Out of sight, out of mind no longer an excuse

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Out of sight, out of mind no longer an excuse

SARAH HARTMAN | Evergreen columnist

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Long-distance relationships can be daunting. As the school year draws to a close, couples might become anxious about making their relationships work through the summer. I call this summertime sadness.

Forty percent of all long-distance relationships fail, according to the Statistics Brain Research Institute. Intimidating, I know.

Despite all, I have successfully completed my freshman year of college with a long-distance boyfriend. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first.

What many don’t realize is that the old adage “distance makes the heart grow fonder” might actually hold some merit. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships indicates time apart makes partners more appreciative of their time together and enables them to grow both as individuals and as a couple.

Sometimes space is a good thing; we all need it at one time or another.

That being said, the first problem many long-distance couples run into is communication or a lack thereof. Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship and requires special attention when it comes to closing distance. Through phone calls, texts and Snapchat, a little can go a long way.

Avoid at all costs reverting to the junior high version of yourself – the one who texted at every second of every day. Even if you really ‘like-like’ the person, a phone call per night will suffice. This will give you the opportunity to hear about their day without constantly asking, ‘What are you up to? Where are you? Who are you with?’

Occasional snaps, as opposed to constant texts, inform your partner about your day in a more personal and less annoying format. But cool it on the selfies. Your partner knows what you look like, and your duck face probably is not as cute as you think it is. Trust me.

The second symptom of summertime sadness is scheduling conflicts. Given work, school and other obstacles, it can be difficult to plan when you will spend time together – if you can afford that luxury. You’ll probably find that compromise is the best medicine.

Meet in the middle. Find a meeting spot halfway between the two of you, maybe a favorite restaurant or a park. Planning ahead will keep you both looking forward to your next encounter. This kind of excitement generates a lot of positivity that helps balance out missing each other.

Sexual frustration is the most aggravating symptom of summertime sadness and it can be tricky to work around long distance. So when you have an itch to scratch and no one to help you out, verbal and visual communication has to make up for the loss of intimacy through physical connection.

Sexual satisfaction influences relationship satisfaction, according to a study in the Journal of Sex Research. Most of our feelings of intimacy derive from physical interaction, so you have a few options.

For beginners, sexting is the least awkward form of sexual communication, but keep in mind that it is also the least intimate.

A quick nude or a couple, “I’ve been thinking about you all day,” texts are flirty and reassuring. If you are worried about sending a nude don’t show your face. It is really awkward trying to choose between a sexy facial expression and a smile anyway. Again, refrain from duck faces.

Phone and Skype sex aren’t for everyone. Personally I have never been good at dirty talk and really struggle with both of these. Instead, think about a great night you have had together. Use that for inspiration and articulate those fantasies that you’ve been dying to act upon.

It’s all about what you are most comfortable with. Just remember to be open to trying new things and listening to what your partner wants.

I am not promising “Dear John”-like results in your relationship. We all at one point have wished we could be Channing Tatum or Amanda Seyfried. I wish my advice could give men perfect abs and make women blonde and beautiful.

However, I can promise that if you put an emphasis on these three parts of your relationship, you will have the remedy for summertime sadness, and the distance will feel a little closer this summer.