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Long distance relationship


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Hi everyone, new to the chat here. I work in  Washington DC at a trade association (lobbying). I am considering applying to part time masters programs because I may want to get a PhD in poli sci or Econ down the road. My girlfriend is in the humanities and was accepting to Yale, Princeton, and Berkeley PhD programs. Although it was a hard decision for both of us, she ultimately chose Berkeley because it was the right fit for her interests. 

I’m just getting worried about the distance. Berkeley is so far from DC We would only see each other a few times a year. Should she have chosen Yale or Princeton because it’s closer to DC?! I don’t really have an option since policy and lobbying is incredibly geographically limited. Does anyone have experience in long distance relationships while in grad school? How did it work out for you?

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15 hours ago, dc_bro said:

We would only see each other a few times a year.

Really? I've met people who travel back and forth between San Francisco and New York every week. Now, I realize that's only possible for the economically privileged, but if you're a lobbyist, I would have thought you'd be in the class of folks to whom travel is available. Plus, academia has long breaks. Even if you only see each other three times a year, at Christmas, and before and after she does her summer research, those visits could easily last four weeks each.

I'm also not quite sure what to do with this framing, "Should she have chosen Yale or Princeton because it’s closer to DC?!" If I said "yes," what would you do then?

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16 hours ago, dc_bro said:

Should she have chosen Yale or Princeton because it’s closer to DC?!

I'm not totally sure what to do with this sentence. This phrasing makes it sound like the burden of maintaining the relationship falls entirely on your girlfriend's shoulders, and that by choosing a more distant school she's the one who has potentially jeopardized things. If her choice was something the two of you agreed on, as you said initially, then this kind of second-guessing doesn't seem very fair to her. Frankly, it hints that you're already starting to develop some bitterness about the choice, and that suggests a lot about the relationship already.

I admit, I'm not of any use to answering your concern -- my partner and I have been able to make all our big school-related moves together, and long distance is something we've been able to avoid. I just wanted to point out that the way you've phrased your worries indicates something that, if you are truly committed to this relationship, you may not have meant to imply.

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Bluntly, long distance relationships suck! However, that does not mean they are impossible. My fiancee is currently working in the Arctic Circle in Alaska while I am finishing my MA in Berlin. The last two years have been extremely difficult and stressful for the relationship, but we worked at it. We both were dedicated and determined to make the relationship work, which helped ease the pain/discomfort a bit.

From my experience, the first couple months are not the most difficult. They will be stressful because the both of you will have to (re)learn how to communicate and support one another. The most stressful period, in my opinion, comes around the six-month mark. At this point, you will settle into a routine with calling, skyping, texting, etc. one another. It is at this point where you start to question yourself. "Can I do this? Do I want to do this?" I believe the surest way to jump this hurdle is by being open with your partner. Express your feelings and emotions when these questions arise. Hiding behind the distance will only force you both apart. Openness, honesty, and maturity are key to a long distance relationship succeeding and growing.

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I'm currently in a long distance relationship (but will be closing the gap in the summer), and while it's been hard, we've made do. The distance isn't quite as far yours though (we're only a 2 hour plane trip apart, so we see each other at least once a month). We were long distance before grad school as well (4 hours drive apart). It's made our communication skills really strong, and while it's sucked that we haven't been constantly together for the past little while, I think it's made our relationship stronger, 

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Really depends on who you are, who your girlfriend is, and how committed you are to this relationship. I will speak frankly for myself. I am currently in a relationship for over a year, although I've known this girl for over 7. I have chosen a school that is on the East Coast, whereas she will be residing on the west coast, and due to the low stipend, I might be able to visit once a year. 

I am severely conflicted. On one hand, I do love her and would love to stay with her, and even sorta see a future for us. I still find myself too young, and mentally not stable (maybe mature might be a better word) enough for a serious committed relationship like that. I don't question whether or not it is something I can do, I question whether it is something I will want to do. The idea of me being with her is extremely appealing, but the idea of me being with other women is also appealing. At the moment, since I am physically with her, the former is so strong that the latter isn't even really a thought. But given time and distance, I cannot honestly say the idea of being with another women, one that I can physically be with, will not become the stronger feeling.

While I am not going to break up with her because I love her, I am also keeping an open mind on the future and taking things one at a time and seeing how things go as time progresses. I think the most important thing is, be honest with yourself. I think if you do that, then when the time comes, you will know what the right answer is. 

In regards to other peoples experiences, there are a lot of threads on here about this topic (like a lot). Since this was a concern of mine, I have gone through them, and the general consensus is, it's hard but doable if you both really want your relationship to be successful. 

Edited by samman1994
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