Hump Day: Long-distance relationships require dedication to survive

Maggie Rosenbohm

Question: My boyfriend and I are moving to different cities after graduation. I’m worried about how we’ll be in a long-distance relationship and if we’ll last the big change. How can I make it work?

Graduation marks the beginning of a time for big changes, so naturally, it calls for the reevaluation of every aspect of your future. For some, the countdown to graduation is also a countdown to the awaited breakup. Splitting up normally occurs because of unresolvable differences, and ultimately helps alleviate the stress those problems caused. However, even couples in healthy and happy relationships feel the need to cut ties as a way to start fresh in their post-grad lives. Of course, not all couples decide to breakup after graduation, but research conducted in Germany on 971 long-distance relationship participants found that the average lifespan of a long-distance relationship is only 2.9 years.

No, your relationship is not doomed if you decide to stay together, but there are things for you to consider before committing to the complexities of a long-distance relationship. 

Talk about the future honestly.

  • Having a conversation with your partner is a crucial part in deciding the future of your post-grad relationship. Talking about your future together in full disclosure will help clear the air of any confusion about not only how you feel about each other, but also where you see the relationship going. You should talk about how long you’re willing to be in a long-distance relationship and how frequently you’ll want to see each other. If you get the feeling the relationship may end eventually, you may want to consider ending things sooner and saving yourself problems down the road. 

Consider what you want for yourself.

  • You should only stay in the relationship if it’ll be a positive thing in your post-grad life. Putting your future on hold because you want to salvage a relationship could hurt you professionally and emotionally. Scheduled phone calls, Skype sessions, travel costs and emotional commitment make managing a long-distance relationship a full-time job. If you know you’ll need to focus on adjusting to a new routine in a new city, being in a long-distance relationship may sidetrack you from your goals. 

Evaluate your relationship.

  • Doing long-distance has a tendency to magnify any sort of problem in a relationship. While the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” may be true, it also can reveal even the smallest issues. With your partner, address any underlying insecurities you are dealing with that may become potential problems. Take care of these issues now so that they don’t emerge when you’re thousands of miles apart.

Know that you have options.

  • Despite what your friends or parents may suggest, graduation is not an ultimatum for a relationship. There’s no real need to put more pressure on yourself than needed. So if talking about the future with your partner leaves you unsure of what to do, leave the relationship to play out as normal. Think of the first few months of a long-distance relationship as a trial run. Give the long-distance an honest chance, and if it’s just not working out, you can move on knowing you tried.