Managing a college relationship post-graduation

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The end of the school year comes with a lot of changes. For first years, the end of spring quarter signals their transition away from dorming life to living in apartments. Some students may decide to transfer out to a new university in the fall and of course, seniors say their goodbyes to UCR and go off to graduate school and beyond. For couples with any sort of year gap, or simply a significant other (SO) that is transferring out, this leads to a predicament: Should the relationship be ended or should an effort be made to make it work despite the circumstances? And even if the relationship continues, the question arises: How can a couple keep it healthy and strong despite distance?

The first question can only be answered by you and your SO since it is unique to every relationship. It’s obvious that the two of you care about each other and probably don’t want the relationship to end; however there are more factors that must be taken to account other than just strong feelings. For one, the relationship is more than likely to be long distance, unless your SO lives relatively close. But even if distance isn’t a large factor, differing schedules are guaranteed to be. Dating is never a smooth and stressless process, but if continuing the relationship is negatively impacting other aspects of your lives, it might be best to part ways for now.

If the decision is made to continue seeing each other, then the next hurdle will be managing all the previously mentioned downsides of a long-distance relationship. At first it might be difficult to adjust to your partner not being a 15-minute drive away or being unable to see them on campus; however long-distance isn’t impossible. With the internet, texting and social media, there is no shortage of methods for communication. However, finding time to talk in the first place is a different story.

Keep in mind that you and your SO very well may end up living in different time zones, which would limit your time spent with each other to a few hours a day. Even if your SO stays in California, they will likely be working or attending graduate school. In either case they will likely have an intensive workload, which limits the aforementioned time together even more. But this is not to say that the relationship is destined to fail. There are multiple ways to assure that you and your partner can maintain that essential communication.

One method is messaging which, as impersonal as it may feel, can still go a long way. Whenever either of you has free time, take the opportunity to send a text. It may not be replied to in that instant, but it allows for you and your partner to keep a conversation throughout the day, which helps prevent the two of you from growing distant.

Scheduling video calls ahead of time is another popular approach, since it allows for you and your partner to see each other face to face, even if separated by a screen. However, it is extremely important to note that both your schedules have the potential to change at a moment’s notice. While you both might think you are free to talk at an established time, any number of things can cause this to no longer be the case. As with any problem, deal with these sort of situations while keeping considerate of your partner’s feelings. Spending less time with each other will be a result of busyness, not a lack of caring or effort by either side.

Lastly, remember to relax. A relationship is meant to enhance your life, not detriment it. Even with the stresses of a long-distance relationship, be glad that you and your partner are both willing to put the effort into trying. If there is genuine a sense of connection and commitment, a relationship will thrive no matter the odds. Have confidence in the bond that you have formed with your partner and move forward in the relationship together.

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