May 4th, 2023, 09:00 AM

Netflix and No Chill: The Realities of Long Distance Relationships in College

By Clayton Wilson
Image Credit: Clayton Wilson
Are long distance relationships in college worth it?

Long distance relationships in college can be both exciting and challenging: while some may argue that maintaining a relationship with someone who is miles away is not worth the effort, others would beg to differ. With the rise of social media and technology, it has become easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones, regardless of the distance. However, the question remains: are long distance relationships in college truly worth it? 

While long distance relationships have their fair share of teary goodbyes and late night phone calls— as someone who is in a long distance relationship myself, I know this to be true—there are benefits to being long distance that might not come to mind immediately. In college, two very important aspects of the experience are studying and socializing. A long distance relationship can allow some couples a more defined structure of independence when they are not together. Let's be honest: the person that you are in a relationship with can serve as a very positive distraction but sometimes even a positive distraction can become a negative one. The independence can allow you to focus on your school work and social life while also continuing a relationship with someone who is near and dear to you, maybe just not physically.  There are many other positives that shine through while doing long distance. In my personal experience, if you dedicate yourself, your communication and emotional connection with your partner can flourish. Communication does not mean that you have to be in contact 24/7, but rather being intentional with when and how you speak to your partner.

AUP senior Alessandra Grassi has been long distance from the start. "We’ve always been long distance, so we learned that we need to communicate our feelings in depth pretty early in our relationship. Since then, we’re obviously always learning and changing, but I think we’ve gotten a lot better at emotional transparency and keeping each other in the loop in a way that makes us feel like active parts of each other’s lives, even though we can’t physically be there." 

Finally, long distance relationships can allow for personal development. Being apart from a partner can provide an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. It can also give individuals the chance to focus on their studies and personal goals without the distractions of a full-time relationship. And you know, as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder.




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A TikTok of a long distance couple reuniting went viral for "couch boy"'s lackluster reaction to his girlfriend surprising him.

Of course, there are also downsides to long distance relationships. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of physical intimacy. Being unable to hold hands, hug or kiss can be difficult for many couples, and it can be especially difficult for those who place a high value on physical touch. In addition, the lack of regular physical contact can make it difficult to maintain emotional intimacy as well.

"I feel like its not being able to communicate in the most genuine way, because for me that’s physical touch, not just sex, but hugs, kisses things of that sort can’t be expressed how I appreciate Olivia, especially because I’m not as naturally a words-of-affirmation person but throughout the days, time difference, over text, etc. making sure I’m providing the affection that I’d want to be expressing fully." said Jaheel Johnson, who is in a long distance relationship with AUP Senior Olivia Rouse.  

Rouse agrees physical intimacy is a problem in long distance relationships because of "not being able to express my affections physically, especially as it’s both a key love language for us."

Another major challenge of long distance relationships is the difficulty of maintaining a sense of normalcy. When two people are in a long distance relationship, they may feel disconnected from each other's daily lives. They may miss out on important events, such as birthdays or holidays and they may struggle to feel like a part of each other's social circles. Another con noticed by Lauren Rosker, a junior at AUP, is that while a long distance relationship can be a good way to keep each partners individual independence, when you reunite with your partner it is easy to drop everything else in your life. Looking back on her previous long distance relationship, Lauren said that, “It doesn't feel as necessary to you to put yourself out there and make friends—at the end of the day you always have someone to talk to, you can always stay home and Facetime them for hours.”

Grassi surprising her boyfriend at his home in Southern California. (Image credit: Alessandra Grassi) 

The new age of technology has helped define the modern long distance relationship, sometimes referred to as an LDR. Beyond the basic messaging and communication apps, the tech industry has found a new niche in creating products that target LDR couples. The LDR technology market goes further than you may think. You may have heard of the bracelets that buzz you when your partner touches theirs or the app that lets you watch movies together online. But for those of you who maybe want a bit more passion in your LDR, there is a new product, MUA, a device that mimics kissing, going as far to make sounds and warms up during use… personally, I’m good.

The truth is, only you will know, or come to find out, if a long distance relationship is worth it for you. There is no right or wrong. it works for some and it does not for others. It is not a testament to your compatibility.