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Why Long-Distance Relationships Are Hard

Knowing What to Expect Can Help You Prepare for the Inevitable Challenges

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It's no secret: long-distance relationships, especially in college, are incredibly difficult. After all, just being in college is hard enough, so adding a long-distance relationship to the mix is inevitably going to add some stress and difficulty. Whether you're deciding whether you want to give your relationship a shot across the distance or whether you're just trying to prepare for what's to come, it can be a great help to be aware in advance of the challenges inherent in any college long-distance relationship.

It can be a major challenge to share the little things. Sometimes, it's being able to share the little things with someone that matter the most. Grabbing a cup of coffee, pointing out how ridiculous your physics professor is, or sharing a giggle over something funny in the quad are all things that can be hard, if not impossible, with a long-distance partner. Not having the shared experience of a million little things can be both sad and frustrating, especially as time goes on and all of those little, unshared experiences start to add up.

It can be a major challenge to share the big things. You landed an amazing on-campus job; you just totally rocked your campaign speech for student government during dead hour in the quad; you finally got selected to write a weekly editorial for the campus newspaper. While these may all be a huge deal in your college life, they can be hard to explain to someone who is far away and not completely familiar with the context they're happening in. Sure, a partner can be excited for you, but it's never quite the same as being there with you to applaud your efforts and see your victories in person. And that can be hard sometimes.

Trust issues can be difficult. You both are far away and living your own lives ... which hopefully means meeting new, interesting people. You might be a little jealous about your partner's freedom and frequent interactions with potential love interests; your partner might be a little insecure about how much time you're spending with people he or she sees as a threat to your relationship. While any relationship has to be based on trust, trust in a long-distance relationship can sometimes be harder to establish. Your brain may even be able to logically explain why you should totally trust your partner, and yet your heart just can't seem to get on board. So even if you know you're being a little silly, trust issues can still creep in and pose a major challenge for one or both partners in a college long-distance relationship.

Holidays and special events can feel lonely. While your major goals for college should be, of course, academic in nature, there are major moments that happen along the way that are made all the more meaningful because of the people you share them with. And when your partner isn't there, things can get pretty challenging. Whether it's a major athletic victory, a large cocurricular event you're organizing, a religious holiday, Valentine's Day, or even something that happens unexpectedly, being alone when you want to share a special moment with your significant other can turn even the best of moments into one that's also bittersweet.

The distance can grow without either person realizing it. Even if both partners in a college long-distance relationship have the best of intentions, things sometimes just don't work out. All your Skype dates, messaging, and attempts to stay close somehow just fall short. The challenging part of this situation can unfortunately be that it happens without anyone really realizing it -- or, even worse, with one partner realizing it well before the other.

No matter how much you try to explain your college life, your partner will never fully understand it. Even if your partner lived on the same floor in your residence hall as you do, you still wouldn't be fully able to explain all of the details of your life to them. So when you add distance to the situation, things can quickly becomes incredibly, if not overwhelmingly, challenging. Even the best communicators can find it difficult to accurately and adequately explain all the exciting things about their time in school. And a partner can quickly become frustrated at their inability to fully understand what's going on in their significant other's daily life. So while it may not necessarily be anyone's fault, it can be frustrating when neither partner fully understands the other's life.

You just miss 'em! It goes without saying, of course, that the biggest challenge of a college long-distance relationship is the fact that you just miss someone you care very deeply about. You can try your hardest to stay close and make the relationship work. And even if you do last during your time apart, you'll undoubtedly miss your partner terribly during the journey.

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