Two years ago at this time, I remember frantically typing every combination of words equivalent to “can long distance in college work” into a Google search bar and feeling my stomach sink as every article and forum turned me to the answer I didn’t want to hear: no.

Now, halfway through college, I’ve made it my own little mission to give a glimmer of hope to the next generation of students using the Google search engine to answer life’s biggest questions. I want them to find a yes rather than no, because all hope is not lost! Here are my tips for maintaining a healthy long distance relationship.

Tips and tricks on how to maintain a healthy long distance relationship in college

Communicate Constantly

We live in a different world than our parents, grandparents, and even older siblings did during college. We’re already in near-constant contact with our friends or significant others via texting or messaging, and a long distance relationship simply calls for elevating your communication skills to the next level.

Related: How to Make the People in Your Life Feel Great

What works best for us might not work best for others, but we try to FaceTime at least once a day and I typically call John more than once a day whenever we both have a free minute. Work on having open lines of communication—discuss preferences (Does he/she prefer a heads up before you call?), and understand the importance of face-to-face contact. It’s as close as you can get to a physical relationship when you’re long distance.

Don’t Miss Out on Big Opportunities for Your Relationship

Halfway through my first year at school, I was presented with the opportunity to study abroad for a month in India at no cost. The offer was too good to be true, but I felt guilty that I would be missing out on the opportunity to spend a month at home with John before he started his summer internship. I made a pact with John when we went long distance that, when confronted with opportunities, we should only pass them up if we had a reason other than our relationship to do so. This helps avoid resentment and blame toward each other or your relationship if you end up regretting a missed opportunity. I ended up going to India, and while it was an adjustment for both of us, it didn’t negatively impact our relationship and I gained one of the most valuable experiences of my life so far.

Visit Frequently, but Not Too Frequently

When I tell people that John lives in Houston and I’m in Boston, they gasp at the quantity of miles between us. While the reaction of others was scary for me at first, we soon realized we got pretty lucky with our chosen cities. Plane tickets are surprisingly inexpensive, and we aren’t tempted to visit too frequently. With internship and side job money, we’ve gotten to the point where we are able to visit each other about once a month. Though I sometimes wish we visited more frequently, I would avoid going closer than two or three weeks between visits. It’s important to make your own friends and have your own social life, even if things don’t work out.

#protip: The general guideline for anyone visiting you in college is six weeks into the year to give you time to settle in and make friends. You’ll find that parent weekend at most universities falls at approximately that point in the year. The same rule should apply to your first visit with your significant other—it may be painful, but I recommend waiting until fall break for the first visit.

You Can Still Go on Dates

Inevitably, someone in college will make you feel guilty for staying in on a Friday night to Skype your significant other instead of going out to a party. Don’t let it get to you—they would likely not have anything negative to say if you were going out on a date with your in-town significant other, and it’s really the same thing. You can still have date nights or watch movies together, it just has to happen virtually. Additionally, try adding some new, fun activities into your relationship. Hand written letters and care packages have been some super fun ways that John and I have stayed connected over the past couple of years.

Above all else, remember that all of the rules about being in a relationship in general still exist when you’re long distance. Be kind to your partner, make them feel loved, and be communicative when a problem arises. If both of you continue to be invested in the relationship, I’m confident everything will work out in your favor.

Allison PhotoAllison is a rising junior at Northeastern University in Boston majoring in Political Science and Business Administration. She is addicted to iced coffee, her FitBit, and running (slowly). Allison spends most of her time dreaming about places that don’t have a winter.

Go check out her blog, Two L Allison and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!


16 thoughts on “How to Maintain a Healthy Long Distance Relationship in College

  1. I feel like I wrote that first but about typing it all the different ways into google(and Pinterest for me). My boyfriend is going off to university next year and I still have my senior year at high school and most likely he will be in Alberta and I am in BC(about 20 hour drive). This makes things pretty difficult and it gives me stress thinking about it but I love the ideas and tips you gave and I really hope they work out in my favor like yours did! 😊 thanks for sharing!!


  2. Although this isn’t quite my situation and I’m sure I could have found an article that better fit, this was still very helpful because I’m in a long distance relationship still. The only difference is my boyfriend is a marine! He is in training for 9 months in Virginia while I’m in Texas. He isn’t able to come home for Christmas and wasn’t for thanksgiving either sadly. But I will get to fly to Virginia when my classes end in May and stay there for a month or two (: we do skype multiple times a day (because I’m on Christmas break and have time). We even rented the same movie and watched it at the same time! Also, even though he’s only been in his new location a month, I’m already making a care package! But we’ve gotten used to the long distance part, he went to boot camp for 3 months and after going from being together every day to only being able to write was tough! But there’s hope, I appreciate the tips a lot!


  3. I am a senior in high school and my boyfriend currently goes to our cities university, so it’s super easy and kinda nice only seeing each other a couple times a week rather than everyday at school! Our relationship seems so much more real and “adult/mature”. Next year I am planning on going to a university 45 minutes away and I’m just a little nervous about the long distance. We’ll both have our cars to come home and visit / or he come to my dorm to visit. I hope everything turns out ok!!!


  4. Thank you for writing this! I looked up article after article and they were all negative. I am graduating this May and I’ve been thinking that an end was inevitable. It gives me hope about the future!


  5. My husband (then fiancé) was overseas in the Navy for 3.5 years, and 3 of those I was in college. We made it! It wasn’t always easy, but 110% worth it. Marriage and relationships aren’t easy, and it’s important for our generation to understand the work that goes into maintaining relationships. Your advice for maintaining long distance relationships is great! Thanks for giving hope to those looking for it!


  6. Thank you so much for this! I’m about to start a similar LDR (I’m in Boston and my boyfriend will soon be in Pittsburgh) and this article gave me so much hope. These tips were amazing – definitely will be putting these to use 🙂


  7. Thank you for giving me hope no other blog has given me about this! I am about to go off to college 6.5 hours away from where my boyfriend will start his senior year of high school. Your tips will def help me a lot! (:


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