Going long-distance without disaster

College is tricky. Many of us are living in a new city, state or even country. This gets even more rough when you add baggage such as leaving a relationship behind. Many couples call it quits when they move away for college, but some choose to stay together.

For those who choose to make it work, it’s easy to be weighed down by the comments that your friends make. They’ll ask things like, “You know she’s probably cheating on you, right?” and “But what about all of the opportunities you’ll miss the next four years?” Ignoring that, you know, you’re still in love with your partner.

How do you keep a long-distance relationship alive during these years? Here’s some advice on how to fan the flame.

Put down your phone.

You’ve heard the conventional advice to talk as much as you can and keep each other updated. Yet this can quickly turn to smothering, jealousy and panic when your partner doesn’t answer right away. Remember, you’re both busy with your own lives. Don’t expect your partner to jump to answer you at the drop of a hat.

Make new inside jokes and memories.

Yeah, what you two did in high school was nice, but the only way a relationship can stay alive is if it moves forward. Focus on making new memories. Whether it’s just sending each other funny memes or watching a new TV show together through Skype, it’s important that you keep experiencing new things together despite the distance.

Embrace snail mail.

Remember those care packages your mom sent while you were at summer camp and how excited you’d feel opening the box? Take the time to send your partner something sweet every month or so, whether it’s a simple postcard or an elaborate box of goodies. There’s nothing like being able to hold something in your hand that reminds you of that special someone.

Be honest, no matter what.

Cheating doesn’t always start with sex – it’s a slippery slope. If you start hiding “little things” such as a cute message you got from a girl in your class or that lingering hug your guy friend gave you, sooner or later, things will spiral out of control. Be upfront about everything, and if something made you uncomfortable, talk to your partner about it.

See each other when possible.

Save up all that money you’d be spending on casual first dates with classmates if you’d broken up and, instead, invest it all back into your partner. Depending on the time of year (and even the day of the week), flight prices fluctuate, so do your research and get the best bang for your buck.