Stoking the fire during the summer

How to maintain a long distance relationship over the summer

Katie Morrison

The school year is finally coming to an end and we couldn’t be happier. Shorts, swimming and long days without classes are our future and it’s wonderful. Unfortunately if you are in a relationship or just met that special someone, the summer might look a little bleak. No cuddle time until August? No late night Taco Bell runs with your boo? How will you survive?

I talked to a few fellow Unionites and they gave some tips on how to make it through the long separation of the summer months!

Dan Carlson and Kristina Hammer have been dating for four years and four months. During that time, they spent an entire year apart while she was away at college in Michigan and he finished high school in Minnesota. I asked them how they managed to tough it out. “It was crazy hard,” said Kristina, a senior biomedical science major. “Definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through as a couple.”

Although he wasn’t able to go visit her during that year, Dan made the trip multiple times to visit Kristina last summer when she stayed in Lincoln to work for Enrollment Services. “I was basically driving down like every weekend,” said Dan, a junior communications major. “I think she made the drive maybe one time.”

Putting in the little time to shoot over a text or planning a little weekend trip can make all the difference in a long distance relationship.

Another couple who have experienced a bit of separation during their relationship is Sean Lawson, a senior business administration student, and Yesi Andrade, a senior psychology major. They started dating in the fall of 2012, and Sean actually just popped the question over Christmas break. From the day Yesi received the first text from Sean (“How did you like that Avengers movie? Awesome right?!”), they have been texting every day since. During the summer, Yesi works as a CNA in Wichita, Kansas, while Sean spends his months in Minnesota. How do they deal?

“We usually just break up over the summer and get back together when school starts,” Yesi joked. “No, actually we text all the time. You really need to communicate and be on the same page.”

“If I know what she’s doing all day long, I feel a lot better,” Sean admitted. “We don’t seem so far apart.” The couple also named work as a great distraction. Sean worked at a few internships, and Yesi put in long hours in the nursing home, which helped the time go faster. It makes it harder if you’re being a lazy bum, doing nothing, just sitting around and missing your significant other. Get out and make some money, so your babe doesn’t leave you for someone with “ambition.”

The final couple that knows the difficulty of long distance is Tyler Morrison and Morgan Huffman. Morgan has been in Zimbabwe working at an orphanage for the last eight months while Tyler worked at Sunnydale Academy last semester completing his student teaching. They started dating a year and a half ago and it’s put some pressure on the relationship being apart for so long. They really love each other!

The majority of their problems have been related to miscommunication. “Texting can get confusing when that’s your only source of communication,” Tyler said. “You also have to make sure the other person is a priority. We’ve made it a point to be intentional so neither of us feel neglected.”

A strong foundation is key. Tyler mentioned that if they didn’t have that strong foundation and weren’t confident in what they have, all the miscommunications that can shake a long distance relationship could ruin them.

“Before Morgan left, I got some advice from a friend of mine,” he said. “He told me, ‘Make sure you both know that what you have is awesome. Know that you aren’t looking for anything else. That way, if things get hard, you can fall back on that knowledge even when you don’t feel it.’ We had that conversation before she left and having that confidence can give your relationship some extra strength.”

Katie is a junior studying business administration.