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Features

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Long-distance relationships bring their challenges, but these couples take them one day at a time.

Rusty and Alyssa, 2 years  

For IU seniors Rusty Brost and Alyssa Randazzo, who live next door to each other, daily life has become a joint enterprise. With just a few steps between them, space in their relationship is nearly nonexistent, but they still carve out time alone.

They met in 2014, when Alyssa joined IU’s Singing Hoosiers in her sophomore year. Rusty, who had joined the year before, noticed her as soon as she walked in.

Alyssa tells Inside that she views Singing Hoosiers as where she met the love of her life.

After several months of being friends, they finally made the step to a first date in January of 2015 at Malibu Grill. Rusty was nervous.

Rusty says he had topics to talk about, just in case conversation didn’t go exactly as he planned.

“That’s fine, you were prepared,” Alyssa assures him.

Rusty studied abroad in Ireland two years ago, but since Alyssa and Rusty’s relationship was brand new, the space wasn’t too hard to deal with. Last summer, however, Rusty and Alyssa were five hours apart after Rusty landed an internship in Ohio. This put their relationship, now in full swing, to the test after spending so much time together nearly every day for a year.

“That really put it into perspective,” says Alyssa. “You miss each other more, and that’s important.”

Alyssa and Rusty are both looking for jobs in the Chicago and Indianapolis areas for next year, but they will continue to live separately before they make the jump to sharing the same space.

Jonny and Anni, 1 year   

When it comes to space, Jonny Gooder and Anni Kline have always had too much. Between her studying abroad in Italy, then him in China, and now her in Ireland, daily Skype calls are often their only option for closing the distance between them.

They met in early 2015 when Anni was visiting friends in Bloomington. It just so happens that she ended up at a house show that Jonny’s roommates, who were a band, were playing.

“I had been looking at her the whole night,” says Jonny.

While he was in China, which was a 12-hour time difference from Anni, he would wake up early in the morning to talk to her the night before, or late at night to talk to her the next day. This time traveling for love continued into this semester with Anni in Ireland, now with only a four-hour time difference.

Even when they are both in Indiana, Jonny, a junior here at IU, is still two hours away from Anni, a junior at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. They make trips to see each other on the weekends, but Jonny says it’s hard to just share the highs and lows of the week instead of consistently getting to have meals and do homework together like other couples.

Nonetheless, he and Anni both value communication, which helps to normalize their long-distance relationship. Anni even studies communication at Taylor so that definitely comes in handy!

“We’re always close, no matter the physical proximity,” Jonny says.

Even so, nothing can beat being in the same physical space. They breathe easier when they are together. Jonny and Anni have successfully navigated a long-term relationship, but the couple has had enough of it. They wait in expectation for the day when the word space only means departing for a days’ work.

“You just get to be and hug and sit with each other. You just know that the other one loves you because they’re just there with you.”

ADVICE FROM THE EDITOR: 

Let me start off by saying Long Distance Relationships are hard, yes, but they are very much manageable if you put the work in. Having been in an LDR the majority of my collegiate career, I can attest to having my fair share of struggles, sometimes solely because of the distance. Being a student doesn’t help either. Everywhere you turn, you’re reminded of the fact that your significant other is out there somewhere and not close to you (as they should be at all times!). But it’s okay, you’ll be united soon enough and this will all be over! Until then, remember these short tips. YOU GOT THIS!

You have to be willing to be a little extra. What I mean by this is that no conversation in physical proximity is going to be interpreted the same through a computer screen or phone. Humans were made for face to face interaction that allows you to intercept body language, depict tone and comprehend facial expression. When these are taken away, you lose that natural human communication. Things may come off a certain way that could possibly be received better in person than through wavelengths. For this reason, you have to go a little beyond the surface to make your significant other comfortable and understanding of whatever it is you are trying to relay to them.

DON’T LET THE DISTANCE STOP YOU FROM GETTING TO KNOW EACHOTHER. I can’t stress this enough. This is 2017 and there’s no excuse as to why you can’t get to know someone who isn’t your neighbor. Use the technology and resources you have to communicate and get a feel for one another as best as you can. This way, the distance doesn’t feel as big as it is and the times you do see each other aren’t spent going over the basics. Distance does not make them a stranger.

Quality Time is Still a Thing. When people think of quality of time, of course they think about dates, movie nights and cuddle sessions. But it’s important not to neglect quality time that could be had in a long distance relationship. Skype, Facetime, or day-to-day phone conversations are even more important in these situations and mean the world to your partner. Think outside the box, send voice messages (apparently that’s a thing now), video messages, write letters; anything that will keep the relationship going strong will be received and appreciated.

Have patience. Without this you can pretty much just call it quits.

Find ways to cope with the distance. Find something to remind you of them so you don’t feel lonely throughout the day. For example, I have a bottle of my boyfriend’s cologne that I put on each day (okay, some days I skip it if I’m rushing) to just carry a little piece of him throughout the day. This may be extreme for some people but my sense of smell is my strongest sense so it resonates with me. Do something that makes you feel better about the distance!