Making Long Distance Relationships In College Work: Including Our 5 Step Action Plan

Long distance relationships in college seem like the opposite of what we define as the typical college experience.

Between the partying, late night studying, spring breaks, and sporting events, you’re meant to be meeting new people and having a crazy time.

What doesn’t come to mind is that you may be missing or worrying about your partner who is hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

Not everyone goes to college single and ready to mingle. 

long distance relationship in college

There’s no need to break up and throw in the towel simply because of the miles between you.

A college long distance relationship is not impossible, and if you mean the world to each other, then you owe it to yourselves to give it a chance!


Lolo and I met while on student exchange at San Diego State​. Unfortunately I was only enrolled for one semester while Lolo was there for two! This was the start of what would become a challenging 18 month long distance relationship.

Nate
Lasting The Distance


It’s More Common Than You Think

Journal of Communication

75%
College Students

Engaged in an LDR at some point.

Cornell University Study

1/4
College Students

To 1/2 in some form of LDR.

Even though it can feel like you are the only one in a long distance college relationship, know that you are not alone.

Studies on Long Distance Relationships in College

According to research from the June 2013 Journal of Communication, up to 75% of college students have engaged in a long-distance relationship at some point. According to a Cornell study, 25% of college students consider themselves to be currently in some form of a long distance relationship.

On average, the participants were:

  • Just under 21 years of age.
  • Had been in their relationships for around two years.
  • Had been living apart for 17 months.

They noted that even though couples who lived apart had fewer daily interactions, the interactions they did have were longer and more meaningful.

Stay Positive!

It’s easy to focus on the negatives of a long distance relationship, especially for those of you in college who are already going through many life changes. College life brings its own set of challenges such as trying to decide what you want to do with your future, becoming your own independent adult, exams, financial instability, and more. It can be hard to meet your partner’s needs while you’re settling into your new life.

But there are benefits to having a LDR in college as it will force you to be independent, become great at planning, and have a relationship that is more than just physical, which is uncommon to today’s “hook up culture”.

Both studying? Another positive is that your partner is going through the exact same situation and you can offer each other support in this time of uncertainty.

If you are in or are about to be in a college LDR don't despair, we've put together five 'must do' tips that will help you go the distance. Lets get stuck in!

Long Distance Relationships in College: 5 Must Dos

Prioritize Schoolwork and Studying

ldr college

First and foremost, you decided to attend college to earn a degree and better your future. Yes, your relationship is one of your top priorities, but your education is number one.

If an important project or test is coming up, you may need to focus all of your time on that rather than your partner, and that’s okay. Remember that you're paying a lot of money for your education and you don't want to put that in jeopardy.

Set Expectations

You might have the urge to 'wing it' because it can be hard to talk about these situations. But for the benefit of your relationship you need to make sure you have clear expectations for you and your partner. Here are some basic topics to get you started:

  • How often will you speak to each other?
  • Should you set designated times to check in with each other?
  • What methods of communication do you prefer?
  • How often will you visit each other?
  • How will you manage changes if study issues come up?

​Have others we should add? Let us know in the comments below!

Wondering whether this is something you can do without? Think about the quote from Benjamin Franklin: "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.".

If these things are sorted out ahead of time, it will be much easier for things to stay on track.

Getting The Most From Video Chat

video chat with ldr partner at college

This goes without saying for a LDR, but there are many ways to use technology to simply spend time with your partner over video chat. Having that visual connection can help ease any separation anxiety as it  can help to make it feel like you are both in the same room.

Maybe you use Skype to have a study date together. You can even quiz your partner since they won’t be able to cheat and see the answers on your end! Or maybe you have date nights together by watching a TV series or movie in sync.

Have a roommate? Make sure you're keeping them in mind while video chatting. Whether it be by using headphones or going to another room.

Schedule Chat & Visiting Time

Although technology is great for communication, make sure you aren’t constantly choosing to chat with your significant other rather than building a healthy social life at school. Scheduling times to chat will allow you to be consistent, but also have the freedom to go out and create new friendships.

Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out believes it’s important to strike a balance because it can be “really hard to choose the awkwardness and the insecurity of not having a lot of friends at your new school over being with someone who's familiar to you".

visiting ldr partner at college

Scheduling visiting time is also important. Let's be honest, the majority of us aren't able to visit our partners every weekend, as funds are usually tight and studies take over. You need to make the most of the time you do have available, such as holiday breaks and long weekends.

If you can agree on seeing each other at specific times, you've now got a goal to work towards. It'll also make it much easier to manage your time and save the necessary cash, which will make the time you do spend together fun and less stressful!

Keeping Jealousy in Check

jealousy in a long distance relationship

Making new friends and building a social life are a big part of the college experience so it's easy to see how it can be tough to think about your partner making new friends or just going out and experiencing new things without you.

This needs to be taken as a positive rather than a negative. Being supportive instead of bitter about your partner making new friends and expanding their social circle is going to help you grow as a couple and as individuals.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about you or wishing you were there. If your partner happens to miss a phone call or not reply in a timely manner, try to give them the benefit of the doubt before letting jealousy and anxiety take over.

Coolest Gift For College LDRs: Friendship Lamps by Filimin


These wifi connected friendship lamps from Filimin are an amazing way to stay connected with your partner without completely disrupting their studying!

Placing your hand on top of the lamp will make it glow, which will then send a signal to the other lamp to glow.

It's an amazing and subtle way of letting your partner know you're thinking about them.

For more information, check them out on UncommonGoods.com. They also have promotions from time to time.

We really like Filimin, not just because they make a great product for LDR couples, but because they are also helping people in their community.

Check out the video below to see the work they're doing with the Wichita Women's Initiative Network. 

You can also check out our article on the top 5 long distance friendship lamps that are currently available!

Now It's Your Turn!

Let's Put the 5 Step Plan Into Action

  • If available, talk about your class and study schedule(s) to see when you're both free.
  • Set some expectations based on our example questions or some of your own.
  • Pick a time to study together or set aside a little more for a special date night.
  • Start to think about your next visit. Who will be visiting who and when?
  • Agree with each other to see old friends or meet new ones and reflect on it together.

LDRs in college can be a positive experience for both partners. Trying some of the above tips is a step in the right direction that will help to further strengthen your connection when miles apart.

Comment and let us know if you’ve put any of the above tips into action and how they’ve helped you, or if you have any tips we haven’t mentioned let us know!

Lolo & Nate
 

Hi, we are Lolo (Canada) & Nate (Australia) a couple that had to go through all that a long distance relationship has to offer, just like you. With our experience and lessons learned we want to help you keep your long distance relationship as strong as ever and ultimately last the distance!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Shandar - July 2, 2020

Im Shandar im Indian who lives in Croatia in Zagreb she is 17 years like ,e , I met girl calls Assyifa, she lives in Indonesia, Arosbaya. We are loving each other and planing when I will finish high school for 2 years and will go to college to go in Indonesia, we know we are far away and 5 hours different, I sometime feeling so sad and stressfull, and sometime thinking to breakup but we dont wanna, if we break up we will remember all our memories, moments, mesasages, video calls and it will make us very very sad, my family it is possible and her family said same thing too.So how I can stop negative thinkings?

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - July 4, 2020

    Hi Shandar,

    A good option is to set goals you can both work towards. Whether it’s keeping a routine for calls or working together to plan and save for your next visit.

    I understand that you’re both young and it may be some time before you can see each other. But know that if you’re willing to put the work in, it will be worth it.

    Good luck!

    Reply
      Shandar - November 3, 2020

      Thank you so much i really appreciate and my girlfriend says its true and thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
        Lolo & Nate - November 4, 2020

        No worries Shandar! Glad to see you back 🙂

        Good luck!

        Reply
Courtney - November 24, 2020

Hi!

My boyfriend and I are not long distance yet, but will be for at least a year when I start college this coming August. I’ll be moving to Florida, while he finished his Senior year of high school back in northern Ohio. And then, after that, I’m going into the military, and so we may be long distance for long stretches of time.

First, I wanted to thank you both for this blog. It’s helping us plan ahead for our time apart.

Second, I wanted to ask about how I should work on communication.

Him and I have a deep connection and good communication as it is, but I often run out of conversation topics. What should I do when I don’t know what else to talk about? I want to get to know him better, even if I already know him pretty well. Are there things I should ask, to get the ball rolling?

Thank you!

Courtney and Keith

Reply
    Lolo & Nate - November 24, 2020

    Hi Courtney,

    Thank you so much for the kind words, it means a lot to us 🙂

    Communication is VITAL and it’s really promising to see that you want to work on it. Self awareness is key in LDRs so Well done!

    There will definitely be times of silence that’ll leave you both thinking, ‘Um, what now?!’. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.

    Two next steps for you:

    1. Check out our article on Date Ideas. Tons of opportunities here to deepen your connection.
    2. Sign up to our 7 Day LDR Challenge. It’s completely free and has a lot of tips when it comes to communication.

    We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.

    Good luck!

    Reply

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