With the end of the term upon us (Yes, it is week five), I’ve been reflecting a lot on all of the changes that are about to take place. For those of us graduating, gone will be the days of sleeping in until noon and the drunken nights in the middle of the week. We will soon be entering the job force, where I’m told they frown on that sort of thing. And with summer coming for all of us, another change might soon be occurring inside your very own relationship. It’s that ever-feared, ever loathed- long distance relationship.
My own personal studmuffin will be moving out this very weekend, off to the greener pastures (and gasp-worthy paychecks) that the Bay Area has to offer. Don’t worry about me – I have 21 units to keep me satisfied – but I obviously sympathize with anyone out there who is performing the long distance dance right now. I’ve been in the situation before, with disastrous consequences, but from which I learned many excellent lessons to take into consideration when your happy little nest expands from the 10 feet between your dorm rooms to hundreds, maybe thousands of miles.
Lesson No. 1: Talk once every day. Sounds obvious, right? But note: I said once. Don’t turn into a person whose cell phone becomes his or her best friend. I knew a girl who proudly boasted spending roughly four hours on the phone (at international calling rates) with her boyfriend, who was overseas and definitely too broke to pay for the calls. Check in with each other once a day, and in the event of exciting news or important info, make another quick call or send a text. There is still a life to be led in said person’s absence.
Lesson No. 2: Don’t, at all costs, pick a fight. The tiny little quarrels you might have had over dinner options or where to sleep could be easily fixed by a quickie under the sheets. But nitpicking over the phone isn’t so easily remedied, because the kiss-and-make-up has been rendered impossible. Make an honest effort to be positive and cheery, even if you’re miserable and miss him or her more than light brown M&Ms.
Lesson No. 3: Avoid jealousy at all costs. So he’s been working with a really friendly girl you suspect is gorgeous? So she seems awfully close to Chad, her neighbor across the hall? Get over it. Painful as it sounds, if something’s happening, you’ll find out eventually. There’s no reason to unleash the green monster unless you have actual proof (I won’t go into details, but foreign hairs in the sheets is never a good sign). Jealousy is quite possibly the most unattractive quality a person can have – so give your one the benefit of the doubt.
Lesson No. 4: Enjoy the new freedom you have. We’re all guilty of holing up with that special someone and forgetting the rest of the world exists when in a happy relationship. But now that all that time is now empty, fill it with something you wanted to do before but couldn’t fit into your schedule. Grab the friends you’ve been shamelessly neglecting and go out for a big meal or start going to that yoga class again. Good times can definitely still be had.
I recommend against trying long distance for long periods – it’s just rough on everyone. But there’s no reason a strong relationship can’t withstand or even benefit from, some time apart. As for me, I’ll be in the library willing myself to not break any of those rules, while sorting through books on medieval lit if you need me.
Janice Edman is an English senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.