College Crisis: Going the Distance

Obrien.CollegeCrisisLongDistanceRelationshipsThis goes without saying, but being in college is hard. I’m always stressed out and I’m always trying to find time for things that I just, quite frankly, don’t have time for. And for the past couple of years, I’ve thought that having a significant other would really help with that – it’d be nice to have someone who could make me happy when I’m feeling like ripping my hair out, take me out to dinner, or even just hang out with me and do homework.

While I was never able to find that person here in State College, this past summer while studying abroad in London, I met the most perfect guy I’ve ever encountered. He’s everything I’ve always wanted; he’s handsome, funny, extremely smart, respectful, and simply put, we just mesh so well. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone but him. There’s just one problem…he’s still in England.

Now, if I were a normal, sensible person, I would have told myself that dating someone across the ocean was a bad idea. That it’d be ridiculously hard and sad and just upsetting. But did I? Yes – but I didn’t listen. And now I’m in a long-distance relationship, the first one of my entire life.

Going into it, I knew that I didn’t want to be with anyone else, or continue doing the stereotypical college thing. He was worth much more than any of that, even if he was over 3,000 miles away. And it’s not hard to commit to him. I don’t have any interest in talking or looking at anyone else, and he makes me feel more cared for than anyone else I’ve ever been with that’s been 1 mile away from me.

But because he’s so great, it’s even harder. I miss him all the time, every day. So much that it’s hard to concentrate on school or homework. I feel like I have two lives: my American college life, and my life with him in England. Even worse is the fact that I feel like my life in America is just temporary until I can get over there. I count down the days until Christmas break (when I’m going to visit him) at least once a day.

I think everyone that hasn’t been in a long-distance relationship before thinks they know how hard a long-distance relationship is, but really has no grasp of the concept. “Yeah it’ll be hard,” I told myself, “but you’re busy and you have a lot going on so time will fly.” And that’s all valid. The weeks do go by fast. But what you don’t account for are the moments you get to yourself when you don’t have things to distract you, and you start to miss that person immensely. Or they text you and say they miss you, that’s really hard. Or you’re doing something and you think to yourself “He/she would really like this” and you wish more than anything that you could share it with them.

But for all of those moments when you’re sad and you try not to think about them because it just makes it harder, there are a million more moments in which you can’t deny how worth it that person is – if you’re in the right relationship. I’ve always told myself that long distance was a bust, that it would inevitably fail. But while it’s hard – and yeah, it’s a total bitch – I’ve come to look at my relationship as an adventure. Aside from having a fairytale relationship with a foreign guy (and yes, he has an accent), I have an experience with someone I truly care about that I’ll always be able to remember.

Photo by Alex O’Brien


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