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Meeting your significant other at university is wonderful. You get to live and work near them, meaning you can see them almost everyday. Unfortunately, meeting your significant other at university also means that you have to part ways when it’s time for breaks in the academic year.

I like to consider myself a bit of a long distance expert. Even though my partner and I met at St. Olaf, we have spent over half of our relationship thousands of miles away from each other. Despite this experience, I will admit that each time we leave each other it can be a little bit of a difficult transition. Here are my top four tips for maintaining a happy and healthy long distance relationship:

  1. Before you leave each other, discuss how often you want to communicate. Some people thrive on calling for a few minutes each day, while others prefer longer calls every few days. How about texting? Do you want to be texting each other throughout the day? Do you prefer FaceTime over short messages? In this day and age, there are so many different methods of communication. Knowing your partner’s preferences can avoid unnecessary stress over talking to each other. Every so often, check in with each other to see how you both feel your communication is going. 
  2. Keep something that reminds you of them nearby. It can be a photo in your phone case, their sweatshirt, a stuffed animal, or a trinket. Having something that physically reminds you of them can serve as a  reminder how wonderful their presence is. I don’t know how to explain it, but wearing their shirt makes me feel so much closer to them when we are hours away from each other.
  3. Do something fun together! Sometimes phone calls can get repetitive. Watching movies or playing online games together can help maintain conversations and create fun memories. I personally enjoy watching horrible movies and making cracks at them with my partner.
  4. Try to visit each other! I know this last tip is the least accessible as it requires both financial burden and time commitment. If you and your partner are able to visit each other once or twice in the middle of your time apart, it can be a nice reassurance. It can be a great time to explore the city your significant other is living in or a time to get to know their family.

Take a deep breath. Long distance isn’t permanent. The months will go by, and come September you will be back in each other’s arms.