The ups and downs of long distance relationships

Illustration by Sarah Bradbury

By Kendall Arlasky

A popular saying among the heartbroken is “if you love something let it go, if it doesn’t come back it was never yours in the first place.” It’s a justification for sure, a commentary on the idea that fate will reunite lovers if it was meant to be. Some people use this to leave their partner before making a big transition like college. However there are others who rebel against this philosophy and decide to go the distance-quite literally.

Jessie Ho ’21 is a perfect example of this. Ho and her partner have been dating for almost a year now after being friends for most of high school. This strong relationship kept her from being apprehensive about starting a long distance relationship.

“I wasn’t scared because of who he is as a person and how much we care for each other. But, Portland is a really big city compared to Honolulu so it was a big change” She said.

Ho and her partner stay in touch by texting everyday and FaceTiming a couple times per week. This couple may not be a traditional long distance as they are only 12 miles apart with her partner residing at Portland State University. However, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been hard for them.

There are some unexpected benefits to Ho’s situation. For one, she thinks it’s teaching her some important life lessons.

“For now, we’re growing apart but we’re also growing together,” Ho said. “I like that we’re growing up. He’s like a little piece of home.”

When asked if she thought that she made the right decision Ho replied affirmatively without any hesitation.While Ho and her partner may be exploring a traditional approach to long distance relationships there are others who take a more distinct path. Dorrell Thompson ’21 is taking a different approach to this dilemma within open relationship.

“We can see other people but we’re still together as a couple,” Thompson said. “It’s a very relaxed relationship.”

Thompson and her partner also met in high school and have been dating for 10 months. They live about 500 miles apart.

“I don’t think it’s fair to lock someone down who’s so far away, especially when we both need to live our lives,” she said. “But I also wanted to be able to tell him how I felt.”

All in all Thompson said that the level of comfort is one of the best and worst parts about being in an open relationship. Thompson often mentions that while it’s nice to have someone to talk to, it can keep her from making connections here. This type of relationship can block her from exiting her comfort zone.

“It’s a nice relief,” Thompson said. “It brings me back home to something I’m comfortable with. He’s my safety net, so I need to remember to be social. There’s also the chance of meeting someone else and that’s very scary.”

While both open relationships and long distance relationships are valid for some, they aren’t always realistic for others who are leaving everything behind. Things like their family, friends, their homes and for some their partners. For Skylar Golleher ’21, this was the case.

“Even if we had stayed together it would have been crazy and a lot more stressful on the both of us,” Golleher said.

Golleher and her partner were together for about four months before they decided to break up, now they are over 1,500 miles away and still talk once or twice a week.

“We avoid the break up and that it’s a little weird now,” She said. “When we do talk it’s like we’re playing catch up.”

The breakup unfortunately affected Golleher for the first couple of weeks on campus.

“I don’t think I’m going to have a freshman romance anytime soon,” Golleher said. “It’s changed the way I’ve adjusted. I spent the first few weeks grieving this relationship.”

All things considered, long distance relationships seem to be a lot of trouble. Sure, there’s the joy and wonder of seeing someone you love in person for the first time in months. But there’s also the late nights, long phone calls, and not to mention the bad Wifi on campus that must make the situation even more frustrating. However if someone is willing to endure all that heartache and pain for you, well then they might just be worth keeping. Just make sure the person you fall in love with is ready to catch you.

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