Sep

6

Print Teaser: Long Distance Relationships

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The following is an article appearing in the upcoming issue of The Blue and White.

Long Distance Relationships“Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”

“Yeah, it’s metaphysical.”

“Cool. Where is she/he?”

“A senior at our high school/at a state school back home. But we’re going to text each other every night and make it work.”

Or something like that. Be prepared to hear this conversation—or similar riffs on the theme—roughly 600 times over the next week (unless you can duck the first-year swarm). According to Dr. Gregory Guldner, director of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships (longdistancerelationships.net), up to 50% of first year students are in an ominously termed “LDR.”



In a period defined by “replacement”—new friends for old, floormates for siblings, no one for parents—half of Carman is unwilling to let those memories remain in their families’ station wagons. Guldner claims that as many as 78% of college students will experience an LDR. So you’re not alone now, and don’t feel alone when your high-school sweetheart stops calling your ROLM phone: 74% of LDRs don’t make it past their first year.

Will Berlin, C ’10, plans to fight the odds with stamps. “I’m a big fan of letters,” adding that he and his girlfriend (who is still attending high school in Illinois) keep homemade letterboxes in their rooms. “Now we’re making new boxes because, uh…the other ones are full.” Guldner recommends handwritten letters, saying, “Scenting these letters with a particular cologne or perfume also can have a profound effect for some couples”

But still, what about that whole distance thing? “She’ll be doing the same things I did last year, so I can relate,” Berlin said.

Guldner is less sanguine. “I sometimes compare intimacy to a rope that holds two people together,” he muses. “The inner core of the rope is the sharing of emotions between one another. But around this core are thousands of tiny fibers made up of each seemingly mundane exchange or experience that occurs between a couple. While no one fiber is terribly important, as a whole they create the true strength of the bond”.

Can Berlin take on the nay-sayers? “I’d say ‘You’re entitled to your opinion, but I disagree because I’m gonna make mine work.’”

3 Comments

  1. pencil

    my long distance relationship worked for a long time, but sometimes I wish it hadn't. Those things die hard and I think I would have had a better college experience overall if I hadn't been focused on an out-of-town girlfriend and had more energy to invest in friendships at school.

  2. pencil

    College LDR's are an oft-analyzed subject, but one very common phenomenon that goes largely unnoticed or at least un-written about is the 'dating someone from the first month or even week of school for the entire duration of college.'

    LDR's have their drawbacks but this other kind, I think, is far more socially threatening and oh so easy for freshmen to fall into. I can't help but think those relationships never ended more because those people's lives were too intertwined from the beginning and they never had a chance to be independent.

    LDR's may suck but there's something to be said for dating someone far, far away.

  3. mlp  

    I've been in a successful LDR for 3 years now. It may be rare, but they can work. I actually really enjoy being able to have a social life that doesn't revolve around my boyfriend - we have more things to talk about than we would if we were having the same college epxeriences.

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