It’s 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day when Abby Zimmerman ’13 and her boyfriend Kayne sit down to watch a movie and eat dinner together. Zimmerman and Kayne are similar to thousands of other young couples except for the fact that they are separated by a three-hour time difference and must communicate through video chat.
Zimmerman thought that she was pulling out all the stops by lighting candles on her end of the chat but was surprised to see that Kayne had outdone her. “When he put his video feed up he had lit candles and was wearing a suit,” she said. “It was really cute.”
Zimmerman has been dating Kayne since November of 2009. The two met at camp and have always stayed in touch with each other.
With a significant time difference between Connecticut and Washington State—Kayne’s hometown—Abby says that distance is one of the most difficult aspects of a long-distance relationship.
“It’s hard not having him around. I only see him about once every six months because it’s a pain for him to travel to Connecticut and the plane tickets can be really expensive,” she said. “The worst part about long distance relationships is that I can’t just call him and say, ‘What are you doing this weekend?’”
Juan Castro ’12 also knows that finances can play a large role in long-distance relationships. His girlfriend Nina Meltzer, a former Staples student, now lives in Chicago.
“Before you go into a long-distance relationship, think about whether it’s worth it. You need time, dedication, and in some cases, money,” Castro said. “Each time I fly to Chicago it’s a little over $200 in transportation costs.”
Molly Collins ’12 can relate to Castro and Zimmerman’s situation. She has been in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Robert, since he started college in September.
“We met in April of 2010 through some mutual friends, and we officially started dating that July,” Collins said.
Robert, who attended Fairfield Prep, was a senior while Collins was a junior at Staples.
“He is an avid rower and now goes to the University of Pennsylvania,” she said.
Collins claims that sometimes finding quality time with Robert can be a challenge.
“We both have busy schedules, so visiting each other can be hard. Even when we were both here, we were busy, but we always found time to see each other,” she said.
Despite time constraints, Collins and Robert are usually able to see each other every five weeks and continue to be supportive of one another.
“He was home this weekend because I had a dance show that he came to see, and I might go see one of his sailing races next weekend,” said Collins.
Castro and Meltzer try to split up their time evenly between Westport and Chicago. “We try to visit each other every vacation, and we split the time up between us. One vacation there, one here,” he said.
Zimmerman and Kayne also find their ways around not being able to see each other every day.
“I Skype and call him every day,” she said.
Castro, who says he spends about two hours a day on Skype with Meltzer, suggests that people in long-distance relationships invest in a good Internet provider. “The last thing you want is to watch the other person lag around and be barely audible,” he said. “It just gets frustrating.”
Collins also calls Robert daily, but the two have found a way to keep in contact throughout the school day.
“We both have an iPhone, so during the day we’ll send each other selfies like, ‘Oh I’m walking to class’ or, ‘I’m home doing homework.’ We send each other a smile when we can’t video chat or call each other,” she said.
Zimmerman and Collins both agree that people must be dedicated to each other if they are going to be in a long-distance relationship.
“Only do it if you completely trust the other person. Otherwise you’ll always be paranoid about them cheating or doing stuff behind your back,” said Zimmerman.
In addition to trusting the other person, Collins believes people should just take the relationship one day at a time.
“If you know you care about the relationship and are willing to stick through it, do not worry about the next three months or the future. Think about how it is today,” she said.
Collins and Zimmerman both agree that long-distance relationships can be manageable.
“Distance isn’t an issue if you care enough about the person,” said Zimmerman.