Long-Distance Relationships, College, and the Age of Video Chat

Years ago, maintaining a long-distance relationship during college consisted of occasional visits, telephone calls, and lots of letter-writing. It was a much harder way of keeping up a relationship, but couples still managed to survive and stay strong throughout the academic year. Of course, nowadays, college couples in a long-distance relationship still visit each other over the weekends and on holiday vacations, but they have at their disposal a number of other means of keeping up with each other, and these methods have certainly changed the way students in love relate to each other.

According to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, nearly 4.4 million college students were in long distance relationships in 2008, and that number could have increased in the past two years. So how are students sticking together? Well, the rise of video chat technology is probably most responsible for the way students relate to their partner. Students can video chat nearly anywhere with an internet connect: their dorm rooms, cafes, libraries, airplanes. They can video chat with their phones as well, as some companies, like Apple, have begun incorporating video chat programs into their phones.

Even when couples aren’t directly in communication, they can still feel connected to one another through status updates on Twitter and online activity on Facebook. These programs allow couples to broadcast what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, and what they’re thinking to their friends and followers. A couple could really use this to get a sense of each other’s routine, and if someone was feeling down, a Tweet could even prompt a quick video chat or phone call to try to cheer the other person up.

And yet, what most often helps a long-distance relationship thrive is personal connection outside of the realm of technology. In an age so controlled by technology, a brief physical meeting or personal note can more than make up for the great distances between each person. Technology shouldn’t take the place of real connection, but it certainly helps each person in making the relationship stronger and longer-lasting.

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