Kent students navigate long distance relationships

Jenna Bal, Reporter

Every day, sophomore fashion design major Adrienne Bundy eats a Hershey Kiss to count down the days until she sees her long-distance boyfriend, Hayden Pierce.

“I’ve never had anything like this in my life,” Bundy said.

The couple met over the summer and planned to have a simple summer romance. However,

three months into their relationship, Bundy and Pierce had to choose what to do when Pierce left for basic training. For them, the decision to enter a long-distance relationship was clear.

Adrienne Bundy and Hayden Pierce are reunited after Pierce spent several weeks in basic training (Courtesy of Adrienne Bundy)

“Both people have to be 100 percent in,” Bundy said. “It’s worth it if you’re all in.”

While only two-thirds of college students believe long-distance relationships work out, up to 75 percent of students will enter one while in college.

Long-distance relationships are not always easy to maintain, but a few strategies exist to make their challenges more manageable. Bundy credits her current relationship’s success to a strategy that may seem counterintuitive: do not be in constant communication.

“Because we don’t talk all day, we are able to have quality conversations at the end,” Bundy said.

She and Pierce FaceTime almost every night, and the lack of communication all day allows the conversation to flow freely. This advice tracks with what experts say.

“Talking on the phone and FaceTiming is the best way to stay connected because so much can get lost in translation via text,” relationship coach Kavita Patel, said in an interview with Brides magazine.

Sophomore fashion major Maggie, who is identified by only first name for privacy, said purposeful conversation was important in her relationship.

“Remember to be involved in stuff,” Maggie said, “like not just starting conversations but continuing them.”

Maggie met her past girlfriend when they worked together. When they were in the same location, the couple spent a lot of quality time together, even when it was not convenient.

“I would work night shifts at my other job, and I’d get off at 11,” Maggie said. “Then we would just drive around for a little bit.”

She entered a long-distance relationship when her girlfriend moved to Hawaii. Although the pair no longer dates romantically, Maggie said they are still friends.

“When you’re so far away it’s kind of just harder to keep it going than if you were seeing someone daily,” she said.

Looking back on the beginning of her relationship, the biggest piece of advice Maggie has for others is to have an honest conversation about expectations.

“Set a plan beforehand,” Maggie said. “Have the conversation and both share what you think the relationship will be.”

This piece of advice can be applied throughout all stages of the relationship, according to Patel.

“If something has changed within the relationship it’s important to begin to question if you are both on the same page and have the hard conversation of whether it’s time to let the relationship go,” Patel told Brides magazine.

It is also important to not let others’ judgment influence one’s own feelings, Bundy said. Especially because people are often judgmental of serious relationships between young people. For example, Pierce’s enthusiasm helps reassure Bundy.

“He’ll tell all his friends ‘I’m going to marry this girl,’” Bundy said. “He’s very open about it.”

The last piece of advice Patel shared with Brides magazine is to appreciate all time spent with a significant other.

“It’s powerful because you value and cherish each moment way more when you are in a long-distance relationship,” Patel said.

This idea is important to Bundy now as she does not know when she and Pierce will be reunited permanently. However, she does know one thing for certain.

“You don’t have to look at the whole time frame you’ll be apart,” Bundy said. “Just take it one step at a time.”

Jenna Bal is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]