Merchant: Long-distance relationships are worth the work

Safiya Merchant

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One thing I can tell you from experience is that long-distance relationships suck. I have yet to find anything to redeem them; they’ve only filled my mind with memories, paranoia or just plain ‘I miss you’ sadness. I can now see why people say long-distance relationships never work. It takes a lot of guts to not leave one out of frustration.

I have been in what one would call a long-distance relationship for my entire freshman year at Northwestern. And this is not the long-distance type where I’m in the northern part of Illinois and he is down south. This is the “He’s out on the East Coast’ type of long-distance. We rarely see each other except for our breaks. When you also consider that Northwestern is on a quarter system that does not coincide with the schedules of most other universities, the time we have with each other is cut once again.

I constantly miss him. He is one of the few people who truly understand what goes on in my head, and losing that support system has been difficult this year. Cue in the paranoid thoughts of him cheating and any girl has enough material to move on from a long-distance relationship. But that is not what got me.

The most difficult aspect is that we have a lack of time. We’re both extremely busy, with a heavy-duty course load, extracurricular activities that take up loads of time (The Daily Northwestern, I blame you) and our jobs (he is a tutor and I have a journalism internship). We don’t get to talk very often because we’re exhausted or we don’t have enough time to waste on a two-hour phone call.

Most people might say that these are my college years and I should be free, independent and uncommitted. But participating in what is sometimes the drunken sex-fest of Northwestern is not what I call freedom.

Yes, being uncommitted would be a bit more stress-free, but you don’t ditch your best friend just because you are going somewhere new. For me, even through all the tearful fights, I still love him and I remember why I do. Maybe that is a step in the right direction.

Safiya Merchant is a Medill freshman and DAIILY staffer. She can be reached at