First-year social science student Katelyn McKnight knows first hand the difficulties of communicating in a long-distance relationship, after having spent last summer distanced from her boyfriend.

“We talk on webcam,” she says. “You have to find a different way of communicating. It is better, in a way, because you get to know the person on more than just a physical level.

“You learn to communicate really well.”

But for others, like third-year history student Erin Milanczak, communication in a long-distance relationship is sometimes more of a challenge.

“My boyfriend and I are better in person,” she says. “The phone is a challenge. We haven’t quite overcome that yet, but we are working on it.”

Fourth-year media, information and technoculture student Talia Silvestri has found ways to communicate with her boyfriend.

“My boyfriend and I will usually send each other little emails or texts throughout the day when we’re busy and we usually talk on the phone at least a couple times a day,” she says. “We also try to see each other at least every other weekend. Constant communication and frequent visits make our relationship successful.”

With distance also comes insecurities about the relationship, and this is where trust becomes an integral factor.

“The fear of cheating is much stronger [in a long-distance relationship],” McKnight says. “We are just completely honest with each other, even about the littlest things.”

The physical side of a relationship is stressed when a couple cannot satisfy each other regulary.

“The physical aspect of it becomes very difficult,” McKnight says. “In a long-distance relationship, it is hard because you don’t have the physical connection you normally have and that is a huge part of a relationship.

“When we do see each other it is often more about the physical because every other day we communicate a lot.”

But McKnight emphasizes that it is important to maintain a balance between the emotional and physical part of the relationship, despite the urge to have sex after prolonged periods of doing without.

“After we are intimate we go out to dinner to talk since we don’t get to do that often, either. I think we can balance it pretty well.”

Silvestri also finds that because of the distance, she and her boyfriend go out more given their limited time together.

“I think that our long-distance relationship has strengthened our bond because it has really made us appreciate our time together and made us realize that we have to make the most of it,” she says.

“When we see each other now, we spend our time going out and doing fun things instead of spending the typical night sitting on the couch and watching a movie.”

Although the long-distance relationship can be difficult to conquer, it makes the juice worth the squeeze.

“When it seems really hard to be apart, and then you see each other, it reaffirms all of your feelings and makes it worth it,” Milanczak says.

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