Joy, love outweighs pain in long-distance relationships

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Courtesy Photo / WM.EDU

When I was a sophomore in high school, I wrote a piece for my school’s paper on how long-distance relationships during college are a waste of time and effort. I thought that in order to be happy in college, I could not be in a long-distance relationship, especially if it was a long-distance relationship that I had started in high school. I thought that if I wanted to have the whole college experience, I had to be single.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I found myself in a loving and committed relationship with graduation and my freshman year of college fast approaching. I knew I didn’t want to end my relationship solely because college was on the horizon, and I began to completely reevaluate my feelings on long distance relationships. I couldn’t understand how breaking up with someone I loved dearly would in any way make my college experience better, and when my boyfriend and I decided to attend different universities, I realized that I was headed for a long-distance relationship.

I am now two years into my relationship, and I am so thankful that I didn’t let myself end it over some absurd idea that I needed to be single in order to enjoy college. Being in a long-distance relationship certainly isn’t easy. It comes with a whole host of challenges. It’s unbelievably emotionally draining at times. I never thought it was possible to miss someone as much as I miss my significant other when he isn’t with me, but I’m truly at my happiest whenever we get to spend a weekend together.

I used to think that being in a long-distance relationship would result in me missing out on certain college experiences, and sure, I miss weekends here at the College of William and Mary when I go to visit my boyfriend, but it is so unbelievably worth it. I am still able to have a wonderful and fulfilling college experience, and if anything, being in a long-distance relationship has only added to my college experience.

My freshman year of college I was able to truly grow as an individual. I made new friends and adjusted to my new life at the College on my own terms. I was challenged to step outside of my comfort zone. I joined clubs I was passionate about, took classes that intimidated me, and applied for leadership positions. While my freshman year of college was one for the books, sometimes all the “new-ness” got to be overwhelming. When that happened, being able to reach out to my boyfriend for comfort and support was priceless. He was and is always there via text or FaceTime to help me with homework, talk through my friend drama, or congratulate me on my accomplishments.

He is truly an integral part of my support system despite the fact that he is several hours away, and simply because he doesn’t live in Williamsburg doesn’t make him any less important or necessary in my daily life. The unique challenges we face as a result of our distance don’t even compare to the absolute joy that our relationship brings us.

We have both been able to fully and independently enjoy our college experiences thus far while simultaneously being there for one another when we need the support or when we just want to talk about our days. So, no, being in a long-distance relationship isn’t easy, but it also hasn’t taken anything away from my experience here at the College. All of the hours I spend on Amtrak trains or weekend football games I miss are nothing compared to the happiness my relationship brings me.

Email Katherine Yenzer at keyenzer@email.wm.edu.