With this year’s freshman class being one of the largest in Linfield history, there is bound to be a greater number of incoming freshmen involved in long-distance relationships. You know, the kind where you chose Linfield and she or he chose another school or has yet to graduate from high school. As someone who managed to maintain a relationship for three-and-a-half years under these circumstances only to see that relationship end with a text message, take my advice: now is not the time in your life to struggle and sacrifice to keep that love alive.
This may be hard to swallow for those of you who get swept up in the unadulterated pleasures of young love. It is important to remember that this has no bearing on the feelings you and your significant other share. However, the power of college to challenge and change all of your current values, beliefs and feelings is unprecedented and irrefutable. This has to do with the reality of the situation.
You need to ask yourself: What would you do when you plan a trip to visit your girlfriend or boyfriend and at the last minute your friends decide to take a road trip to California for the weekend? What are you going to do when you’ve planned to spend Christmas break with the one you love and your roommate invites you to Mexico, all expenses paid? What are you going to do when you are supposed to spend summer vacation at home so you and the person you are with can spend time together and you get accepted to the summer internship that you’ve been dreaming of? What are you going to sacrifice? When you need to plan time to spend with the person you love because the distance between you is longer than a walk from one dorm to another, those visits are going to become a burden on you, especially when you are missing out on the fun things your friends on campus are doing, even if it’s a spur-of-the-moment Winco run at one in the morning.
Don’t neglect the power of regret. Let me preface this by saying that regret has a very pejorative connotation, one that I would like to ignore. Instead, I choose to use the word to describe the realization that the costs of one action (spending time with your girlfriend or boyfriend) are higher than the benefits received from that action—that is to say, that there was still pleasure had.
One of the biggest problems of a long-distance relationship is the added pressure to make the absolute best of every moment you spend together. When you seldomly see each other, you treasure those planned weekly visits. But as time wears on and you start to realize that you are missing out on other activities, those visits start feeling more mandatory and less voluntary. What I mean by this is that you convince yourself that you need to see each other as regularly and as frequently as possible. When you realize that you are missing out on things you would like to do, you start feeling a constant and insatiable desire to make every moment you spend together the best it can be—as if making up for what you are forgoing. When you don’t have a good day together or fight or one of you is just in a funk, you start to regret giving up time with your friends for time with them. The worst thing you can do to yourself and the one you love is let that regret grow into resentment, and the best way to avoid this from happening is to never sacrifice the things you want to do in the first place.
The relationships you have, whether they are with friends and family or your boyfriend or girlfriend, will always be an important part of your life. And while I may be more cynical of long-distance relationships than I once I was, it is still important to remember that right now is a time in your life where you need to take advantage of all the freedom and opportunities you have. You must be selfish with your college experience and get the absolute most out of it. Although you may love someone, you can’t let that love be a barricade to the opportunities you will have as a student here. People always say you must sacrifice for love but what is more true is that if you share true love with someone, those feelings will stay strong even if that love is what you must sacrifice.