Should you stay with your high school boyfriend in college?
Walking up to the podium to accept your diploma, you imagine your life next year – freedom from your parents, beautiful collegiate campuses, joining a sorority. But it’s not all out with the old and in with the new. Graduating from high school can be bittersweet too, especially when it comes to your high school boyfriend. On one hand, maybe he is your first love and you have shared an amazing few months or even years together. On the other hand, 3000 miles of separation is no joke. Moving onto the next stage of your life, should you leave your high school boyfriend behind? What do you need to consider before getting into a long-distance relationship?
Can You Trust Each Other?
In any relationship, trust and communication are important. But when in a long-distance relationship, being able to trust your boyfriend when he is out by himself or being able to honestly talk about problems that arise becomes exponentially more important.
Going to college is also a unique situation – freshman year, you will have the chance to meet all sorts of new people and have many new and different experiences. But because you aren’t together all the time anymore, you have to be able to come to terms with the fact that you won’t know every move he makes or every girl he talks to.
HC Contributing Writer Heather and her boyfriend started dating December of their senior year in high school but ended up going to college in New York and California. Seeing each other every couple of months, they were able to make it work until this past spring.
“A LDR is also 98% about trust. If there's no trust, on either, or both ends, you're setting yourself up for many ugly phone conversations,” she said.
Especially if your boyfriend is still in high school while you venture off to start collegiate life, it will be difficult to explain all of the new people you’ve met and the cool things you’ve been able to do without him feeling left behind or unable to relate. Vivian, a junior at Georgetown University, had dated her boyfriend for just two months before he graduated high school and shipped off for University of Michigan.
“The most difficult part was learning to understand that college life is very different from high school life and I had to accept that. When he went out, more trust in him and our relationship was required because it was a totally new lifestyle he was being exposed to that I knew little about,” she said.
Can You Make The Commitment?
Being in a high school relationship while in college means both people making a sincere commitment, but this commitment might not be the same for every couple. Before parting ways in the fall, you’ll need to make sure that you’re both on the same page about how open or serious your relationship will be next year.
“Each person has to be honest with themselves with what they want, and then communicate that to the other person. When people fail to do either, the relationship will not work,” Vivian said.
With this commitment comes the fact that there will be temptation that you will need to resist. Whether it’s that cute upperclassman in your English class, the guy you meet at a Halloween party, or even your best guy friend who has a crush on you, being in a relationship means saying “no” to all of this.
HC Contributing Writer Rachel, a student at James Madison University, and her boyfriend, who goes to University of South Carolina, are separated by six hours. When they were studying abroad in Europe, they were actually closer together than back home! While they had known each other for two years before they started dating, they officially made the leap on the last day of high school.
“Long-distance relationships are all about trust and willingness to commit. If you're unsure as to whether or not you can do it going into the relationship, long distance is not for you,” she said.
Bringing Part of Your High School Life to College
You can expect that sometimes other people will give you a hard time that you are constantly video-chatting with your boyfriend instead of going out with your friends. They may not exactly understand what it means to be in a long-distance relationship, but having a balance is important. You need to be present enough in your current life to take in all that college has to offer.
Hofstra University junior Melanie began dating her boyfriend CJ in 8th grade. Making it work through four years of high school, they spent three months apart at the beginning of freshman year before realizing that they needed to be together.
“Though it may seem that I've traded in my social life for a relationship with my cell phone, the reality is that I'm still able to go out ‘til the wee hours of the morning, socialize, and then go home and sneak in a late-night conversation with him,” Hofstra University junior Melanie said.
If you are getting ready to embark on this road, you also need to consider the fact that you and your boyfriend will not be physically together for most of the year. Moreover, college, for many, is a defining experience and a period of growth. Can your relationship continue to grow if you and your boyfriend are apart?
“I think long-distance relationships are hard to work out because you lose some intimacy with the person. You also form new relationships and change in ways that are hard for your significant other to understand when he or she isn't around,” Williams College senior Kavitha said.
Relationship expert Rhonda Ricardo insists that part of making a long distance relationship in college work is to continue to follow your own dreams.
“Follow through on your dreams and goals while he is gone. If he does not feel ‘the rush of the chase’ when opening your messages, it may be because the mail he receives always says the same thing. He may start to wonder if his passionate woman has lost the excitement he fell in love with in the first place and stop opening her boring messages! So, when you tell him about your latest adventurous achievement that makes him consistently wonder how to keep up with you (and completely ignore the new cheer squad), tell him in a way he can share it with others, and beam with that cute knowing smirk!” she said.
Make It Work
So, if you’ve considered all things and you’re ready to take the plunge, these are some ways to keep your long-distance relationship feeling great:
- Set aside time every day or every week to talk on the phone or video chat--that way you are making each other a priority.
- Even if someone trusts another 110%, it’s hard not to wonder when you are unreachable for hours at a time late on a Friday night. Try to make each other feel as secure as possible in the relationship. Even just a “miss you!” text message will let him know that you are thinking about him.
- Work harder to resolve arguments immediately. Since you’re not going to be face to face, there is no hugging or cuddling to make things better. Have an honest conversation about the situation and promise that you’ll give him the “kiss” in “kiss and make up” the next time you see him.
- The best thing you can do to keep your relationship exciting and new is to VISIT! Not only a refreshing change from talking on the phone or seeing him on your computer screen, you’ll also get to meet his friends and get to know his life at school. This can get expensive, especially if your relationship is bicoastal, but even a weekend can be wonderful. “The first time you see him, make it memorable but simple. If you think the sight of you with your hair blowing in the breeze looks messy think again, this is one of the images men love to describe to their friends when they return to school!” Rhonda said.
Not All Good Things Can Last
And if you gave it a try, but you realized that a long-distance relationship is just not for you, it is okay! If you and your boyfriend are on good terms, you may still be able to remain friends. And you can take solace in the fact that if you two are really “meant to be,” there is always the possibility of getting back together in the future.
“Looking back, I'm glad we gave it a shot. You never know unless you try. We were constantly communicating about how we were feeling and in the end, it was fairly mutual that we couldn't be together. Not at that time at least,” Vivian.
Melanie, going on six years together with her boyfriend, didn’t try to force the relationship to work as they made the transition from high school to college. Sometimes you have to try out the situation to see what you truly want.
“If you love them, let them go, and if they return to you, then it was meant to be. I can only speak from experience, but that is what worked for me. The time apart will help you make friends and adjust to your new home,” Melanie said.
College girls all over the country who began college with long distance relationships
Relationship expert Rhonda Ricardo, a freelance columnist for the Californian/North County Times Social Scene and author of Cherries over Quicksand
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