I’m a freshman and my significant other and I have decided to stay in a relationship despite that we go to different schools. We’ve been together for three years and didn’t want to break up just because we went to college, but now it seems like it might not be going as well as we had hoped for. We don’t talk as much as we used to, and when we do, things are way different. I’ve also met so many new people here and I think I want to open myself up to the idea of dating other people. I’m just afraid that I might be losing someone really special and important to me, and I’m afraid I’ll never get them back. What should I do?

Long-distance Lover

Dear Long-distance Lover,

It seems like it might be time to break it off. Plenty of relationships fizzle out when people move away, and long distance isn’t for everyone. Relationships require effort, and with the tumult of college, people often don’t have the time or energy to put the effort in. I think in this situation it’s important to be honest. Talk to them face to face, over Skype or on the phone and tell them how you are feeling. Allow them to respond and to share their thoughts and feelings — you might even find that they feel the same way. It will be difficult, and neither of you will be over it overnight, but if you let it drag on, you may grow to resent them for holding you back. And know that even though you are initiating the breakup, you have every right to mourn the relationship.

While I was home for Thanksgiving break, I realized how hard it is to be around my parents all the time and live at home. I know that we’ll be going home for winter break soon for about a month, and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. I also know that I’ll probably have to move back home after college, and just thinking about living with my parents again full time makes me anxious. It’s just hard going from living independently to being under their constant watch all the time. What can I do to keep the peace with my parents?


Parental Peacemaker

Dear Parental Peacemaker,

This is totally understandable — you’re going through lots of changes while at school and your parents aren’t there to see every second of it. Regardless of what makes you anxious, it’s important to be upfront. They’re your parents, so of course be calm and respectful, but have a conversation with them about what rules or policies don’t sit well with you anymore.

For example, if your high school curfew was 11 p.m., maybe they could consider extending it to 1 a.m. Don’t try asking for something you know they won’t agree to — like no curfew — and be willing to compromise. If your anxiety stems more from the way your parents act, then still have a mature conversation about it, but know that this will be harder for them to stop, and you’ll have to call them out on it. If being yelled at makes you upset, tell them early in the break, but then if they forget and begin to yell at you, say to them, “Your screaming upsets me, could you please lower your voice and have a conversation with me instead?” Hope this is helpful.

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Dear Jessica 11/27: long-distance lover, parental peacemaker