Love from Afar: Long Distance Relationships

 In College Life, Health Wellness and Safety

Long distance relationships are on the rise according to one recent statistics-packed article.  (Incidentally, there’s no shortage of websites solely dedicated to long distance relationships or LDRs in the vernacular.)  Everyone has their own ideas about whether LDRs can work, but statistically, there’s little difference in the success of a relationship for college-aged people based on proximity.

Long Distance Relationships and Study Abroad Students

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So, as a study abroad student to the US you need to make decisions about your life—and love life—based on what’s best for you as an individual.  If someone loves you, and there’s meat on the bones of your relationship, statistically you’ll weather the distance while you study English in the US.

Staying Close When You’re Far Away

Statistics in your favor don’t give you a free pass.  Long distance relationships are work!  You’ll need to keep in touch and assure your boy or girl that they are the light of your life.  Technology today makes staying in touch easier than ever before.  Skype as often as possible.  I have a friend who travels for weeks at a time overseas.  She has her tablet set up on her nightstand so she never forgets to say “good morning”, or “good night”.

When you do speak try to do more listening than talking, especially in the early stages of your study abroad.  Let your partner tell you how they feel, and find ways to make being apart easier for both of you.  If you’re “face timing” on your phone introduce them to your new friends, or take them on a tour of the town where you’re living.  Including them in your life abroad will help reassure them that they’re still important to you.  Think about how you would feel, and what you would need if you were in their shoes.  Don’t give your partner reasons to have doubt or worry.  Make sure that before you leave your home country to study ESL in the US that you prepare for the changes that distance will force upon your relationship.


Many people involved in long distance relationships have a fear that their partner will cheat on them.  The number of miles that separate couples isn’t what dictates whether someone will cheat.  If you’re in a serious relationship and are committed to one another you need to have a strong level of trust.  If you really think your relationship can’t endure a few months apart chances are you didn’t have a future together anyway.

Spending time “together” doesn’t have to be all about intimacy either.  You could become an online team in a gaming platform, make a movie date where you both watch the same film, and talk about it later, or “take” each other somewhere special for a “face-time” date.  Be creative, and have fun.

The Financial Aspect of Maintaining an LDR

You’re going to want, and need to see each other while you study English in the US.  Depending on how far away your home country is, this could be very expensive.  You’ll need to be there for the important events in your significant other’s life, even if the timing is inconvenient for you.  Plan ahead for a schedule of visits, and set money aside.  Splitting the cost of a plane ticket is something that works for many ESL students in long distance relationships.

Becoming a study abroad student in the US will mean that you’ll be spending time away from those nearest to your heart.  Be smart and thoughtful and your relationship will survive the miles.  Maybe the first English words to master and share will be “I love and miss you.”

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