Dispatches from a College Sexpert: 5 Tips for Going the Distance
With freshmen leaving home for campus and students graduating or spending semesters abroad, long-distance relationships (LDRs) are practically a college requirement. And whether you’re in one with someone from back home or someone from school, it can be hard to imagine getting through it in one piece. (I’ve never run a marathon, but I imagine it’s a bit like that.) As someone who has managed to survive a couple college LDRs, I wanted to share some tips I (and a few of my friends) have picked up over the years.
1) DO set ground rules to start—but be flexible enough to make changes along the way. Some things to regularly check in about are your preferred communication method(s), times you’re both free, how often you want to talk, and what constitutes cheating. (Many people have different definitions, especially when apart, so ground rules are always good.)
2) DON’T focus only on the past or the future every time you talk—it can get really old and the relationship, even if you’re apart, should stay in the present.
3) DO talk about what each of you is comfortable doing to keep your sex life going. Communicate about whether you’ll pleasure yourselves independently or with each other’s help via text, phone, chat, videochat, or parcel post. Hint: If you use gchat, you can turn the chat “off the record” in case it gets dirtier than you’d like to remember.
4) DON’T constantly pass up great opportunities (for travel, internships, study, etc) to be with your partner; if it doesn’t work out down the line, this can make the breakup even worse. That being said, if you’re apart for an extended period of time, planning when you’ll see each other and how you’ll keep in touch—and sticking to that plan—is a good idea.
5) DO keep in touch. Sending e-mails or even snail mail to update your partner or remind them how much they mean to you helps them seem less far away. Even if it’s just texting good morning and goodnight, it’s easier to deal with being apart if some patterns stay in place.
And now, the bonus tip you’ve all been waiting for: Don’t let the distance keep you from dating.
Here’s how to set up a long-distance date night in 4 easy steps:
1) Set a time when you’re both free for a few hours to talk and stick to it. Make sure your roommates, friends, and other possible interrupters know you’re busy. Then, get excited—it’s a date night, after all.
2) Watch a movie or clips using YouTube videos through a google + hangout. I recommend putting your partner into his or her own circle so you don’t accidentally invite everyone into your hangout during one-on-one time.
3) If you’re feeling frisky, you can fool around by chat, text, or phone. See tip #3 for more details.
4) Talk about the movie you watched, the great time you just had, or anything you normally would and say goodnight as you would on an in-person date.
If you have tips on making long distance work, let me know. For those of you heading into an LDR, I hope the tips help you make it through. Successful communication during long distance can make the relationship even better post-reunion. More good stuff about LDRs can be found here. Check in next week for tips on smooth sexiling.
“Maraton Madrid II” image by Antonio Martin.
Catherine Rivera is an intern for Bedsider. When she’s not counseling, teaching, researching or writing about sex and relationships, this Stanford University student can be found passing out condoms to her fellow students, mentoring middle school girls, indulging her sweet tooth , reading the news, or attempting to get inside the heads of her four younger brothers. Catherine doesn’t have a personal tumblr (yet), but you can follow her on twitter @cmrivera2013.