In It For The Long Haul
Students Navigate Long-Distance Relationships
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 10:09
Countless texts, phone calls and Skype sessions. A four-hour ride on Megabus — longer when there’s traffic. For many couples in long-distance relationships, these are trademarks for staying connected during college, trying to bridge the hours and miles apart.
While some decry the prevalence of the “hook-up culture” on college campuses, surveys indicate there to be around 4 million college students in committed long-distance relationships. These students may face pressure from family or friends to begin their college careers unattached — to grow and explore without their high school significant other. Problems can arise: trouble communicating, jealousy and lack of physical connection, to name a few.
But, despite all these challenges, the bonds that sustain long-distance relationships can prove remarkably resilient — for some, at least.
There’s the stereotypical collegiate long-distance relationship: You start with your significant other from high school and by Thanksgiving it’s over (the so-called “turkey drop”). In essence, that’s the story of Andrew DeBraggio (COL ’16). The summer before freshman year, DeBraggio thought about breaking up with his girlfriend, who he’d been dating for over two-and-a-half years, but elected not to. But after three weeks at Georgetown — with his girlfriend back home in upstate New York — he realized that their arrangement was untenable.
“[It’s] not your easy relationship where you get in a fight, you hug, you make up and you’re fine. You can’t do that,” DeBraggio said. “Not having the physical presence, not being able to talk to them, it’s a very difficult thing.”
DeBraggio broke up with his girlfriend at that three-week mark, but a week later, they got back together, despite his continued doubts. She even came and visited in October, but just before Thanksgiving, he decided to end it again. DeBraggio, who’s from the small town of Clinton, N.Y., had realized upon moving that he didn’t necessarily want to return to small-town life with his girlfriend after graduation. Rather than break it off quickly like he had attempted in September, DeBraggio tried to slowly cut their communication until she got the hint. Eventually she changed her Facebook status to “single,” though residual feelings lingered for a few months.