Could a long distance relationship work for you?

Dean Martin once sang, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But songwriter Badabing Badaboom writes, absence makes the heart go wander. So which one is it?

Relationships are a part of everyday life and take a lot of effort to maintain. Some people choose to pursue long-distance relationships, which tend to be more difficult to handle than more traditional boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

Senior Tammy Inman has been in a long-distance relationship since the school year began. She and her boyfriend, who lives in Philipsburg, N.J., met through mutual friends at the beginning of the summer. Inman said she is surprised at how good the relationship has been so far.

Inman mostly keeps in touch with her boyfriend by phone and said her long distance phone bills are very high. Inman and her boyfriend try to meet twice a month on the weekends. The drive to Philipsburg is not very far, only four to five hours from D.C., Inman said.

Inman said maintaining a long-distance relationship is sometimes difficult.

It’s hard on me in terms of not having someone around every day, she said.

Inman said she does not feel tempted to wander. At the beginning of the relationship Inman said she thought the relationship was an outta sight, outta mind kind of thing, but it became more solid as time went by.

Inman said she believes long-distance relationships can be just as strong as normal ones. Inman, who spent all of the summer with her boyfriend, said she was able to establish a strong bond with him before returning to GW.

Inman said students just starting long-distance relationships should watch their phone bill because couples never want to say goodbye. Students should also get out and stay busy in order to have lives of their own even though their boyfriend/girlfriend is not around, Inman said.

Sophomore Carolyn Krumme has been in a long-distance relationship for more than a year. Krumme met her boyfriend in high school in her hometown in Oklahoma. The two had known each other for four years and were best friends before he worked up the nerve to ask Krumme out, she said.

Krumme’s boyfriend attends college in Arkansas, a 20-hour drive or five-hour flight from D.C. Being far apart makes it harder for the couple to see each other, but Krumme said they talk at least once a day and constantly use e-mail and instant messenger to keep in contact.

Krumme offered her own advice for keeping a strong long-distance relationship.

It’s difficult for both people, Krumme said. Be lenient and be understanding and if it’s a relationship built on good grounding, then it should work out.

Senior Matt Gummerson just ended a long-distance relationship after trying it for a few months. The couple was together for about a year before Gummerson’s girlfriend graduated from GW in May and moved back to her hometown in Wyoming. The couple decided to pursue a long-distance relationship because they thought it was true love and it seemed it was worth the effort, Gummerson said.

But three months into the long distance relationship it ended.

Their lives were going in totally different directions, Gummerson said. He said he wanted to live the busy life in D.C., while his girlfriend wanted to go back home and settle down in a small town. Gummerson said it is important that students who want to pursue long-distance relationships set out specific goals and think about where their lives are going before they begin a long-distance relationship.

Gummerson agrees that maintaining the long-distance relationship took a lot of hard work. He said his phone bills reached $250 a month, and the travel expenses to see his girlfriend every few weeks were also high. Although Gummerson does not regret the money he spent, he said he was sick of having the phone up to his ear all the time.

If you think about it, you’re being charged to spend time with someone, he said.

For Gummerson, the long-distance relationship meant that his needs and desires were unfulfilled and suppressed, he said. Gummerson wanted a normal college relationship, and it was difficult for him to cope with the fact that the two could not be there for each other most of the time, he said.

Trust and temptation also play a factor in long-distance relationships. Gummerson said it would have been easy to have relationship on the side at GW, and it would have been hard for his girlfriend to find out about it. He said he was often tempted.

All the time! Of course, I’m a guy! he said.

Gummerson acknowledges that long distance relationships are a lot of hard work.

The recipe for success is that you have to have complete trust in each other and suppress your needs and desires, Gummerson said. But only until you meet once again.

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