As heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, red balloons and flowers fill store aisles, people rush to get their significant others something special for Valentine’s Day. However, this may not be the case for couples in long-distance relationships.
For couples who share their affections from miles away, the long-distance factor can often be troubling. It can test relationships to their limits and give couples constant doubts.
Pharmacy senior Tam Tran, who has been dating her long-distance boyfriend from Arkansas for three years, feels that with trust, continual communication and faith, the distance factor can be overpowered.
“We originally met at a Baptist church convention in Denver,” Tran said. “We text and FaceTime each other every day. We try to see each other every two months or on holidays.”
Because Tran won’t be visiting for Valentine’s Day, she said her boyfriend will send her flowers.
“I feel like you can make it work if you are both committed,” Tran said. “We both have a strong faith and put God first. Before, I would think long-distance would never work. Now, I know it takes sacrifice and a lot of trust and love.”
Media productions alumna Natasha Dadwani met her long-distance boyfriend in Pakistan.
“On the first day of University, he was walking down the stairs and, with that, stole my heart,” Dadwani said. “Yeah, that’s my life, but he really did. Later, I found out that he had spotted me years ago in high school but never gathered the strength to come and say hi.”
Dadwani, who lives a busy life as a wedding planner, experiences firsthand balancing her love life with the conflict of different time zones.
“Being in a long-distance relationship is not a natural situation,” Dadwani said. “It is not organic to receive emotional love via Skype or text messages. With our busy careers and 11-hour time difference, we do the best we can.”
With a rare chance to see each other, Dadwani created something memorable for Valentine’s Day.
“I have a busy wedding weekend coming up. He has his exams starting the next day, so I have decided to make him a video,” Dadwani said.
“Having a media background and wedding-planning career keeps you being creative in the love department. I haven’t shot the video yet, but the plan is to incorporate videos of us from our trips — like snippets of me just singing and dancing and being silly. I’ll probably hold signs with background music to tie it all together. And he has something up his sleeves, so let’s see.”
While some may feel investing in a long-distance relationship is worth it, others shared their firsthand experience of why it’s not.
Corporate communications and human resources senior Perla Mendoza dated a Marine for a year and a half and left feeling unsatisfied.
“I met him at a high school party; we talked every day, but he was more like my best friend,” Mendoza said. “He was deployed, and I was in school. He would call me when he was in Afghanistan. We planned on getting married, but I wanted something concrete, so I kept putting it off. He didn’t really understand.”
Mendoza believes that her relationship lacked affection.
“It made a huge difference,” Mendoza said. “Now that I look back on it, I guess I was really selfish. That’s what I learned — not to be selfish and to be more giving.”
Construction management senior Steven Ruiz dated his high school sweetheart for four years and decided to fight for their relationship even after she went to Austin for college.
“It was really bad,” Ruiz said. “You never know what they’re doing over there.”
Ruiz kept in contact with his then-girlfriend through MySpace and would stay up all night talking to her on the phone.
“My parents were disappointed after we broke up, but my friends were happy about it,” Ruiz said. “It took a year to get over her. It was a really depressing time in my life.”
Reflecting on that relationship, Ruiz shared mixed feelings.
“Looking back on it, it both was and wasn’t worth it,” Ruiz said. “I put in four years of my life with her, which all went to waste, but then again it was worth it since I got to experience something other people don’t — I learned my lesson.”
With the constant doubts of a long-distance relationship, public relations alumna Daisy Gomez suggested staying focused.
“If you don’t stay busy or focused, your mind can be your worst enemy, and jealousy can ruin your relationship,” Gomez said. “Also, maintain daily communication even if you both have busy lives. It’s nice to speak to your significant other at the end of each day and to see how their day was.”