We spoke to an expert about long distance relationships, and why they affect students the most
It’s time we learnt the truth
by Alex Wright
Long distance relationships are hard, there’s no denying that, but it always seems particularly difficult when you’re trying to juggle it with university as well. Why is that? And are there any actual reasons for long distance relationships being hard, or is it just a myth we’re all willing to accept because it’s easier than admitting we fucked up? We spoke to relationship expert Lissa Coffey to find out.
Different people can experience different kinds of effects, and Coffey says that while “some people may feel lonely, insecure, there could be abandonment issues, others may feel that it is very convenient, and that it gives them independence and freedom”. She also agrees that absence can make the heart grow fonder and make a reunion very special, but it “could also bring about feelings of hurt, anger, and despair”. So pretty much a double sided coin then, really.
The trick with long distance relationships, as anyone who’s ever experienced one knows, is maintaining the intimacy, and, according to Coffey, “technology is our friend. The important thing is to share and to be truthful with one another. Tell each other things you don’t tell anyone else”. Having said that, “there’s nothing like that in-person visit. Eye to eye, skin to skin, it makes a big difference”.
Just like all negative relationships, a negative experience in a long distance one can have a detrimental effect on your future relationships, insofar as the trust would be shattered, making you “less likely to be easily trusting the next time around”.
But why do long distance relationships seem to have the biggest impact on university students in particular? Coffey has answers for this too. Basically, because there is so much going on, “growth is occurring in so many areas”, and there are tonnes of opportunities for new experiences, making long distance relationships more difficult. She goes on to say that “it can feel restrictive to be in a long distance relationship. You have to ask yourself if you really want that level of commitment at this age, and if you want to put these restrictions on your partner as well”.
Essentially, it’s good to grow, but you have to be aware that there’s a chance you could grow apart. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, “you’re finding yourself, this is the time you want to explore and learn as much as you can about your self”. Just know that you might be doing this completely, totally, 100% single.
On a slightly more positive note though, Coffey seems to think that long distance relationships can work. Sometimes. The trick is to “go into it [with] no expectations. Know that if it is meant to work out, it will work out. And if not, then you’re still fine”.
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