Dear Dogtor Zach: Long Distance Relationships
By Gettysburg College Counseling Services
Dear Dogtor Zach & Co.,
I was dating someone on campus before the pandemic hit and everyone scattered to go home. We are trying to work out a long distance relationship. How can we make this work?
Dear Distance Sucks,
Whether it’s a pandemic, study abroad, or summer break, long distance relationships are often experienced by many college students. Recent studies show nearly 60% of relationships succeed, which is favorable. Communication, honesty, and creativity are a few keys to making it work:
“Communication is to relationships what breath is to life” –Virginia Satir
- Small Talk & Big Details: Be curious and ask questions to find out details in the small talk. Show genuine interest in all the moments (even the insignificant ones) that make up their lives.
- Share Your Experiences: Talking about common interests and planning virtual activities improves feeling connected to your partner. Try virtual biking, walking, hikes, gaming, meal prep, etc.
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people” –Spencer Johnson
- Let honesty build your integrity and your relationship.
- Being honest with yourself and up front with others produces healthy physical responses in the body.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein
- Watch a new show together virtually and talk about it.
- Use a couples’ app to play games, dream of future travel, or build a common interest. We suggest Happy Couple, Kindu, Love Nudge, or Rave (to watch shows together).
- Send good old fashioned snail mail and add a fragrance, confetti, photos, drawings, or cut a piece of fabric with your smell on it like an old shirt.
- Make a list of what you will do when you can get together.
- Join a virtual trivia night or karaoke.
And if you think you are alone, one study concluded that 75% of engaged couples have been, at some point, in a long distance relationship.
Dogtor Zach says:
When my humans are away for a long time, I’m comforted by their smells—the more rotten, the better! I like to sleep with their socks, rub my nose in their dirty clothes, and think about what it is going to be like when we are together again. When I see them, I’ll jump all over them, wag my tail, and give them tons of kisses! What keeps you connected with your mate? #WWZD
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