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5 Steps to Making Long Distance Relationships in College Work

Lolo & Nate | Updated: January 19, 2023

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.

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

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

long distance relationships in college pinterest image

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

Statistics of Long Distance Relationships in College

According to research from the 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:

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.

Long Distance Relationships in College: 5 Must Dos

Prioritize Schoolwork & 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:

Wondering whether this is something you can do without? Think about this quote:

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

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, 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.

Now It’s Your Turn!

Let’s Put the 5 Step Plan Into Action

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

Want the support of a like minded and inclusive community? Join our LDR Support Group and let us know what tips you’ve put into action!

Our FREE 7 day LDR challenge is BACK!

Unlock better date nights, deeper communication plus a stronger intimate & emotional connection.


Lolo & Nate author image for bio
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!