by Olivia Kelley
Freshmen Ingrid Rekedal and Noah Daniels are getting ready to figure out how to make their relationship work while being 1,900 miles apart.
The Trevecca couple has been dating for nine months after meeting on campus and have rarely gone a day without seeing each other. But this summer, while Rekedal remains in Nashville to pursue an internship, Daniels will be headed across the country to Idaho.
Many Trevecca couples are facing similar situations as the end of the semester approaches.
According to a survey conducted by hercampus.com, 87 percent of college students have been in a long-distance relationship at some point. Of those, 72 percent were because of internships, study abroad programs, and one or both people going home for the summer.
Layla Bonner, a counselor with the Trevecca Counseling Center, said while
these relationships can seem stressful and hard, they are not at all impossible.
“Yes, being in a long distance relationship is hard,” said Bonner. “But being in any kind of relationship is hard work. It’s about whether or not you are willing to do the work.”
Finding creative ways to let your significant other know you care about them is important when you can’t see that person every day anymore. Gifts such as teddy bears, letters, or even just setting aside time to talk with them can make a difference, she said.
“Let them know you are thinking of them,” said Bonner. “Plan something big. If you can make one or two trips to see each other, then that gives you something to look forward to.”
Rekedal and Daniels have planned a couple trips of their own this summer in order to make some time together. Daniels is planning a trip for Rekedal’s birthday and Rekedal will be planning a trip to Idaho, assuming she gets a week off from her internship.
“I think it will take a lot of constant reassessing my outlook on things and communication,” said Rekedal.
Sophomore Keaton Butler and her boyfriend, Nathan Brookes, experienced long distance for the first time last summer when she went to work at a mission camp in Pennsylvania for eight weeks.
“It was very rare when we would get to talk, because I had to stand under this one specific tree to get cell service,” said Butler.
They found other ways to communicate, though, since they couldn’t always talk on the phone. They wrote letters and Brookes sent Butler a mix CD through the mail. Butler even kept a journal of letters to him every day that she gave him at the end of the summer.
“The one thing you can do is try to be understanding of one another’s circumstances,” said Butler. “It’s not ideal when you are so far away, but it was really reassuring to have spent so many weeks apart and know we still wanted to be together.”
Advice from an expert:
Relationship counselor Layla Bonner suggests this formula to help couples maintain a secure connection.
A- Accessibility. Can the person you’re dating reach you? Will you be available?
R- Responsiveness. Will you care about what they are saying?
E- Emotional Engagement. Will you actually engage and be attentive to your significant other?
“Don’t just sit and text,” said Bonner. “Communication is always key.”