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Long Distance Relationships


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I've been accepted to my top choice school with funding. This program is on the opposite side of the country from where I currently live and is fairly rural. My SO and I have been together for few years (and been friends for much longer) but have never been long distance in our relationship.

The location of the program, being rural does not have many job opportunities. My SO just completed their grad program and is looking for new jobs and opportunities. They will move as close as possible but it will likely they will still be that they will live numerous hours away.

I'm apprehensive about maintaining our relationship with some significant distance while also beginning a PhD and dealing with the distance (?) it can create in a relationship. My SO is very supportive of my decision and we'd like to make things work.

Does anyone with some similar experience have any advice for maintaining a long-distance relationship through grad school?

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I have several responses. First, I have a question (you do not need to answer it, it is just a question to help you think what's best for you): When you decided to apply for grad school and you decided that this Far Away School is the perfect fit for your professional goals, how did you inform your SO? What initial conversation did you have then? Did you play with the possibility of them moving across the country? 

I met my SO in my first year when they were a postdoc in my school. After that, it followed four years of long-distance relationship until he landed a TT job las fall and I moved in to write my dissertation. A couple of things:

  • We talk (like, on Skype/Facetime) everyday. Even to say hi, it is a promise that we have kept. It was very hard when I was in the field, but we managed.
  • We tried to see each other once a month. During my second year I was more constrained by course work but when I was doing exams it was worse because they wanted to see me and I didn't. I wanted to study. So, bear in mind that different stages in your graduate career carry different challenges and liberties. for example, when I was in South America doing field work, seeing each other was much difficult. But I took a one-month vacation in the middle to come and visit. 
  • Only for a year I was in California and he was in Georgia, so we made it work by trying to coincide in the same city for conferences and workshops. 
  • We have an airline credit card to save as many miles we get and travel together. 

hope it helps!

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