OPINION: Short tips to make your long distance relationship work

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(Photo courtesy of Bailey Britton)

“Are you busy?”

“No, just playing video games.”

“Oh, okay. Do you want to FaceTime?”

The phone rings almost immediately. We FaceTime at least once a day, sometimes twice, depending on how much time we have after finishing classes and working. Talking this much is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I used to see my boyfriend everyday at work. Now, thanks to a global pandemic, social distancing guidelines and a statewide stay-at-home order, I don’t know when I will see him next.

My boyfriend Dalton Wainscott and I have solved this in numerous ways: Minecraft dates, Netflix Party and FaceTime to name a few. It’s not ideal but being 372 miles — a five hour and 10 minute drive — apart forces us to be creative.

Long distance relationships aren’t ideal even in the best of conditions. Right now, I can’t just get in my car and go to Overland Park (I can barely go to the grocery store). However, every couple makes it work somehow. Here’s how Dalton and I do it.

Communication, communication, communication

Communicating is something everyone should do in a relationship, so this is a no-brainer in my book. However, it can be difficult if you aren’t talking face-to-face. Texts can be confusing if you don’t have the voice inflection and context.

We like to FaceTime and did it every day for the first week we were apart due to social distancing. However, now that we have gotten back into the groove of homework and hanging out with our families, we don’t feel the need to talk 24/7.

Try to talk on the phone when you can, but don’t overwhelm your partner. Some people don’t like talking all the time. That being said, if your partner asks to call, try to make time for them! Your partner may be anxious and need something to help them stay calm.

Take it easy

Are things getting tense because you have cabin fever and are cuddle deprived? Lighten things up and talk about nonsense.

Need some ideas? Talk about your weird conspiracy theories (like I do) or explain the daily habits of your dog (like Dalton). Another option: quote an obscure song and see if your partner can guess what it is.

Make (digital) quality time

I didn’t start playing Minecraft until last fall when I met Dalton. Over spring break, I started playing on my own and got hooked. Now, we meet up in our survival world and play for hours at a time. To date, we have made three houses, a fortress, two farms and explored several mine shafts.

Normally, I don’t play video games because I don’t have the time, but this is a good way to destress and focus on something else other than my anxiety. It also makes me feel productive as I am creating something out of nothing.

If video games aren’t your thing, try reading a book together, cooking a meal over FaceTime or sharing something you have done. Quality time is one of the five love languages and you or your partner may be missing out on this while apart.

Remind yourself this is temporary

Right now, things seem out of control to me. But, everything will OK eventually. Originally, I was going to visit Dalton on his birthday. Then, Gov. Laura Kelly announced a statewide stay-at-home order until April 19. That was disappointing, but I just changed my plan to go after that was lifted. Then, a nationwide recommendation extended that date to April 30. At the rate this is going, it will be at least another month until I can see him.

To get through this, I just remind myself that I will see him eventually. It is disappointing, but it’s temporary. This is cliche, but there is a reason it’s cliche: because it happens all the time.

If you are in the same situation, it can be hard. Hopefully, you and your significant other have a game plan in place. I know I won’t take time with my significant other, friends or family for granted after this.

Bailey Britton is the managing editor for the Collegian and a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the managing editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.