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How to deal with that long-distance relationship

By in Opinions
Suck it up, buttercup.

The Ubyssey (University of British Columbia)

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Many bright-eyed first-years arrive at university still attached to their high school girlfriend or boyfriend. And it’s no wonder: the beginning of university is an overwhelming time. What could be more reassuring than falling asleep on Skype with a person who already knows and loves you, instead of facing the uncertainty of new people and experiences alone?

“I have been in a long-distance relationship, and it’s pretty difficult,” says University of British Columbia graduate student Jesse Olson. “Especially in your first few years of university, when you’re incredibly social and you’re meeting people.”

There will be many new experiences that you won’t be able to share with your significant other, and this can breed resentment, jealousy and paranoia. Even if you’re both level-headed about the situation, simply the strain of missing each other can be hard to bear.

“I don’t think you should stay with” a high school girlfriend or boyfriend, says second-year student Marjan Hatai. “You just miss out on a lot. You miss out on a lot of fun [when you’re] staying in on a Friday night to Skype. Or things can get controlling because you’ll be worried that the person’s doing something.”

If you’re spending all your spare time on Skype, checking your phone constantly for “xoxo”-filled texts and generally isolating yourself from social contact, then it might be time to re-evaluate the relationship.

Healthy long-distance relationships are possible, but they require balance.

Cultivate your life outside of your significant other, and allow him or her to do the same. Otherwise, both of you run the risk of turning into lonely, co-dependent shut-ins.

Urooba Jamal, who was a residence advisor at UBC last year, describes the Turkey Syndrome: “It’s when residents go away for Thanksgiving and come back after that long weekend and they’ve broken up with their significant other. We are always aware of the fact that there’ll be some droopy residents around that time.”

On the other hand, some couples do make it work.

“I think if they both feel it’s right, then it’s right,” says Olson.

Political science student Kate Burtinsky agrees. “I know plenty of people who are still with their high school sweethearts or are engaged to them now.”

Photo: The Ubyssey

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