Distant relationships prove challenging

Long-distance relationships are often viable options for today’s college student, but some students are challenged by living in separate cities or states and trying to maintain a relationship with limited personal contact.

Overcoming temptation and outside interferences are often considered obstacles for those students interested in maintaining healthy fellowships.

Jarvis Francis, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Orlando, said he thinks long-distance relationships cannot work because they fail to help couples maintain healthy relationships.

“They don’t work because they’re long distance and (that) takes lots of communication,” he said.

Francis was once involved in a long-distance relationship.

Francis said he didn’t like being on the phone, a dislike that played a factor in his relationship lasting only a semester.

“If you cannot communicate, then you have nothing,” Francis said.

While some students question the probability of a couple surviving after battling the problems created by distance, others remain optimistic.

Chanel Mitchell said she believes a long-distance union can indeed work and survive.

“If you believe in being in true love and have hopes for a future with someone, distance should not be a factor,” she said.

Mitchell, 18, a freshman nursing student from Portland, Ore., has experienced being in a long-distance relationship.

She said the relationship was able to function because of long conversations and constant communication. She offered advice for students attempting such relationships.

“Commitment, trust and loyalty are the three main ingredients for a successful relationship,” Mitchell said.

Although they experienced different outcomes, Mitchell and Francis both agree a long-distance relationship depends on the people involved and require a large amount of maturity, patience and endurance.

Gabrielle Solomon, 20, a sophomore education student from Fort Myers, said before students engage in this type of relationship, they need to know themselves.

“If you are jealous or insecure, this is not for you,” Solomon said. “It takes serious trust.”

Solomon is currently involved in a relationship of this kind, and her relationship has lasted for two years.

She frequently sees her partner between breaks and visits him throughout the semester. This keeps them going strong, she said.

Solomon added that when she and her partner are together, “It’s my home away from home.”

“One thing that I do that helps my relationship is that I talk to him every day, and we stay involved in each other’s lives and try and stay on the same page,” Solomon said.

Although long-distance relationships can require lots of time, Solomon doesn’t allow time to become a problem.

“Don’t let (the relationship) be time consuming,” Solomon said. “Set ground rules to know each other’s schedules and the best time to contact one another.”

Mitchell said the best advice she can give to someone interested in a long-distance relationship or currently involved in one is, “Be prepared for long conversations, be committed and learn to cope with no face-to-face interaction.”

Yolanda K.H. Bogan, associate professor and director at the Office of Counseling Services, said because of the lack of physical interaction, she believes a long-distance relationship is a great opportunity for students to get to know another person better.

“Put your best foot forward,” Bogan said. “Involve each other in one another’s lives.”

Bogan said long-distance relationships, like average relationships, have many conflicts that require compromise.

She stressed the importance of planning trips for intimate time together and constantly making good decisions that can benefit both partners.

Bogan also said communication is the most important factor in sustaining a promising relationship.