Going the distance

Latara Boodie, Youthlink Writer

After a whirlwind of parties, adventurous encounters and flirting with the unpredictable ... [actually, if your summer was that amazing I tip my hat to you; for most of us the mundane routine of waking up to either go to work or find something to do during the day was pretty much as exciting as it got] ... you may be asking yourself if the one you got 'hitched' with during the 'bookless' season is really the one for you.

To complicate this brain-busting question even more, let's factor in another element, long distance! Whether in a different parish or country, you know that a long-distance relationship is one of the hardest types to maintain and yet, after spending a blissful summer together, your 'special one' is either migrating or leaving for school/work. You know that this will cause the dynamics of your relationship to change drastically but you still need an answer: Was this just a summer fling or can I get more from this?

Here are four things to consider when deciding whether to stay or sever your summer relationship.

1. Jealousy

You may not consider yourself to be a jealous person but whenever you see your 'significant other' being friendly with someone on your social media feed, or in a picture with someone else having a good time, you go berserk. Relationship expert Dr Carole Lieberman, MD, says that a partner who gets jealous easily could be asking for trouble in a long-distance relationship. "Jealousy comes from insecurity and the fear of not being good enough. If you don't feel you can trust someone, whether it's because you've been betrayed before, you're going to flounder in a long-distance relationship," she says. If you worry about how he/she will act when you are not around, then a long-distance relationship is not for you.

2. You can never be apart

Relationships usually have several benefits, including having someone to rely on and be an outlet for any extraordinary emotion you may be feeling. It is popular knowledge that we usually become attached to the people who care the most about us. Patrick Wanis, a human behaviour and relationship expert says, "If your identity becomes so strongly attached and connected to this person, when you're apart from him or her you're going to feel lost and confused, like you've lost your identity." If you cannot remember how you occupied yourself before the relationship then, chances are, you are not ready to encounter a long- distance relationship.

3. Different Expectations

If considering a long-distance relationship, set realistic boundaries surrounding whether you will remain exclusive and how often you will communicate. Clearly examining what both of you want and expect while you're apart is important to maintaining a healthy relationship. Identify how you plan to convey your love while separated.

4. Communication

Last, but not least, the most crucial element in all relationships is communication. April Beyer, matchmaker, dating and relationship expert, says, "You should always listen to what the other person has to say because it could influence your decision to stay in the relationship or get out of it." Each person has to be willing to reach out and talk via some form of communication medium. Is he/she a texter? Do you like to spend hours on the phone? Discuss this beforehand and come to a compromise. If you are bad at communicating and misinterpret each other's needs, you increase the chance of feeling neglected and unloved.

Commencing a long-distance relationship is not for the faint of heart. All the flaws in your union will be magnified and only a few can withstand the harsh reality that comes with being apart. Being open and honest are key elements for surviving a long-distance relationship.