Trojans breathed a sigh of relief as October came to a close. By Sunday, we had scrambled to put together and successfully rock our Halloweekend outfits and picked out our classes for next semester. Some of us received our LSAT scores and study abroad acceptance emails.
To top it all off, daylight saving time gave us another hour of sleep before we had to get up and continue to contemplate our futures.
For many, the future holds the decision of whether or not to turn their current relationships into long-distance ones. Yes, I am talking about the dreaded LDR. For those studying abroad, it may seem daunting to have a transatlantic relationship. The same goes for seniors — it’s hard to think about possibly working on a different coast as your significant other come graduation.
As a card-carrying LDR member, I can say that this is a discussion that no one really wants to have. It can end in one or two ways: yes or no. We will make adjustments or we will end things right now.
But luckily, long-distance relationships and millennials were seemingly made for each other.
It takes certain qualities to maintain a relationship from afar. You have to be selfless, giving and willing to put someone else before yourself sometimes. Basically, becoming everything that people say our generation is not, according to a Pew Research Center study. However, emerging technology, which was not afforded to previous generations, does make LDRs very possible. We just have to hone it properly to make it work in our favor.
Our generation isn’t the first group of young adults to grapple with the question of staying together or not. England’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wrote letters back and forth for years as they courted. When my parents were in college, they crossed the Illinois-Indiana border every month or so to visit each other. And Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan communicated with each other over email in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail.
Granted, those were under different circumstances and the Hanks-Ryan pairing was constructed by Hollywood, but my point is that long-distance relationships can work. If people could manage their love sending emails back and forth, then we millennials, who have so much more at our fingertips, can tough it out.
Our reliance on and readiness to use technology in all aspects of our life makes us more able to take on LDRs. We have FaceTime and Snapchat, which give us insight into our boyfriend or girlfriend’s day-to-day lives. Instagram and Facebook give us the highlights of their weeks. But there’s nothing like the freeflow of text messages that is built into any college student’s day. Gone are the days when we had to calculate how many incoming and outgoing texts we were sending a month — my limit in middle school was 400. Now, we can always connect with people no matter how far away.
This is even applicable while abroad. Many cell carriers have now gotten on board and offer affordable text messaging with their international plans.
A long-distance relationship for a millennial is possible.
So with this technology, it’s hard to pinpoint what is really keeping us from saying “yes.” One reason may be that a long-term relationship early on in our twenties is not a top priority for a lot of us today. We’ve seen the changing demographics that show that our generation is slated to receive higher level degrees, travel more and put off relationships and marriages until later in life. I think it’s more surprising for me to hear that one of my peers is getting married at 21 compared to a handful of my peers spending a year living in India — both have happened in the past few months.
Nothing is wrong with either decision; it’s just a sign of the times that priorities for us are changing. Millennials value freedom, and many times long-distance relationships don’t feel that way.
There’s nothing wrong with taking our twenties to “find ourselves.”
The continual messages we receive about using this time to “see the world” help us delay the age-old structure of developing healthy and meaningful relationships while we are young.
We shouldn’t let it.
So as you enter into your next phase of the school year, whether that is studying abroad or taking a job on a coast away from your boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure to weigh the options. Breaking up is hard to do, but missing an opportunity to learn how to love someone from a distance might prove even more difficult.
Millennials, as selfish as we can be, can find a space to add one more thing to our list of aspirations. A successful long-distance relationship can be that attainable goal.
After reading “Wait An L.A. Minute” on Tuesdays, join Jordyn Holman in her millennial conversations on Twitter @JordynJournals. She’s a senior studying print and digital journalism.