Sexperts: “Long-term, Long-distance Relationships”

February 10, 2012 Columns, Opinion, Sexperts

‘Tis the season to either bask in the enjoyment of being romantically attached or curse the day the word “love” was ever invented. Although with Valentine’s Day falling fairly far into the valley of the school week this year (i.e. Tuesday), singles and non-singles alike are finding it hard to strike up the romance with a full plate of homework and classes on the table.

Even more tried on this mushy occasion are those who will be forced to spend the day hundreds, even thousands, of miles away from the objects of their affection. For the vast majority of these couples, this is nothing out of the ordinary and perhaps a vital part of what keeps the love going strong despite the obvious physical barrier.

The expressions “long-distance” and “long-term” have always had a particular way of resonating in the ears of skeptics everywhere, leaving them with a look of disbelief that pretty much says it all. No one ever stated that a long-term, long-distance relationship was easy, but given the correct two people and just the slightest amount of effort, it really does have its perks.

One, you only have to see each other when you plan it, so no awkward “maybe I should have shaved?” moments for you ladies. Making it work with minimal face-to-face contact requires three primary traits: trust (duh), compassion (for when things get rough) and creativity (no, do not try to have a candlelit dinner over Skype).

Trust is the obvious biggie. Without mutual trust a relationship, whether long distance or not, will have serious problems that do not need explaining. For example, it is not in any party’s best interest to divulge in a detailed play-by-play of Saturday night’s activities. If you know your partner, why question his or her whereabouts or judgment?  You fell in love with that person for a reason, right?

The next trait can, many times, be forgotten when dealing with a far away honey. Compassion is key because, like many college students, both you and your partner have full schedules. These schedules not only leave minimal time for long, drawn out phone calls, but can take a toll on your stress level as well. Stress does not bode well for anyone. Add in the fact that you probably (here’s where trust factors in again) have not had sex in quite a while, and you are definitely not a happy camper. Sex is a proven agent of stress relief, among myriad other unrelated benefits. All in all, compassion for your sweetheart’s packed days and sometimes unappealing attitude will pay off in the long run when you are not at the peak of relationship excellence yourself.

Corny crap is often mistaken for creativity, especially around a holiday like Valentine’s Day. Creativity does not mean partaking in the overpriced tradition of sending long stemmed roses or doing “couple-esque” activities via Skype. These methods are both worn out and uncomfortable. Resist temptation to go overboard (unless you are into that sort of thing) and send a few extra “Thinking of you <3” texts instead. Where you really get creative is sending well thought-out text messages about memories that you both appreciate and that you know will bring a smile to your partner’s face. Even that time you drooled all over your beau’s chest during a nap will do (assuming it ended in laughter rather than disgust). Since love letters are, unfortunately, a lost art, this is a much simpler way to display how much you mean to one another and can even be perfected by Mr. I Can’t Put My Emotions Into Words.

For those who do not fall into the category of “long-term, long-distance” this Valentine’s Day, you can feel lucky that you can disregard the last four paragraphs and continue to live your life free of complications. But for the people it does apply to, well, you are the luckiest ones of all, because it is something truly special if you have found a way to make this unique type of relationship work in the midst of the collegiate lifestyle.

Are you in a long-distance relationship? Have other questions or topics of concern for our Sexperts to cover? Ask those burning questions and retain your anonymity by heading to thesandspur.tumblr.com/ask

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