Couples plan for college separation
Lily Geiser | Staff Writer
Nearly a third of college relationships are long distance. With graduation looming just around the corner, more college-bound couples will join those numbers.
The transition from high school to college can be incredibly difficult — moving away from your family for the first time, living in a completely different environment, losing touch with friends. Some of the most difficult decisions come from seniors in serious relationships, who have to either let go or learn how to keep up a relationship from miles apart. Despite the challenges a long distance relationship entails, many students choose to take that chance, finding ways to work through the hardships as they come.
Junior Caroline Curtin started dating her current boyfriend, a freshman at the University of Cincinnati, the summer before her sophomore year. She said she believes their ability to live independently of one another is one of the key reasons they were able to stay together.
“We met and knew each other for a week, and then he went away for a month without his phone,” Curtin said. “So I met him, and we began to talk in a friendship, and he was gone. So I feel like that really helped, just not becoming super dependent on him super quickly. I feel like I don’t depend on him for everything, we’re very independent, and when we do things together, it’s just for fun, versus like, ‘I need you for this or I need you for that.’”
In college, Curtin plans to study something related to early child education or social work. She said dating someone attending the University of Cincinnati may have impacted her decision of whether to apply there, but she believes it has more to do with her familiarity with the campus than her relationship.
“I think (visiting him) definitely opened my eyes to UC a little bit more,” Curtin said. “Being on campus at UC made me a lot more comfortable with UC and more confident. But I don’t think I’m going to go to UC because he’s there. That’s something my mom always talks to me about, she’s always like, ‘you shouldn’t be making this decision because of him,’ and that kind of thing, and I understand that.”
Although senior Grace Koesters will be attending UC, her boyfriend of two years, Kevin Tull, will be attending Ohio State University. She believes that the distance will not be a significant problem, as they can easily travel the 100 miles to see each other.
“There’s a bus system that connects OSU, Miami, (and) UC,” Koesters said. “And I’m only twenty minutes away from my house, so I can very easily go home. We haven’t really planned anything, but we’re also only an hour and a half away, so it’s pretty easy.”
Seniors Delaney Durham and Luke Helm, although they plan to stay together when they go off to college, don’t want their relationship to impact the place they choose to attend. Although they applied to some of the same colleges, they are trying to make their college decisions as impartial as possible.
“We’re actually not telling each other, until we’ve paid our deposit, where we’ve decided to go so that way we don’t sway each other,” Durham said. “The first time we talked about it, there wasn’t much conversation to it. We were both like, ‘yeah, we’ll do long distance.’ It wouldn’t particularly bother me, because I have a lot of trust for him, and I think it goes both ways.”
Curtin also finds that trusting her boyfriend, even when she can’t see him all the time, has helped them to sustain their relationship over the distance. A relationship lasting as long as hers has, Curtin believes, helped her to learn to have patience with her partner.
“Your relationship, loving someone doesn’t have to be spending every hour with them or writing them notes,” Curtin said. “You can love someone well by distancing yourself or giving them grace and saying, ‘hey, when is a good time for you to talk,’ not ‘now is the time for me to talk, let’s talk.’ Just having patience with your relationship, don’t rush.”
Many couples, like Curtin and her boyfriend, opt to stay together despite the distance. Helm believes that, even if he and Durham end up at different colleges, the distance should not stand in the way.
“There’s no reason we should stop dating because we’re going somewhere else,” Helm said. “We’re pretty set. We’ve been together for a year, and I’m not going to drop that because we’re 100 miles away. I mean, distance makes the heart grow fonder, so it should only make me love (her) more.”