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A spirit that is not afraid

Coping with Long Distance

How couples separated by space find time to dwell on the good

As some students return from home and break, relationships return to the dreaded long-distance status. 

Hannah  Paik,  junior  in  early  child-hood education, met her boyfriend, Griffin, through mutual friends in their hometown. For Paik and her boyfriend, going home means a break from long distance. However, when Christmas break ends, Paik and Griffin return to Auburn and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, respectively. Both make efforts to otherwise see each other at least once a semester.

Long distance is no stranger to Hannah and Griffin. The couple has been dating for over a year, entirely long distance. Paik said the hardest part of long distance for them is finding the time to communicate. 

“The best thing we found that works for us is taking a day, most likely on a weekend, to sit down, have a ‘date night’ and talk about our week,” Paik said. “The biggest ‘hack’ I would say is communication and trust.”

Bradley Forster, sophomore in aerospace engineering, met his girlfriend through a part-time job in high school. Both Bradley and Sarah were working at a fast food restaurant when sparks flew. Forster said their relationship only became long distance when he left for school.  

“We’ve been dating since my senior year of high school, almost two years now,” Forster said. “The hardest part honestly is just not being able to see her often. Not too much of a surprise there.”

While Sarah resides in Huntsville, Bradley is completing his undergraduate degree at Auburn. The two have found that communication is the key to success, Forster said. He said the two Facetime every night and “talk all the time” to keep the communica-tion alive. 

“Also  trust,” Forster said. “If you don’t have it, I cannot even imagine having a long-distance relationship without it.”

Kara Beth Carr also met her boyfriend, John, when the two were in high school together in Knoxville, Tennessee. Carr, freshman in exercise science, said the two started long distance at the end of July when her family moved back to Birmingham. Then, the two started college with Carr at Auburn and John at Samford.

“For me, the hardest part of long distance is the idea of making separate memories,” Carr said. “One of the best things about dating someone is creating memories together, and long distance just means that you will have separate friends and separate lives.”

To echo the advice of Paik and Forster, Carr said communication is her biggest long distance “hack.” 

Carr said while both her and her boyfriend “push each other to be present in our respective circles and environments,” they still make sure to prioritize Facetime calls at night throughout the week and in their spare time.

“If you are feeling off or having a weird day, tell each other,” Carr said. “Our biggest thing is being completely open and honest with each other about how we are doing.”

Carr said the two also do “monthly  progress reports.” This entails a detailed talk, once a month, when they are able to see each other in person. The reports allow the couple to present any frustrations they have or any  change they wish to see in the upcoming months. Despite not being able to see each other often, Carr said these "reports" are an “amazing way to check in and be honest.”

Akin to many other long-distance couples, the two are sure to see each other during breaks. Carr said she and John create a schedule to ensure that they are spending equal time in each person’s city. They prioritize family functions, specifically. 

“Long distance relationships are hard but so worth it if you truly love the person,” Carr said. “I try to dwell on the good memories and time we get together and keep my eyes fixed on the end goal of a future together ... My tough love side would give the advice of if you do not see a future in it, don’t waste your time.”

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