Will He Still Love Me When I’m Gone?

Dear Rob,
I am leaving for university in the fall. My boyfriend and I have been dating since sophomore year and we’ve only been with each other, if you know what I mean. He will be staying at his parent’s home for a year working and starting at my university next year. We plan on visiting each other as much as possible but since I’ll be out of state and he’ll be working we’re not sure how that will all work out. Mainly, I guess, I am insecure about him still wanting to be my boyfriend after I’ve started university. He’ll be with all of our friends, and I’ll be alone, away, in at school.

What can I do to make sure our relationship lasts until he comes to school next year?
Dating and Doubtful

Hi D and D,
I can really see your discomfort in being away from your boyfriend when you start your new life at school and as he starts his new life as a full-time worker.
Life begins when high school ends for many people. Different places, different people, different responsibilities.
You can plan to travel to be together as much as possible, and with Internet access everywhere, you’ll want to invest in a good laptop and a webcam so you can spend some quality chat time together too.
But you’ve asked “How can I be sure we’ll still be together while we’re apart?” and that is a tough question to answer.
But answer these questions to discover a little about your current relationship.
Do you:
– Have a regular date plan now? Do you see each other every Saturday night for a date? Hang around together all the time, as much as you can?
– Have regular phone calls?
– Exchange regular emails?
– Have both friends that are supportive of your relationship?
– Your family (both families) supports your relationship?
– Have no cheated on each other?
– Made “future plans together” that includes possible engagement and marriage?
Positive answers to the above questions would lead me to believe you will have a positive experience in your future.

Many couples that are separating for reasons outside of their control exchange promise rings that identify a future together. This exchange is a solidification of your future. It’s a sort of “engagement to be engaged”. I suggest that this step be discussed by you to your boyfriend and see how he reacts.
If I read your letter correctly, he should be very willing to take this step.

You date regularly now and spend a lot of time together, plan your separation with scheduled dates set up. Whether phone calls, webcam chats or emails, decide on a day and time that is just “your time”, just as you would having dates if you were together.

And no matter the temptation, do not use family or friends as “spies” on him. Trust is the biggest issue couples apart have. If you feel you can’t trust him now, you won’t be able to trust him when you are at school. And a breakup is a good idea before something worse happens.

Both of you will be going through some pretty serious changes in the coming months. You’ve got to be “adult” about things and have a common ground of understanding to get you through this year of separation and back together as a couple again.

There will be your school stress, his work problems, both of which will work to divide you in a sea of “not understanding me” arguments. But if you prepare against this going in then you will be prepared as these issues arise.

A good thing here is to have a code word that explains that you are going through a difficult time that is not due to anything your boyfriend, or yourself for him, can fix. You can use the code word in a phone call, email or chat session. This keeps things to a common place where you agreed to be when you were together. And helps to keep you both united in your coming long distance relationship.
I wish you well in your future,

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