As the old saying goes, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Long distance relationships are a part of college life for some students, whether they spend the semester away from their significant other or their summers apart.
Regardless of which category you fall under, making a long distance relationship work can be difficult. There are resources on campus to help students through difficult times.
The Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), “provides free, confidential, group and individual counseling and psychotherapy to SHU students,” Dr. Katherine Evans, program director, said in an email interview.
“Last year 26 percent of students using our services did so due to a problem in a ‘specific’ relationship,” Dr. Evans said. “Many of those were concerned about romantic partners but not all were.”
Sophomore Jordan Canevari has been in a long distance relationship for over a year and half, as his girlfriend attends Fordham in the Bronx.
“The hardest part about being long distance is that you are basically living two separate lives and it can be extremely hard to get on the same page,” Canevari said. “Just getting in a 10 minute phone call can be a challenge with how different and busy our schedules are.”
Sophomores Amanda Jock and Chris Bickert had to explore the territory of entering a long distance relationship when summer time came around. Jock lives in Syracuse,N.Y. while Bickert lives in West Chester, Pa., five to six hours away.
“Realizing that it’s gonna be hard and it’s gonna suck is half the battle,” Bickert said. “Once you realize that you can start to work through it. Expecting it to be as easy as it was is unrealistic.”
According to Dr. Evans, long distance relationships seem to be more common these days, with well over 3 million married couples having a long distance relationship.
“The most obvious and challenging aspect is the absence of the day-to-day contact,” Dr. Evans said. “In addition to physical affection, relationships do develop an intimacy that comes from spending time doing ordinary things together (studying, eating, cooking, for example).”
The Center for Long Distance Relationships, an online resource that posts research, said that people in long distance relationships experience more jealousy, but they are not more or less likely to be unfaithful than anyone else, according to Dr. Evans.
“When couples agree to maintain a relationship over distance, it is helpful for them to go into the experience with a clear understanding of parameters,” Dr. Evans said. “Open communication about expectations for behavior, length of absence, and types and frequency of communication is of critical importance.”
Entering a long distance relationship can be hard, however there are positives as well.
“It helped improve our communication skills,” Bickert said.
If you are heading into a long distance relationship and seek counseling of any kind, you can call or stop by the CAPS office.
Rebecca White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.