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My partner and I have been dating for a year and a half. We met freshman year of college and started dating six months later. Our relationship is great; we're best friends and have overcome a lot of really hard stuff with support from each other. I’ve had some pretty severe mental health struggles in college, and my partner has had some big issues in school. They've been a consistent source of support, love, and friendship, and I can definitely say that I wouldn't be where I am without them. I know they would say the same of me.
Our problem lies mostly in timing. I am graduating a year early, and they are graduating a year or two late. I recently realized that I want to move back home to be closer to my family with the knowledge that it would mean either ending the relationship or trying long-distance. When we first started dating, we definitely didn't think about the future at all. But despite my graduation and departure being almost eight months away, both my partner and I have felt a growing sense of impending doom when it comes to my leaving. I don't want to miss out on something that I think might be a really good long-term relationship because I leave town. If I really tried, I could see them every two weeks, but that would be a big change from seeing them almost every day for two years. But I also can't stand staying in the small town my school is located in, three hours away from my family and my home city.
I know the move is worth it, but I've never done long-distance, as this is my first relationship that lasted for more than a few dates. Is it even doable to maintain a long-distance relationship with my partner for at least two to three years while they finish school, or should I cut it off when I move so that I avoid future heartbreak caused by distance and change?
- mopey college student
"Is it even doable to maintain a long-distance relationship with my partner for at least two to three years while they finish school?"
Sure. People do it all the time. It's annoying, but long-distance can work, especially when there's an end date in sight.
But you know what else you can do? You can choose to focus on tomorrow, and then the day after that. You have eight months before this becomes your reality. Instead of letting any of this stress ruin a good thing, enjoy the time you have now. Mark a date on the calendar (maybe five months from now) and decide not to go into full-time planning mode until you hit that deadline. By then, you'll have even more experience as a couple, and a better understanding of what you'd be working for – or leaving behind. It’s too early to know what you’ll want to do when the time comes to leave.
It seems like you're someone who likes a plan. I get that. But the plan can be to wait. It can be to make memories and support each other through this school year, because there's a lot of it coming. Please don’t miss out on the good stuff because you're too busy trying to find answers for the future.
Readers? Is it possible to table some of these questions?