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Long Distance or Breakup? What To Do If Your Girlfriend Is Leaving For College.

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Mar 16, 2022

Long Distance or Breakup? What To Do If Your Girlfriend Is Leaving For College.
  • It’s nearing the end of the school year, and soon you and your girlfriend will have to face the big question: Should you stay together or break up? 

    Whether one or both of you will be leaving to start school, it’s a difficult decision to choose between continuing your relationship or not. On one hand, you care for each other and would have no reason to break up if circumstances were different. But on the other hand, you may want to start your new lives fresh and fully enjoy your college experiences without the challenges of an LDR. 

    HER is here to give you expert queer advice to figuring out long-distance or knowing when it’s time for you and your girlfriend to go separate ways. Whatever you decide, we hope you ultimately do what’s best for both of you to be happy and grow during this important time of life!

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    How to Decide

    Deciding to continue your relationship when one or both of you are headed off to college is hard, and you may be surrounded by a sea of conflicting opinions from others. Know that you aren’t alone in this struggle– countless high school couples have had to go through this exact same scenario! Whatever decision they made was likely best for both parties, in the long run, so the same is sure to apply to you. 

    When trying to figure out whether you should start an LDR or break up, here are a few things you can do:

    • Make a pros and cons list. It may seem cheesy, but weighing the pros and cons of both choices can actually help you figure out what you really want. Ask yourself all the important questions– What are the benefits of staying in this relationship? How will this affect my college experience? Will an LDR hinder my/ their growth? Make sure to really be honest with yourself and write it all out.
    • Ask a friend. Although the decision shouldn’t be overly influenced by outside parties, sometimes your friends really do know you best. Asking a friend for advice can help you get a different perspective on the situation. However, don’t let others’ judgements get to you– do what’s best for your well-being!
    • Have an honest conversation. It’s important to have open communication and make sure you’re on the same page. Having an honest conversation can help you understand each other’s concerns and decide if an LDR is worth the struggle. You may find that it is worth the challenge, but it’s necessary to talk about your fears together.

    It’s a tough decision to make, but doing these things can help you get clear about what might be best for both of you! Some things we think you should not let influence your decision include:

    • Worrying that they are the only LGBTQ+ person you can find. If this is the main reason you are afraid to break up, then it might be time to move on. Although queer communities can be smaller in our home towns, you are likely to find a more diverse group of people at your chosen school. Plus, there are apps like HER that help you connect with other LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary folks in your area. Tons of queer people are still out there waiting to meet you!
    • Judgment from others. Some people have really strong opinions about this subject. They may even look down on others for wanting to stay in high school or long-distance relationships. Remember that you know your relationship best, and you deserve to feel supported in your decision.

    Still need help weighing your pros and cons? Keep reading for tips on long-distance and common struggles of college LDRs.

    Making Long Distance Work With Your Girlfriend

    If you and your girlfriend have decided you want to try long distance, there are some things to keep in mind for making it work. Regular relationships also require work, but long-distance ones need a little more nurturing to make sure you both feel happy and supported while apart. 

    Although it can be difficult to be apart, many LGBTQ+ couples have successfully navigated long-distance relationships. Some tips for a successful LDR include:

    • Having regular communication. Talking throughout the day, and especially in the morning and night, is important to stay feeling connected.
    • Scheduling virtual dates. Plan times to watch movies, eat takeout, and hang out over FaceTime.
    • Planning in-person visits. Having your next visit to look forward to can help your time apart feel easier.
    • Getting hot and heavy over FaceTime. Sexting is often an important part of LDRs that can help you feel closer!
    • Letting each other enjoy life. It’s important in an LDR to truly want your girlfriend to have fun and not feel held back.
    • Having clear communication. Check in with each other and make sure you are both still on the same page. Talk about what’s working and what you could use more of!
    • Checking in with yourself. It’s also important to make sure you’re checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling about your relationship. 

    It’s also common for couples to try open relationships when going off to college. Open relationships can give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to stay together while not holding you back! They are not for everyone, so be honest with yourself about whether that would work for you. However, if you and your girlfriend are interested in trying it out, the best thing you can do is have clear communication about boundaries and what you both want.

    College Experience in an LDR

    To help make this decision, it’s important to also understand the cons of being in an LDR in college. Going to college is an important period of growth for many adolescents. It’s a time when you’re constantly figuring out more about yourself as you come into adulthood. Some important parts of anyone’s college experience include:

    • Growth. Many college students agree that they’ve grown into a different person with each passing year of school. This is a time that’s jam-packed full of different experiences, so it’s also a time of rapid growth. For LGBTQ+ people in particular, this time allows you to embrace your queerness even more as you surround yourself with like-minded people.
    • Getting an education. Having the opportunity to go to college is a huge privilege, and making the most of getting an education is important!
    • Having fun. It’s no secret that a big part of college, after getting an education, is having fun! There are always social gatherings and events happening all around you. It’s important to put yourself out there and participate in what your school has to offer.
    • Meeting new people. Another valuable part of college is meeting new people. This is a rare time when you’re surrounded by people your age who also want to make friends. Putting yourself out there and connecting with new people is encouraged!

    While looking forward to these aspects of college, know that it can sometimes be harder to experience them fully if you’re in an LDR. Although everyone’s experience is different, some students have regretted focusing on their long-distance relationships instead of enjoying their college lives. For example, you may feel less need to put yourself out there if you already have someone you talk to 24/7. It can also be harder to enjoy social gatherings while worrying about your girlfriend in the back of your mind. Plus, if you’re the one staying back home while your girlfriend’s in college, it can be hard to feel like you’re holding them back. 

    Keep these struggles in mind when deciding whether to navigate an LDR. There’s also usually no harm in trying it out if you’re not ready to break up! Either way, your decision is valid and we hope you do what’s best for you.

    What if I Make the Wrong Decision?

    Whatever you decide, remember there is really no such thing as a wrong life decision. If you decide to break up, then there is likely a big part of you that desires to be bold and get the most out of your upcoming experience! If you decide to stay together, there’s likely a very strong connection there that you value, which is a beautiful thing. Remember that decisions can still be changed, and you never know what the future may hold. Know that your decision is the right one because it’s what a large part of you desires most.

    Finding Your Community

    As an LGBTQ+ individual in college, finding your accepting and loving community is vital. HER is the app for connecting with LGBTQ+ women and queer folks in your area. Download HER today to put yourself out there and make the most of your experience.

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    Katie is a writer and creative person based in Seattle who is passionate about the arts, environmental justice, and all things vintage fashion. She celebrates queerness as a natural yet radical state of being, and she strives to make the world a more inclusive place for all. You can find her taking meditative strolls in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest channeling her inner Bella Swan, or just on IG @ktmarieeee.

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