Long Distance: How do my boyfriend and I survive going to different colleges?

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Dear Guys,

So my boyfriend and I have been together for more than a year now. We love each other and we both know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. But our families don’t believe that our relationship will hang on through college. I’m going to college to be a teacher after my senior year next year, but he’s going to college to be a doctor next year. We probably won’t get into the same college, so I’m afraid that being in different schools for so many years will be really hard.

Do you have any advice for us?

Grace

Dear Grace, 

Thanks for your question.

Your family members are offering their opinions based on percentages, not necessarily because they don’t approve of your relationship. The fact is, most high school relationships don’t last. That doesn’t mean they can’t, it’s just that most people don’t marry their high school sweetheart. Why? Because it’s difficult two keep two people focused, committed, and on the same page, as they traverse through life and gain new experiences. But it’s not impossible.

The first step is commitment. Both you and your boyfriend need to be completely committed to one another. Being at the same school, or in the same town, makes it relatively easy. You see each other every day and you’re constantly affirming your love for each other. But when one person moves away it’s sometimes easy to forget what a great thing you left behind, especially when life is full of interesting new distractions: intense studies, new friends, and beautiful co-eds. These kinds of distractions can easily disrupt even the most seasoned person’s focus and commitment. But for a young person, living on their own for the first time, it’s even more difficult.

So Grace, here are some suggestions to help you keep the connection strong while the two of you are at different colleges. These are not set in stone because life doesn’t always follow a straight and narrow path, but these will help you cover a few important bases.

First: You need to have a discussion BEFORE he leaves on how, and how often, the two of you will communicate. Will it be by phone? By text? Email? IM? And, will you “talk” every day, every other day, once a week? And for how long? And at what times of the day? If the two of you are at different colleges that means your schedules will no longer be in sync. So when will you talk? There will be many times when one of you will be busy with some project or social commitment, etc. How will you handle that? How will the two of you compromise and work this out?

Second: You need to talk about how often you’ll visit. Who will visit whom? Will you alternate visits? And who will pay for plane flights, etc.? You might think this is too basic to even discuss but from our experience the minutia matters. It’s better to discuss something ad nauseum, than be dealt with some surprise you’re not prepared for.

Third: You both need to express your commitment and love for each other often. You won’t be able to rely on touch or proximity when communicating how you feel about one another. So you’ll be forced to communicate verbally or by words on a screen. It won’t be the time to hold back. Be expressive. In order for both of you to feel secure, you both need reassure one another daily about your commitment.

Finally: It’s all about trust Grace. Distance is good at boring holes in the foundation of a relationship. It can cause even the most caring of partners to wonder what’s really going on? But if the two of you work on the relationship daily, and pay attention to how you communicate, the distance shouldn’t crumble your foundation.

We certainly hope this works out for both of you. Sure, life is full of distractions, but if the two of you really love and trust one another, it is possible to make it work.

Good luck,

THE GUYS

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10 Comments on Long Distance: How do my boyfriend and I survive going to different colleges?

  1. The Guys,

    I was hoping for some long distance relationship advice. I have been in a long distance relationship now for over 9 months. My boyfriend and I started dating in February of 2011 and our relationship has definitely been unique. I was a junior in high school and he was a senior at that time. His parents had a plan to move to Arizona (where they originated over 20 years ago) and my boyfriend decided to stay back in Nebraska to go to college here to stay with me. As he was at college, he realized that physical therapy is not what he truly wanted to do and dropped out of college. Instead of moving to AZ right away, he moved to my hometown and worked here to be with me through most of my senior year.In December, he gave me a promise ring. He knew he couldn’t stay at this job in such a small town and as we discussed this, the decision was made that he needed to move down to AZ to be with his older siblings and family while he was promised a great job there.

    He moved there late April of this year and the long distance works pretty great. He came back to Nebraska to visit me for 10 days in July/August this summer and we picked back up exactly where we ended when he left and we are stronger than ever. We talk about when we hope to get engaged and how we will be able to make this work. We’re both christians and feel that God really was working to bring us together.

    This brings me to where I need advice. I am a nursing student at a private college in Lincoln, NE and I stay fairly busy with my studies and a project that I started a year ago for Children’s Hospital. I ALWAYS make time for my boyfriend. No matter how busy, I always have time to call him at night or skype. I even have time to text him during the day. The problem is, he has always been known for being someone who isn’t great with communication. There have been weeks that he will ignore my call or text during the day. (I normally try to send one text or try one call in the evening, since I don’t want to be overly clingy) There have been about four occasions where he will completely ignore me for about 3 to 4 days. He usually has a legit excuse, but I just know many guys who are the complete opposite and will WANT to talk every night. He always makes sure to say he loves me at least two or more times when we talk. He bought me tickets to come down to visit in AZ for the first time for a week this December..So I will be seeing him in less than three weeks! I am starting to get discouraged when he ignores me like he does…We don’t fight. We’ve had times when we get disgusted with each other over something small or we disagree, but we’ve never yelled or fought over the issue. We have always calmly talked things over. I feel we have a strong relationship, but I get SO discouraged when he ignores me like this. I am starting to get negative comments from my parents about my relationship as they feel that he isn’t “good enough”. I don’t feel that way at all. He does make me so happy when we talk and we have always had this way of having fun no matter what. I feel like we have such a unique relationship. I am beginning to lose faith in him when he keeps doing this to me. Do I need to just stop contacting him at those times when he ignores me? Thank you for your time!

    Miranda

  2. @Miranda…….First of all, you might not want to involve your parents in the minutiae of your relationship, especially when it’s something that could be resolved soon enough. When you share negative stuff with other people they’re left dealing with that negative residue, even after things work out and you move on. Sure, it’s definitely important to talk about major events with your friends and family, but always remember that whatever you share they’ll never forget—or forgive—long after you’ve forgotten about it and moved on. Does that make sense? Now to your question. Don’t be too discouraged. Some guys are not very good at communicating. However, that’s no excuse. This needs to be discussed when you see him. He needs to know how his actions are making you feel, and you need to see signs that he’s willing to modify his behavior. On the flip side, you need to let him take more initiative with the communication. He’s grown to expect your call/text and he’s now taking you for granted. The balance of power is off. You need to reclaim some of that power by letting him reach out to you. We’re not talking about game playing, but he does need to show that he “gets it.” (Why regular communication is important especially with a long distance relationship where all you have is phone/text communication.) Finally, what’s your plan? Do you guys have a plan to be together in the same place soon? Also, why do your parents say he’s not good enough for you? Let us know your thoughts and ask as many follow-up questions as you’d like. ps. We hope you’ll share our site with all of your friends. Thanks. We appreciate it. Facebook and Twitter. @TGPBuzz. Take the time to help a fellow reader. Please VOTE on our Ask our Audience page.

  3. It makes complete sense when you mentioned not discussing the negative events that occurs in my relationship with my boyfriend. I have learned that the hard way now as my family has had mostly negative comments regarding my boyfriend as our relationship has progressed the past six months from a long distance. I have tried to keep off the subject of my boyfriend when I am in conversation with my family lately. As far as communication goes, it is now day 4 since he has last contacted me. I have tried to be understanding with him when he’s done this the past four months since he does work for long hours and he’s always helping his family out after work. I honestly have mentioned that I get hurt when he ignores me, but that was back in July. He has been doing better with communication for the last couple months until recently has he returned to ignoring me for days. The plan is that I will be seeing him in about two weeks since he bought me plane tickets to finally go down to AZ to be with him and his family for a week. I am really excited to see him and he’s talked often about being excited for me to come. My parents say he’s not “good enough” simply because they were not impressed by how he dropped out of college last year (even though he knew it wasn’t for him, and now he has a high paying carpentry job). I could go on about how my parents have always had high expectations for me and they expect a “perfect” guy for me. My parents were no impressed when he was caught speeding on his motorcycle and twice in his car. Yes, believe it or not, although he didn’t go that over the speed limit and treated each officer with respect, my parents see that as a character flaw. Also my director of nursing that I work for always talks about how she thinks I deserve some “hot doctor” and I’ve been told that often as people do not understand why I would want to be in a long distance relationship. I do get down when he completely ignores me and it gets to a point that sometimes I worry that he doesn’t love me anymore. I know in my heart that he does love me and I believe it, but my insecurities get the best of me at times and try to make me feel unloved by him. I struggle with that sometimes, as any girl does eventually and I’m trying to work that out. Am I being too worried about nothing? Am I being naive for believing that he is true about his feelings? He mentions the future so often. Almost every conversation he mentions our future as a married couple. I’m just pretty confused as to why he can say things like that and still not want to talk?

  4. @Miranda……Let’s address your parent’s expectations. All parents want the best for their kids. They have this transcript in their head that includes, great grades, a good college, quality friends, a smart and successful spouse, grandkids, a nice home, etc. etc. What they really want is their children to be happy. Dropping out of college, working a blue collar job, getting speeding tickets, makes them think this guy is not someone you’ll be able to rely on, and not someone that can provide you with the life they want for you. However, what they really want—and just don’t understand yet—is a guy who treats you well, who loves you, respects you, and ultimately makes you happy. And when you provide them with evidence that supports their worries that’s when trouble brews. One of the Guys here is married to a nurse. She dated the hot doctor before him and it was a disaster. We don’t choose people because of their resume, we choose them for how they make us feel, and if they are a good, reliable, honest, and trustworthy people. In essence, solid. Sure, good looking, funny, athletic are all great too, but they’re nothing without the rest. Here’s our suggestion: Go see your guy in a few weeks. Have a heart-to-heart with him about your feelings, and how he communicates. Be careful not to put him on the defensive. Remind him you love him and want to be together, but while you’re working out this distance situation, you need more regular communication to feel connected. What do you think of this plan? Finally: From what you’re saying he seems like he cares about you a lot. He should be able to make some time every day for you. Actions speak louder than words. Cliche, but true.

  5. I have definitely learned my lesson in not discussing the negative with my parents and family. I completely agree with your idea to just have a heart-to-heart with him when I see him in a couple weeks. I plan to be as understanding as possible, but explain how hurt I feel when he ignores me completely for over four days. I try to be understanding and I honestly know so many girls that would’ve never put up with this..I don’t know if that means I’m weak or dumb for making it okay. It’s been almost a week now since he’s called me, so we’ll see what happens, I guess. Do I need to completely cut myself off and not try communicating with him at all until he does it himself? And ask why he’s been M.I.A the past week? The problem is, I’ve been needing to talk to him about his sick grandfather who is a resident at the nursing home where I work…I don’t think he knows how sick he really is and I’m just frustrated at this point over the way he’s ignoring me. What do I need to do at this point? Thank you so much for your advice. It honestly has helped me a lot so far.

  6. @Miranda…….Can’t you text him specifically about his Grandfather. “I need to speak with you about your Grandfather.” Or email a short note w/out specifics. (Leave those for the phone) After that, let him initiate communication at least until you see him. And remember: As much as you’d like to talk to him about the other piece of this we still say wait until you see him to get into it. Do we think you’re a pushover? No, actually we don’t. It would be one thing if you were going to let this go entirely, but you’re going to address it. Miranda, relationships are about compromise. Some people think in order to be strong you have to dig your heels in, and sure, there are times when you have to assert yourself. (When the balance of power is off) However, in this case, a better course of action is to find a compromise that works for both of you. The issue would be if he refuses to see your side of things, and then doesn’t try to compromise or do his part. Then we’d suggest digging in your heels. But let’s not jump the gun. Be patient and try to hang in there until you see him. (And deal with the grandfather situation now.) Take care.

  7. My problem right now is dealing with my imagination. I’m a person who usually goes over different possible situations in my mind. When he ignores me like this, I am assuming the worse more and more as the days go by that he ignores me. Its been a week now, and I’m starting to really wonder if he’s trying to say something? What would be a reasonable explanation for why he’s ignoring me this long? Are guys normally that annoyed by talking on the phone or communication through text? I’m just trying to do my own thing here and struggle to stay busy to keep my mind off what’s going on with him right now. I’ve already texted and called him to leave a voicemail asking him to call me because we need to talk about his grandfather. He still hasn’t contacted me yet. Is it really normal for a guy to not want to talk things over like this?

  8. I have the same problem- sortov… if you have his phone number then you can still talk!!!

    my question:
    me + my boyfriend are both 11. we love each other, dont talk very much but text ALL OF THE TIME!!!!! but we arnt going to the same school next year… i am worried i will NEVER see him again…. plz help me!!!???!!!???
    i really hope u and ur bf get mzrried som day coz u both seem purfect

  9. @Penny……We understand your concern but you’re just going to have to see how this plays out. Going to different schools might make it more difficult, but if you’re still communicating all of the time, at least you’ll be keeping your connection alive. Then, you just never know what could happen. So keep in touch with this boy and just see what happens. Good luck.

  10. Hello, Me and my boyfriend have been datin a couple of months now. I love him i truly do. He loves me but i will be going to college next year and he will also attending college as well. He will be working and he’s afraid that our relationship will crumble with the distance, not being able to see each other, touch each other and so on. I tried to to reassure him that nothing will change as long as we communicate, keep in contact. See each other when we can and be honest to each other. I love him and i dont want to lose him.

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