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Long Distance Relationships at Loyola: Do They Work?

Relationships are hard even when your partner lives two doors down. How do people do long distance? Should college students bother?

I asked four students at Loyola University Chicago who are currently in, or have been in, significant long distance relationships what they thought. All of the students had plenty of insight on what makes a long distance relationship work and what doesn’t.

Women at Loyola find it particularly difficult to find a partner at Loyola. The male to female ratio is extremely low. According to US News, Loyola’s female student percentage is 63%, while the male percentage is 37%.

“They’re either in a relationship with their girlfriend from high school or they’re not into girls at all,” says sophomore Megan Collins on finding a man at Loyola.

These facts are known upon admittance into Loyola and confirmed your first day walking around campus when you see the amount of women that walk past. “I stopped even trying to look for a boyfriend. There isn’t any use,” said Collins. “I just have a lot of guy friends. If I want to look for someone, I usually just go to another school’s parties.”

The ones that are in relationships are some of the few that found love at Loyola or are in long distance relationships from their hometowns. Those who have experienced long distance know it’s not easy. But there are also benefits for being so far away from your significant other.

There is more “you” time.

Of course, it would be nice to spend your lazy days with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but there is an advantage to being alone. Amanda Tagliarino, a senior at Loyola, knew how to make use of the time by herself.

“I grew more independent,” the 21-year-old, Accounting major said. “I didn’t have to worry about interrupting my schedule to go be with him. I could just lay around all day and watch Friends or go on weekend getaways with my girlfriends. You need that time to just relax and find out who you are.”

Dr. Sue, a relationship coach from Los Angeles, wrote, “The best long distance relationship advice for scholastic couples is to give each other space to grow as individuals. Growth and learning are what college is all about, and these are the year where a lot of your tastes, personality and interests are going to change.”

It is a fact of life that people grow and a lot of people change. When you are in a relationship with someone who lives 300 miles away, it is difficult to see that change happen.

Make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

To save yourself agony and heartbreak, make sure a long distance relationship is something that you actually want. It took Austin Sprague, a junior transfer, too long to figure that out.

“We were only dating three months before we decided to go the distance,” said Communications major Sprague. “We barely knew each other. Being away for so long, you lose something special that you thought you had.”

According to Statistic Brain , a website that finds percentages, numbers and rankings, it takes an average of 4.5 months to realize a long distance relationship isn’t going to work.

“We never really talked about going long distance. But we also didn’t talk about breaking up. We just weren’t meant to do long distance,” said the 20-year-old.

As college students in Chicago, it is important to realize there is a lot that is out there. Even if the students at Loyola aren’t up to standard, there are thousands of other places to explore. If you aren’t sure about your relationship, try exploring your options around the city.

Communication is key.

 Thankfully, with technology these days, it is a lot easier to communicate from someone who lives across the country. Applications like  Skype , iChat,  Facebook, FaceTime, or even just texting helps make everything much easier.

Jace Lee, a senior Biology major, has been in a long distance relationship for over three years. “The most important thing [in a long distance relationship] is communication. You go for weeks, even months at a time where you don’t see each other and technology is the only thing you have,” Lee said.

It is important that the communication is stable throughout the relationship. “Even if it’s just telling her good luck on her exam or listening to her story about what her roommate did, it helps make if feel like you’re actually there with her.”

College couples now are a lot better off than couples 15 years ago, the technological advances are never ending.

“The only thing that is bad about technology as communication is that it doesn’t always work,” says the 22-year-old. “A lot of our fights are because our Internet connection is bad, or a text didn’t go through. You just have to understand that sometimes technology won’t always work.”

Trust before you jump. 

In order to make a long distance relationship work, there has to be a solid amount of trust. You don’t want to spend your days worrying, wondering where they are and what they’re doing.

Corinne Natyshak, a 20-year-old junior, has been with her boyfriend for over four years, and three of the years have been long distance. “If you don’t trust each other you might as well not even be together,” she said. “Honesty is the best policy. If you are honest with one another, then there is no reason to spend every moment of every day worrying.”

Especially around finals time, students have too much on their mind to be preoccupied with mistrusting thoughts about their significant other. If you stay up worrying that they are getting too drunk at a party or are nervous because they didn’t call when they said they would, maybe you two need to have a talk.

Enjoy your time in college while you can.

College is a once in a lifetime experience and for some, the time is limited. There is so much in Chicago that one can experience, and if you are being held back by a relationship, try reevaluating what is most important to you.

“One of the best parts about being in a long distance relationship is that I feel my life is so much larger,” said Natyshak. “I have that special trust with my boyfriend, so I can experience the college life to its full potential, plus know that I have him. If you find a balance, I think it works out just fine.”

 

 

  • written by mtaiber on February 13th, 2013
  • posted in Featured
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.