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Relationships go the distance

In the month of February, Valentine’s Day is on many people’s minds. Being alone on Valentine’s Day, also known as Singles Awareness Day, is not something most people want.

Some Drake students will be alone on Valentine’s Day, not because they are single, but because they are in a long-distance relationship.

Erika Owen is a sophomore at Drake University. Her boyfriend Kyle McKinney is 22 and attends University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The two met at McKinney’s house when Owen returned home to attend a concert with her best friend. A mutual friend introduced the two of them.

While they are away at school, Owen and McKinney text and talk on the phone, but as a unique way to keep in touch, they also write each other letters. They also send each other what she describes as “virtual mix tapes,” which are just songs that they find online. They both visit the other once in a while.

To Owen, the perfect date happened when they went to a Greek restaurant followed by a Tea House, where the two read newspapers and joked around. Owen also said that phone dates are important in long distance relationships. She said that ditching out on a phone date is just like ditching out on a real date, because it is how you hang out when you are so far away.

On the subject of jealousy, Owen said she has to accept that he is in Milwaukee and she is in Des Moines, and she has to know that if he really cares, he wouldn’t put their relationship at risk.

Long-distance relationships are often hard, you miss out on doing many things as a couple. For Valentine’s Day, Owen got McKinney and herself matching journals so that they could write things they wished the others were there for, and trade journals whenever they see each other.

To others in long-distance relationships, Owen gives the advice, “Just accept the distance.” She also adds, “Don’t get caught up in the future.”

Sami Richmond, also a sophomore at Drake, and her boyfriend Ryan Bailey, who is a sophomore at University of Illinois, met their senior year of high school in Advance Placement psychology. Bailey and Richmond went to Stevenson High School, a school so large that until they had class together, they didn’t even know one another existed. Richmond sat by Bailey thinking he was cute. Bailey was quiet though, so the two didn’t speak in class.

Things changed one Friday night when the two both happened to be at home working on college applications and on Facebook. They talked about their college applications and eventually got on the topic of baseball, they then realized that they are both huge Chicago Cubs fans.

Richmond and Bailey began regularly talking online and in class, but that was the extent of their relationship. As time passed and graduation came and was followed by a short summer, Bailey packed up for University of Illinois, joking that Richmond should join him since it was her second choice.

The two eventually exchanged phone numbers and randomly texted during their first year of college. This past summer, Richmond had tickets to a Cubs game and needed someone to go with last minute. She invited Bailey.
The two then attended another Cubs game together and realized that they had a lot of fun together. They began to hang out more and realized they liked each other as more than friends.

When Richmond and Bailey began dating, they meant for their relationship to be a summer fling. Things soon got serious, and they have now been together for seven months.

This past semester Richmond lived in Goodwin-Kirk, so when he visited he could just sleep in the common room. This semester Richmond moved into her sorority house, making visits a little more complicated. Since Bailey is not allowed to spend the night there, his last visit he spent one night at a hotel and slept in a friend of Richmond’s room the other night.

Being so far away would be hard for anyone.

“When I have a bad day he’s not there to just go to,” Richmond said. Richmond and Bailey talk daily though, through texts and Facebook chat. They also talk on the phone and Skype.

Living so far away makes romantic gestures are hard, but Richmond and Bailey still manage to keep the romance alive. Bailey contacted Richmond’s roommate in weeks preceeding her birthday, and got her to let him into their sorority house to surprise Richmond. He surprised her there with a dozen roses.

The distance can cause problems for many, including jealousy. Richmond has many guy friends and describes herself as “lucky” that Bailey is understanding and not a jealous person. Richmond said that while she occasionally gets jealous, she knows that Bailey was raised well and would not cheat on her.

Since Richmond can’t spend Valentine’s Day with Bailey they are making up for it by celebrating next weekend when Richmond goes home. Richmond sent Bailey cookies and a coupon book she made, which includes coupons for dates and more.

To other people in long-distance relationships, Richmond gives the advice, “When you’re far away, you can’t just sit around and sulk, you have to go out and live your own separate lives and do your own thing.”

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