Long Distance Relationships

Students attending Catholic University are quite diverse, and come from all across the country, and from many countries around the world, as well.

Many students, therefore, have been at some point in the past, or will be at some time in the future, in a long-distance relationship while they are pursuing their undergraduate, graduate, or professional degrees. Maintaining a relationship (whether it be with a romantic partner, friends, or family members) is challenging when you are not able to spend time together and share in the same activities. At the same time, long distance relationships do have some benefits.

Challenges Benefits
  • Finding time to communicate or visit with each other
  • Feeling lonely when your partner is not readily available
  • Deciding how to define the parameters of your relationship
  • Trusting that your partner will be faithful to the relationship
  • Evaluating the relationship while distanced from each other
  • Spending the money to visit
  • Deciding how to spend the time that you get together
  • Having more time to spend with close friends, participate in extracurricular activities, and study
  • Learning who you are outside of a close relationship
  • Improving your communication skills
  • Feeling secure that you have a pretty solid relationship, if your relationship can survive over a long distance
  • Appreciating the time you spend together even more

When you're in a long-distance relationship, it's important to stay connected. It can be difficult to establish emotional intimacy over distances, so here are some creative ways to keep in touch:

  • Schedule time to talk, and treat it as if you were going on a date- be on time and be attentive to your partner!
  • Create a relationship ritual of sharing your daily "highs" and "lows" with each other.
  • Send mementos of dates together (e.g., a movie stub from a movie you saw together).
  • Use a webcam to talk "face to face".
  • Make a list of your 25 favorite memories with your partner.
  • Send care packages.
  • Plan ahead together to make plans for how you'll spend your visits together- make the planning fun!
  • Make a CD of your favorite songs or an "audio letter" and send it to your partner.
  • Start your own long-distance book club by choosing a book to read together.
Try as you might, problems will arise in long-distance relationships, as they do in all relationships. Long-distance relationships can succeed, and even become stronger when resolving conflicts! However, they require an investment by both partners in the relationship. What can be helpful is being aware of potential pit-falls before they happen, and addressing them right away when they do happen. Some ideas for coping with long-distance relationships include:
  • Improve communication by frequently sharing thoughts and feelings more openly.
  • Schedule times to talk but be flexible if other things come up once in a while.
  • Expand your support system by getting involved in extracurricular activities and meeting new people.
  • Allow your partner to grow by encouraging them to develop their own social support network.
  • Discuss guidelines for your long-distance relationship and acknowledge that these may need to change later.
  • Be honest with your partner if you are unhappy or upset; they can't do anything to fix a situation if they don't know about it!
  • Talk to someone! Friends are a great resource, and the staff at the Counseling Center is also available to help you cope with your long-distance relationship. The Counseling Center is located on the first floor of O'Boyle Hall and appointments can be scheduled by calling 202-319-5765.