Long-distance relationships

Photo by Allyson Stone

With the myriad career options at Tech, along with co-ops and internships that often take students to faraway places, spending time apart can be a test of the strength of any relationship.

Though there are more avenues than ever for keeping in touch, many students worry about long distance, wondering if they can make it work and if modes of communication such as Skype, Facebook and texting are enough.

A typical judgment of long-distance relationships is that they are ultimately unsuccessful, because a couple cannot maintain the romance in that situation.

“Of all of the relationships I’ve ever seen, only a few can make long distance work,” Maria Zuno, 2nd year ECE student said.
Adrianna Carter, a fourth-year BME major, emphasized the importance of making an effort.

“I think it can work, but at the same time you have to recognize each other’s needs and also make time for each other. In order for to work you have to have ‘dates’ with each other and set apart time to spend together even if it’s just over Skype. I also think that spending personal time together is important and you need to see each other at least every few months to keep the relationship going,” Carter said.

This particular view is a common one, shared by other students as well.

“I think that a romantic long distance relationship is like anything else. You just have to work at it. As long as you have a good relationship beforehand, I see no reason why long distance can’t work out,” said Thomas Marcs, a first-year AE major. His girlfriend, Sarah, currently lives in Knoxville.

Shauna Burnette, a fourth-year BCHM major expresses similar sentiments about having a strong foundation going into the relationship.

“It depends on how well you know the person before-hand. If you just meet somebody and then start a long distance relationship I don’t think it will work but if you have a solid foundation then I think you can grow more in love with each over long distance. You still have to continue to have personal interaction and talk to each other on a regular basis,” Burnette said.

Eric Wiener, a fifth-year PUBP major, noted that he and his fiancée were together for two years when she took a co-op in Texas.

“It was hard, but I think because we had such a strong foundation going into it we were able to make long distance work. We would do silly things like have meals together over Skype. It’s the little things that make it work,” Wiener said.

Communicating through alternative channels can be a way to grow closer in a relationship.

“When you’re on Skype you tend to talk a lot more, so I think it can be easy to get to know someone better that way,” said Melissa Hyde, a fourth-year IAML major.

Long distance doesn’t always work, however, even when a sincere effort is made to keep the relationship going.

“I’ve been in two long-distance relationships—one that didn’t work and then one that I’m in right now. I think they can work but both sides have to be very understanding and flexible. It can’t just be one person trying to contact the other—the communication has to be open and mutual. I think a lot of relationships occur over text anyway, so I don’t think that distance changes this aspect of the relationship, but can only make it stronger in the long run,” said Jenna Fair, a third-year BME major.

Many agree that long-distance circumstances, like any relationship, can work if both parties are fully invested in it.

“Long distance relationships can only work if both parties are serious about each other,” said Pushkara Chaganti, a fourth-year CS major.

Although it is not always an easy task, long-distance is not impossible. Finding time for each other and working at the relationship can keep up the romance.