Making it work

Jessica Mendoza

Long distance is the best thing that can happen to a relationship. You’re spared from having to actually look at your significant other. Just send her a teddy bear in the mail on Valentine’s Day or send him some football tickets on his birthday and you’re set. Out of sight out of mind, right?

Ok fine. All jokes aside, long distance relationships happen. And they can work.

Research from the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships (yes, such a thing does exist) shows that about seven million couples in the United States consider themselves in a long distance relationship. In college, about 25 percent of students report currently being in such a relationship, and 78 percent have been in one sometime during those four years of debauchery.

Take Villanova Senior Amy Dane, for example. She has been in two long distance relationships since sophomore year. No, Dane’s not crazy. Even though her current boyfriend lives in Texas, they are still able to see each other about once every three weeks. “At times I regret being in a long distance relationship,” Dane said, “but not really. Not enough to outweigh the positives.”

Besides saving money because you don’t have to take your loved one out on weekly romantic dates with roses and expensive dinners and limo rides and shiny things and … what are those “positives?”

First, the obvious: independence. You can have your own life and do your own thing. Sophomore Nina Tran said, “You can hang out with your friends more and don’t have to stress about not making enough time for each other.”

But you can still make time for each other in unconventional ways. Spend a minute writing a love letter. Set up a phone date. Drop a cute “just wanted to say I love you” IM. Undeniably, long distance relationships foster creative and open ways of communicating.

Second positive: the distance is a test of your commitment. “You’re not going to be able to make it through a long distance relationship with just anybody,” Junior Dan O’Donnell said. “I was only able to make it through because I was with someone special.” Like O’Donnell, many people believe that if you’re meant to be, then a few miles won’t tear you apart.

Third positive: the quality time really is quality. You’ve all seen it. The girl runs off the plane into the arms of her boyfriend who is holding a bouquet of two dozen white roses. They kiss and hug. You gag. But admit it, deep down most of you are proud of the happy long distance couple.

The rest of you just aren’t quite convinced of the benefits of long distance relationships. Sure, there are drawbacks to these relationships. There is limited time spent together physically, and there can be difficulties in resolving conflicts over the phone. You may even have suspicions about what your love muffin did last night. Senior Lijue Philip said, “Distance sucks. It’s hard not seeing someone for a long time.”

But hey, even you long distance relationship cynics can see the bright side. “You get to hook up with other people,” an anonymous senior male said. “There’s a lot more freedom. The ball’s a lot lighter and the chain’s a lot longer if she’s a couple hundred miles away.”