Will Long-Distance Relationships Work In College? (Solved)

College is an exciting time, filled with new experiences, personal growth, and a vibrant social scene.

In the midst of all this, maintaining a long-distance relationship can seem impossible.

Many people wonder, “Will long-distance relationships work in college?”

Long-distance relationships in college are difficult but not impossible. 60% of long-distance relationships are successful and 40% fail. Of those that do not make it, nearly 35% are in college. Most long-distance relationships in college fail. Staying connected, commited, and creative can help.

Let’s delve into the realities of long-distance relationships in college, and explore some ways to keep the flame burning even across miles.

10 Reasons It Won’t Work

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my disclosure)
Digital image of a couple outside - Will Long Distance Relationships Work in College
I made this image – Will Long-Distance Relationships Work in College?

First, let’s talk about 10 reasons long-distance relationships in college so rarely work out:

Lack of Physical Contact

A relationship is not just about the emotional connection, but also about physical intimacy.

Being able to hug, hold hands, share a meal, or simply enjoy each other’s presence can be critical aspects of a romantic relationship.

In a long-distance relationship, these physical aspects are naturally diminished, which can make the relationship feel less real or satisfying.

Furthermore, the absence of physical contact can often lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness.

When you’re unable to comfort each other during tough times, or celebrate together during moments of triumph, it can create a sense of isolation.

This lack of physical contact can gradually erode the connection between you and your partner, making the relationship more challenging.

Different Social Scenes

College is a time of intense socialization.

You meet new people, make new friends, and partake in social activities that help to enrich your college experience.

However, in a long-distance relationship, you and your partner will likely have different social circles.

The existence of separate social circles can give rise to feelings of jealousy or insecurity.

You might wonder who your partner is hanging out with, or feel left out when they share stories of their college experiences.

Moreover, there can be a fear of your partner forming close relationships with others, which can strain your own relationship.

Time Management Issues

College life comes with its own set of challenges and commitments.

Between going to classes, preparing for tests, joining in outside-of-class activities, and keeping up with friends, you might find that there’s not much time left over.

Adding a long-distance relationship to this mix can make time management even more difficult.

When you’re trying to balance so many aspects of your life, you may struggle to dedicate quality time to your relationship.

This can lead to misunderstandings, disagreements, and feelings of being neglected or under-prioritized.

Over time, these issues can contribute to a breakdown of the relationship.

Communication Barriers

Effective communication forms the backbone of any relationship.

In a long-distance relationship, it becomes even more important. However, communication can become a major challenge due to factors like different time zones, conflicting schedules, or lack of in-person interactions.

When you’re living in different time zones, finding a suitable time to talk can be a struggle.

On top of that, non-verbal cues, which make up a significant part of communication, are absent in text-based or even video conversations.

This lack of direct communication can lead to misunderstandings, feelings of distance, and frustration.

Trust and Jealousy Issues

Trust is essential in a long-distance relationship.

However, being miles apart, it can be easy to let your imagination run wild, questioning your partner’s actions and intentions.

This uncertainty can lead to trust issues and even breed unhealthy jealousy.

Such feelings can cause stress and tension in the relationship.

You might find yourself constantly seeking reassurance or doubting your partner’s commitment.

This emotional strain can eventually harm the relationship and make it difficult to sustain in the long run.

Financial Stress

Maintaining a long-distance relationship often comes with extra costs.

Whether it’s the cost of phone bills, sending gifts, or travelling to visit each other, these expenses can add up quickly.

For college students who might already be struggling with financial constraints, this additional burden can cause significant stress.

Financial issues can lead to arguments and create a rift between partners.

Moreover, the strain of managing finances can distract you from enjoying your relationship and create resentment or frustration.

Personal Growth

One of the main aspects of the college experience is personal growth.

During this phase, you learn new things, explore your interests, and evolve as an individual. However, this growth can sometimes lead partners in different directions.

As you grow and evolve, your perspectives, priorities, and ambitions might change.

These changes can create differences and misunderstandings between you and your partner.

Over time, if not addressed, these changes can create a divide that can be challenging to bridge.

Emotional Stress

Being in a long-distance relationship means you’ll likely miss your partner a lot.

This constant longing and missing can add an extra layer of emotional stress to the already challenging college life.

This emotional stress can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, sadness, or even depression.

It can affect your academic performance, social life, and overall mental health.

In the long run, the emotional toll of maintaining a long-distance relationship can make it difficult to sustain.


FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a common feeling in college.

You might fear missing out on college experiences and events because you’re trying to maintain a long-distance relationship.

The time and emotional energy required for a long-distance relationship might prevent you from fully engaging in your college experience.

This fear can lead to feelings of resentment over time.

You might regret missing out on experiences or opportunities for the sake of your relationship. This feeling can create a rift in your relationship and make it challenging to maintain.

Lack of Shared Experiences

Shared experiences help to strengthen bonds and create memories.

In a long-distance relationship, these shared experiences are limited. While technology has made it possible to share experiences virtually, it doesn’t replace the joy and connection of experiencing things together in person.

The lack of shared experiences can make it difficult to relate to each other and understand each other’s lives.

Over time, this lack of shared experiences can create a sense of distance and disconnect, making the relationship difficult to sustain.

3 Times It Might Work

But that doesn’t mean long-distance relationships in college never work.

Here are three times you might make it.

Mature and Committed Partners

Long-distance relationships require a higher level of commitment and maturity compared to relationships where partners are geographically close.

If both partners are mature enough to understand the challenges that come with distance and are committed to each other, the relationship can work.

Maturity in a relationship manifests through open communication, understanding, and compromise.

Both partners need to be emotionally mature to handle the pressures of a long-distance relationship, such as loneliness, misunderstandings, and the need for self-reliance.

On the other hand, commitment provides the necessary motivation to overcome these challenges.

A strong commitment to each other can help you stay positive and focused on the long-term success of the relationship.

Effective Communication

In the absence of physical presence, communication becomes the lifeline of a long-distance relationship.

Regular and honest communication about feelings, expectations, and any issues that arise can bridge the physical gap and make the relationship successful.

Effective communication involves not just talking, but also actively listening to your partner.

By conveying your thoughts and emotions openly, and by understanding and respecting your partner’s feelings, you can maintain a strong emotional connection.

Regular updates about your daily life can help your partner feel involved and included in your life, reducing feelings of isolation or disconnection.

Plans for the Future

A long-distance relationship can often feel like a continuous cycle of waiting.

Having a clear plan for the future, including an end to the distance, can give the relationship a sense of purpose and direction.

Future plans act as a shared goal, a light at the end of the tunnel that motivates you to endure the current challenges.

These plans might involve deciding to live in the same city after graduation, or setting a timeline for visits or vacations together.

Such planning not only brings certainty into the relationship but also gives you both something to look forward to, making the relationship more enjoyable and less stressful.

How to Make Long Distance Relationships Work In College

If you’re going to accept the challenge of a long-distance relationship during college, let’s talk about how to make it work.

Even despite the odds.

Set Clear Expectations

Having a good understanding of what each person wants and expects can really help when you’re dealing with a long-distance relationship during college.

Both partners should discuss and agree upon certain aspects of the relationship.

Such as how often they will communicate, what kind of social interactions are acceptable, and how often they will visit each other.

For example, if one partner is comfortable with daily video calls while the other prefers weekly long calls, it could create friction.

Setting clear expectations from the beginning helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures both partners are on the same page.

Regular Communication

Communication is the lifeline of a long-distance relationship.

It’s essential to regularly check in with your partner and share the details of your day-to-day life.

For instance, you could establish a routine of a morning text sharing something interesting you’ll be doing that day, or a night call recapping how your day went.

This not only keeps you connected but also gives you a sense of being a part of each other’s lives despite the distance.

Trust Each Other

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and it becomes even more crucial in a long-distance relationship.

Believing in your partner and having confidence in your relationship is crucial.

If there are any insecurities or issues, it’s essential to address them openly rather than letting them simmer.

For example, if you feel insecure about your partner’s new friend, it’s better to express your feelings rather than letting jealousy build up.

Plan Visits

Planning visits can inject excitement and anticipation into a long-distance relationship.

The chance to see each other, even if it’s only for a few days, can make the hardship of being apart more bearable.

It gives you something to look forward to and provides an opportunity to create shared memories.

For instance, you can plan a visit around a special event like a holiday, birthday, or college fest.

Share Experiences Virtually

In the digital age, there are many ways to share experiences even when you’re not physically together.

You can watch movies together online, play multiplayer online games, or even take a virtual tour of a museum.

For instance, you could use apps like Netflix Party to synchronize video playback and have a long-distance movie night.

Sharing experiences virtually can help you feel connected and enjoy shared activities, despite the distance.

Have An End Goal in Mind

It’s crucial for both partners to have a shared vision of the future.

This includes plans on when you’ll live in the same place and what the relationship will look like when that happens.

These plans help you navigate through the challenging times as you have an end goal in sight.

For example, the end goal could be moving in together after graduation or finding jobs in the same city.

Keep Each Other Updated

Staying involved in each other’s lives can make a long-distance relationship feel more real.

This means sharing small details about your day, talking about the people you interact with, or discussing the new things you’re learning.

By keeping each other updated, you ensure your worlds remain intertwined even when you’re not physically together.

Send Each Other Gifts

Exchanging small gifts can bring joy to a long-distance relationship.

These gifts need not be expensive, they could be handwritten letters, personalized items, or something that reminds you of a shared memory.

The physical act of receiving a gift from your partner can help bridge the physical distance and make your partner feel closer.

Make Use of Technology

Technology can be a boon for long-distance relationships.

Apart from regular texting and video calling, there are numerous apps designed to help couples feel closer.

For instance, “Couple” is an app that allows you to share a timeline with your partner where you can add photos, videos, and notes.

There’s also ‘Rabb.it’, which lets you watch shows or movies simultaneously, replicating a movie night experience.

Be Supportive

Being in college, there will be times when you or your partner are under stress due to exams or other responsibilities.

During such times, it’s important to be supportive and understanding.

Even if you can’t be there physically, a few comforting words can go a long way in making your partner feel better.

Lead Independent Lives

While maintaining a connection is essential, it’s equally important to have a life outside the relationship.

Engage in hobbies, make new friends, and have experiences that you can later share with your partner.

Leading independent lives reduces the pressure on the relationship and makes your interactions more interesting.

Stay Positive

Maintaining a positive outlook is crucial in a long-distance relationship.

It can be easy to focus on the negatives and overlook the positives. Remember, distance can also help you value your partner more, improve communication, and strengthen your bond.

Staying positive and focusing on the brighter side can make the journey a lot easier.

Here is a video about making long-distance relationships work:

YouTube video by Matthew Hussey – Will Long-Distance Relationships Work in College?

Tools to Help Make It Work

There are handy tools and tech you can use to make your college long-distance relationship easier:

  1. Long Distance Lamps – These Wi-Fi-connected lamps light up when the other person touches their lamp, letting you know they’re thinking of you.
  2. Long Distance Bracelets – These bracelets vibrate and light up when the other person touches their bracelet, a sweet way to stay connected.
  3. Apps for Long Distance Relationships – Apps like Couple, Between, and Avocado provide a private space for couples to chat, share photos, and even sync their calendars.
  4. Video Chat Platforms – Regular video calls on platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Duo can make communication more personal and intimate.

Keeping a long-distance relationship going while in college can be tough.

But with commitment, open communication, and the right tools, it is definitely possible.

Final Thoughts: Will Long-Distance Relationships Work in College?

If you want my advice, do your very best to avoid long-term long-distance relationships in college.

However, temporary distance (for travel, education, or work) doesn’t have to derail your connection. Follow the tips in this guide and you should get through with a deeper, more fulfilling future.

Related Posts:


Research on Long-Distance Relationships