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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

With Love From Afar: How Long-Distance Couples Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Long-distance couples emphasize the effort required to maintain a relationship across many miles.

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Ah, Valentine’s Day, the time when stores push what I like to call the three classics: chocolates, candy and cards. Others, mainly those in romantic relationships, are prone to paint Valentine’s Day in a more generous light. They mark it as a time to treasure their significant other by buying flowers, making gift baskets or going on a dinner date to Molly’s. All of this is possible with close physical proximity, which some students with partners on campus may take for granted. But how do you celebrate such a holiday when your significant other is hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away? 

For some couples in a long-distance relationship, such as Kushal Jayakumar ’26, seeing all the couples on campus having the privilege of celebrating Valentine’s Day in person may instill a twinge of sadness. Jayakumar’s girlfriend currently lives in South India, so they will not be able to spend Valentine’s Day physically together. 

“You see everything going crazy with the Bandygrams and flower grams,” Jayakumar said. “During this week, [my girlfriend] is going to be regretting that I’m not around, and I’m also going to be regretting that she’s not [around].”

But he, like many other long-distance couples on campus, is not letting that stop him. 

“It takes effort to show how much you love the other person . . . so, I’m trying to make it the best Valentine’s she could ever celebrate by being her Valentine.” 

Other long-distance couples are finding ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in their own fashion — with or without a time zone difference. For Teddy Danziger ’24, whose girlfriend attends Columbia University, this meant a visit from her during Winter Carnival. While Valentine’s Day will still be fun to celebrate, he noted that he was more excited about their 6-month anniversary on Feb. 8, as it was more meaningful to the two of them and is near Valentine’s Day. 

As for Sonia Meytin ’26, they have been learning about the “magic” of Uber Eats. Although their first attempt to deliver their girlfriend flowers via the app didn’t work out, they’re planning on delivering a bouquet via the app once again and visiting their partner that weekend.

According to Meytin, the act of showing one’s love to a partner on Valentine’s Day is more important than the intricacies of the date itself.

“The date itself has become less important,” Meytin said. “The practice of going out of my way to make sure that my partner knows that she’s loved and appreciated has become that much more important. You just need to stop and take a moment to make sure that your partner knows that they’re very deeply loved.” 

For long-distance couples, celebrating Valentine’s Day is merely one of the several challenges that come with a relationship across many miles. 

One challenge common in long-distance relationships is proximity — or rather, lack thereof. Even when both partners are in the same time zone, overcoming the physical distance is no small feat. Take Cassidy Wechter ’24, for example. Her boyfriend currently attends college in upstate New York, and during the six months they have been together, she acknowledged that the distance between them has been difficult. 

“I don’t see [my boyfriend] very often,” Wechter said. “He’s come to visit a couple times, I’ve gone to visit a couple times. But obviously, it’s not the same as being in the same place.” 

Meytin shared a similar sentiment. While Meytin knew that there was a chance they and their partner would have to do long-distance, they also expressed difficulties that came with the distance. Meytin and their partner have been together since high school, so they saw each other “almost every single day.” Now in a long-distance relationship, they expressed that it is “very strange to not share space” with their girlfriend. 

But while the lack of proximity is a challenge, a formative time such as college leads to change. 

“We’ve been dating for so long that I would be very hard-pressed to say that we are the same people as when we started [dating in high school],” Meytin said. “Being so far apart and not seeing her every day when all these changes are taking place … it takes more nuance to deal with this sort of thing when you’re far apart. It’s something I’m glad to do.” 

It’s even more difficult to manage long-distance with Dartmouth’s 10-week terms and its incompatibility with other schools’ semester-based schedules. Add extracurriculars to the mix, and such hectic schedules can make coordinating agreeable times quite challenging. Since Danziger and his long-distance girlfriend are student athletes at their respective universities, they have to navigate each others’ athletic schedules in addition to their academics and other extracurriculars. 

“A lot of the times we’re going to be seeing each other next, it’ll be somewhat on short notice,” Danziger said. “Throughout that, maybe something will change, like one of our schedules.” 

Danziger stressed the importance of not promising to do something unless he’s 100% sure he can. 

“Managing expectations is something I feel is important,” he said. “And communicating is also really important.” 

Wechter, Meytin and Danziger are all fortunate in one aspect: They both attend universities in the same time zones as their respective partners. Long-distance relationships are even more difficult when a partner is on a different continent halfway across the world. 

Jayakumar may be located here, but his girlfriend is located thousands of miles away. The 10-and-a-half-hour time difference can make good communication, which is fundamental to a long-distance relationship, even more challenging. 

“This is the first time in my life, particularly this year, that I’m actually pulling all-nighters not to study, but to talk to someone,” he said. “I’ve never done that.”  

Fortunately, Jayakumar and his girlfriend have found an ingenious way to connect — by making a “pact” to wake each other up by calling one another because their mornings and nights align.

Despite what may seem like countless obstacles, being in a long-distance relationship isn’t as bad as you may think. Perhaps it’s because they are seniors, but both Danziger and Wechter noted that being in a long-distance relationship means not having to give up as much time with their respective friends. 

To all the couples on campus who are not long-distance, the efforts of these couples may serve as a reminder to take a moment to show your appreciation for your partner and not take the proximity for granted. And fingers crossed that Uber Eats properly delivers Meytin’s flowers to their girlfriend!