Communication is key for couples in long-distance relationships

Summer vacation forces couples in college to expand their communication skills to make the best of their break

Being in a relationship can be an amazing experience, but many college couples face a unique dating hurdle when finals are done for the semester. 

With it being summer, many couples are spending the next few months away from the person they care about. While some couples can make it work with scheduled visits and constant communication, not everyone has the ability to see their partner as often as they would like.

Fortunately, there are ways to make a relationship last through the summer months apart. 

Before going into a long-distance relationship, it is important to speak to your partner to ensure you are both on the same page. 

Sex and health education coach Dr. Lori C. Ebert said communication is key to a long-distance relationship. 

Ebert has a Ph.D. in health education and specializes in sexuality. She has made a career out of coaching couples on how to have a healthy relationship and work through any issues they may have. 

“The biggest breakdown they have in relationships are that they don’t know how to have … healthy effective communication. And people don’t take personal accountability and they have a lot of subconscious programming that sabotages them in relationships,” Ebert said. This programming materializes from our upbringing and the events that have occurred that have shaped who we are today and tend to be repeated in our youth.

Long distance is unfortunate no matter the range, and it is up to both parties to establish guidelines to have a positive outcome by the end of the break. 

In order to do this, the first step is seeking out how to communicate. Many couples have problems telling each other what they really want and this can lead to misinterpretation. Learning how to communicate by taking classes or reading books can go a long way in helping any future or current relationships. 

Although it may seem like an extra task for a college student who is already balancing school and a relationship, it doesn't hurt to get some help with communication skills.

“I think for college students that are going away for a break or for the summer … when it comes to the physical distance, it’s a matter of really being able to determine what’s going to make you feel happy and safe and secure," Ebert said. "And then it’s a matter of being able to articulate that to the other person … and that each partner has that conversation with each other and then they make agreements." 

Talking to your partner allows you both to deal with what you’re feeling before anything becomes a serious issue.

As important as it is to develop one's relationship, many people don’t realize that they have to work on themselves as well. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness, not their partner. If you expected otherwise, it can put a lot of pressure on the relationship itself. 

“When you own your sexuality in a healthy way, and you honor your body and your energy and your heart, you will make good choices around that and feel confident about that,” Ebert says. 

Taking care of your heart and health should be first priority and will eventually lead to having a healthier relationship, as well as more self-knowledge and better self-worth.

“College is a time where it’s really easy to just let loose … but it’s also the best time to build heathy habits and practices for a lifetime," Ebert said. 

She said that taking care of personal wellness will have a lasting effect that will not only help oneself, but also one's relationship in the long run. She also wants everyone to know “that whatever is ailing them or whatever experiences they might have had growing up that weren’t healthy, you can get freedom from it, and there’s no need to live with it, suffer or abuse yourself trying to not feel it.”

Don’t let the summer get the better of your relationship. As much as it sucks to not be able to be with the person you’re dating, having the summer to work on yourself is just as important as maintaining your relationship. Spend time with friends, take up a new hobby and focus on staying true to yourself, and your relationship will follow when fall rolls around. It's sooner than you think.

Reach the columnist at or follow @thedominiquez on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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