What The Tour Guide Didn't Tell You About: Long Distance Relationships

Okay so for this one, I had to get advice from a half of one of the best couples I know. My cousin J.T. and his girlfriend Erin are 2013 graduates of Gettysburg College and UC Santa Cruz, respectively and have been together since October 2008 of their senior year. What is really exciting is that, between the time I asked Erin to do this, and actually getting it up, they got engaged! Although it's now going to be "official," I feel like she's family forever. Here's some of her advice on making long distance really work.

What is the hardest part of long distance in college?
The hardest part about long distance is not being able to touch. Now with FaceTime and Skype long distance couples can see each other daily and talk easily but not being able to hug, snuggle ect. really takes a toll on the whole intimacy relationship. 

How did you manage going to school thousands of miles away?
We were really committed to making the relationship work so we made sure to FaceTime almost every day and to travel to see each other once a month and spend holidays together. 

Would you recommend it for most girls? What would be your advice for incoming freshmen thinking about it?
I think it only works if you one hundred percent trust the person you are with. Doubt and jealousy will ruin a long distance relationship. Also, if you are not planning to be together for the long haul, what's the point? Unless you want to marry that person and are looking forward to your life together after college, I don't recommend it. If you are in love though and want to try, what's the harm? You might as well try and see if it works for you!

What is your opinion on the whole "on and off thing?"
On and off to me is a test of breaking up. If you can see life being food without that person and want some time away from them that's fine, but I think you should not try to continue your long distance relationship. It is too hard a situation for a relationship that is not secure. 

What was your "secret" to making it work?
There really is no secret. FaceTime as much as possible because seeing your partner frequently definitely makes you feel closer. JT and I FaceTimed about thirty minutes a day every weekday we didn't have a phone call. But again, having total trust is key. 

Any comment on "open relationship idea?"
An open relationship seems like a good idea to me as long as both people are completely ok with it. It gives you freedom while apart but you still get to be together. However, if one or both people are even a little uncomfortable with the idea it can cause more stress than it's worth. Since JT and I didn't have an open relationship, that's my objective opinion but I think we feel closer to each other and as a couple knowing we were always faithful to each other even when we were apart. 

Any last pieces of advice?

On a last note, having a long distance relationship in college definitely takes commitment. I was able to do it because I prioritized work and him over everything else. I got to have a lot of fun in college and go out a lot and have lots of friends, but there were nights where I said no to a party to stay home and talk to JT on the phone or over text. I think there just needs to be a balance between the relationship and making your individual life a priority. 

Erin Mundy is a recent college graduate from UC Santa Cruz. In her free time, she enjoys cooking with her fiance, watching movies, dancing and going to the beach. While originally from Miami, she now resides in San Carlos, Ca (outside of San Francisco and plans on attending graduate school in the near future.

P.S. My best friend, Sophia is one of the most talented musicians/writers I know. She is on her way to releasing an EP, but in the meantime, check out her Soundcloud!  (You will not regret it)
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