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Advice column: Are long-distance relationships worth the time and energy?

Dear Katherine,

My boyfriend is going to Spain for winter term. We have been together for four months, and we are crazy about each other. Should we stay together for the four months he’ll be away? I don’t want to hold him back in any way, but I also don’t want to lose him.



Dear Confused,

During my junior year of high school, I went to a semester of school in Italy, while my boyfriend at the time moved to Hawaii for his first year of college. We had been dating for several months before that and decided we wanted to stay together despite the thousands of miles between us. First, we thought we were going to be away from each other for only six months, but it turned out to be 11 months.

What I’m trying to say is that a long-distance relationship is not impossible.  However, the real question is this: is it necessary? Is it necessary for you, at this stage in your life? For your relationship? Though I don’t specifically regret staying with my boyfriend for all those months, I can’t really say I feel like it was something we had to do, either. Although we were so in love, we were also young. When we’re going through so many changes in our lives, it’s okay to experience those changes alone.

I think an important question to ask yourself is this: if the roles were reversed and you were going out of the country for a study abroad experience, would you want to break up? If a part of you says yes, then perhaps you should give him his space and allow him to experience the wonders of Spain without you being a part of it. If you were to really put yourself in his shoes, and you know that no part of you would want to break up, then maybe consider staying together. However, keep this in mind: breaking up because he is moving to Spain doesn’t have to mean the end. He will return and it’s possible you two could get back together.

Long-distance relationships can be stressful, and let’s admit, distracting. Long talks on the telephone and late-night Skype sessions can be time and energy consuming.  Keep this in mind when you two make your decision, and whatever decision you decide to go with in the end, make sure it wasn’t chosen just because it was the easiest one to make. Sometimes the harder decision is the right decision.



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Katherine Marrone

Katherine Marrone

Katherine Marrone is the sex and relationships writer for the Emerald. A feminist and activist, she likes writing about gender issues and social justice.