Long-distance relationships in college can present challenges

As teenagers venture off to college, they encounter a series of scary obstacles and hard decisions. These new opportunities can be exciting but are also often stressful. 

Determining whether or not to carry on a relationship throughout the rollercoaster of college immediately causes some students’ hands to shake, nerves to jump and beads of sweat to circulate around their forehead. 

Some high school relationships manage to continue through college, even while both partners attend different schools. But in many relationships, both individuals question whether the physical distance will work and whether communication will stay the same.

For many students, college represents the necessary balance between an active social life and rigorous academic life. In addition, some may also try to secure a positive, communicable closeness with a partner. 

Within the first few days or weeks of school, communication is tested for long-distance significant others. The frequency of speaking to each other can either help or hurt those who already have a strong or weak relationship. 

College counselor and president of the American College Counseling Association Amy Lenhart explains that events in the beginning of the college experience may be troubling to long-distance relationships, according to NBC News.

 “Especially if [one person hasn’t] been good at communicating with [their] partner, it’s going to be even more difficult to stay together,” Lenhart said. 

In her HuffPost article “Break up Before College or Stay Together? 10 Factors to Consider Before Making a Decision,” Hannah Orenstein sides with Lenhart. In the article, Orenstein describes the life of a student who is adjusting to a new environment and the possible struggle to find time between the stress of classes to call loved ones. 

While maintaining a happy, healthy romantic life with a partner can be complicated at times, it is absolutely feasible. 

NBC news reporter Amy DiLuna interviewed a married couple in 2015 who had their own complicated dating history. Barbara Gee and Gordon Baranco met at the age of 16 but were encouraged by their parents to date other people while they attended their separate colleges. Despite the distance, Baranco and Gee stayed in contact and remained close, leading to their marriage upon completion of college.

DiLuna also questioned Stephanie and Jon Mandle regarding their complex dating history when they met for the first time in 1996. They attended schools 100 miles apart, but still traveled to see each other on weekends. 

The Mandles agreed that their values allowed them to keep their bond strong through college. With these shared morals—as well as the independence they gave each other—the couple exemplifes how successful a relationship can be, even while the partners are at two different schools. 

Although going off to college can create challenges in a relationship, if approached in the right way, it can prove to be successful.