In defense of dating long distance as a freshman (and Greek)

Melissa Holzberg, a freshman majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

I was standing in a clearing on a mountain. The sun was just about to set, and I was about 20 minutes away from Charlottesville, Va. It was absolutely freezing and I hadn’t thought to wear a coat. In front of me stood a boy, a boy I really liked.

No, this isn’t the story of how my high school sweetheart asked me to prom or how my high school boyfriend asked me to stay with him during college. This was Nov. 15, 2014. We were 20 minutes away from the University of Virginia where this boy is a second-year student.

We didn’t date in high school, though we first met through our school’s mock trial club. We hadn’t ever talked about being in a relationship when we went off to college. But here he asked me a question. He asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. Four months into my freshman year of college, and I chose to be in a long-distance relationship.

I know what you’re all thinking: Why would a freshman girl choose to enter a relationship in which she couldn’t see the person every day? Moreover, why would a girl want to commit to someone when she could have a social life here at GW involving boys?

I would be lying if I said the “what ifs” never crossed my mind. Being in a relationship itself can be a difficult task when, at 19 and 20 years old, we seem to be wired to put ourselves first and others second. Committing to just one other person is a lot of work, especially when you’ve committed to someone who can’t provide instant gratification.

While I’ve been told the negatives of being in a long-distance relationship by nearly everyone I have met – yes, thank you for reminding me of how much “it must suck” – I firmly believe that my decision was the right one for my boyfriend and me. With spring rush and Valentine’s Day right around the corner, more and more people have decided that they should inform me of just how hard my situation is.

Fraternity rush inevitably means open parties and a slew of new mixers to introduce new members of the Greek community to one another. Like so many other people on campus, I’m excited.

It’s enjoyable, if nothing else, to walk by fraternities’ open nights and see rushees trying to impress the brothers. And people who don’t enjoy a little eye candy on final hours – the final night of rush – are not making the most of their time.

But that doesn’t diminish my relationship status. Recently my boyfriend went through his own fraternity rush at UVA and let me tell you: It was the worst two weeks that we have experienced as not only a couple, but also as friends.

Anyone in a long-distance relationship or who even has a long-distance friendship can understand how hard it is to not be able to talk to the person whenever you want. Add in some parties, mixers and a tinge of jealousy, and you’ll understand why his pledge process will be difficult for me.

But this is my choice. College is a time to experience new things and see where your life could possibly go. For me, that doesn’t involve dating at GW.

My college experience includes a vacation every couple of weeks, when my boyfriend and I see each other and show each other off at our respective schools. My experience includes learning how to fight fair from more than 100 miles away, and dealing with rough patches that we can’t fix immediately because one of us has class or dinner plans that require him or me to be away from the phone.

Relationships are difficult, but they are also extremely rewarding if both people want to make it work. On Valentine’s Day, I’ll get to celebrate with my boyfriend. We’ll order in Chinese food and catch up on each other’s lives.

Couples on campus will have their plans, anti-Valentine’s Day parties will occur (and I’ll be a tad jealous that I won’t be partaking because they are a blast) and then Feb. 15 will come. My boyfriend will go back to his school, and we’ll pop our little bubble and re-enter the world.

That bubble makes it worth it to me. Long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone, and even relationships aren’t for everyone. But far be it for 114 miles to stop me from being with the person I love.

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