Monday , February 10, 2014 - 10:04 AM
‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a pretty well-known phrase. For some teens, though, it’s something they live through every day due to a separation from their significant other.
Whether it be for school, a church mission or the military, long-distance relationships aren’t that uncommon for Top of Utah high schoolers.
Aubree Gramlich, a senior at Weber High, has been in a relationship with her boyfriend for 13 months. Although they’ve been together for more than a year, there was a period of six months where they were apart physically.
“He’s in the Air Force and is in the National Guard in Reserves,” the senior says. “He went to Texas to do basic training to be an airman.”
While he was there, she says they generally communicated through letters with one or two phone calls.
“After Texas he went to California for tech school (to become a mechanic),” Gramlich says. “We would talk on Skype as much as we could, which was usually at night because we both had school all morning.”
During her boyfriend’s time in California, he was also able to text the Weber High student when he had free time.
“The first three months were the hardest part of being apart,” she says. “I would get his letters in a two-week time span, so it was hard not talking to him. Going from talking to him all day everyday to not really talking to him at all was tough.”
Gramlich also says she thinks it was harder for her than it was for him because she was “at home doing nothing and constantly thinking about him, while he was always doing something and didn’t really have time to stop and think about it.”
It was hard on her boyfriend because he got homesick, she adds, “but they were on a really strict schedule so he couldn’t just stop and think about his emotions.”
So far away
Long-distance relationships are not just tough because of the military, however. McKenna Osterhout, a senior from Fremont High, met her significant other, who lives in Layton, at the Especially for Youth program this past summer.
She says it’s hard to be apart because “you don’t see each other as often and you don’t know what they’re doing.”
Others have a special someone who’s serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Morgan High junior Sadie Siebert has an elder in Guatemala and says it’s tough not being able to see him, but they communicate every Monday.
From her experience, Siebert’s found that their “love grows stronger, more trust is gained” and they appreciate each other more.
“I recommend not sitting around and moping. In general, just always remember how much you love each other and everything will work out,” Siebert says.
Paige Malan, a Morgan High junior, has a boyfriend in Chili on his mission. She says them growing up together “shows they can make it through anything together.”
She says with a mission, the long distance is probably harder on the guy and counsels others to “remember the good times even though there are going to be hard times.”
Other teens are in relationships with students who go to different high schools.
Weber senior Aubrey Turner has been with her boyfriend, who attends Ogden High, for seven months. He’s a junior, but will graduate this year along with her.
“We text and call every day,” she says. “I’ll see him at least five times a week, so there isn’t really a problem with him going to a different school.”
Turner adds it’s nice for her to be able to “focus on school” since her boyfriend is not at the same school and advises others in long distance relationships to “be honest and stay true.”
Braedin Butler, a Weber High senior, has been dating a girl who goes to Syracuse High for a couple of years. He says they met three years ago on a bus ride to California for a track meet and have been texting ever since.
“The hardest part of her going to a different school is the transportation. It takes a little under 30 minutes to go see her,” Butler says.
He adds there are also benefits to her being at a different school: “She has her own friend group, so it’s opened me up to meeting new people. It helps keeps things safe and keeps us from seeing each other too much.”
“We have the same interests and do a lot of the same things together,” Butler adds. He recommends that teens “not get too serious and stay open.”
Work it out
Some teens see only positive things in their distant relationship, like Weber senior Alex Longshaw. Her boyfriend lives in Syracuse and just completed his papers to leave on a church mission. Longshaw says she’s been with him for “a year and a couple months,” and sees him “at least once a week.”
She adds, “I like being apart. I think it’s nice; I think I need the distance. I believe in ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ so I kind of like going to different schools.”
Being in a long-distance relationship has helped Gramlich and her boyfriend in the military become stronger as a couple.
“Neither one of us just gave up because it was too hard. We stayed together and made it through the six months,” she says. She also says they “don’t take each other for granted” because they “know what it’s like to have them gone.”
“Don’t give up! It’s hard, but you’ll get through (the long distances) together,” Gramlich adds.
Although having a significant other who’s far away may not be an ideal circumstance, some teens say it can still work. The situation may be even harder with Valentine’s Day coming up, but many couples are more than willing to try to make something work out.
Through dedication and mutual effort, the distances may seem to become a little shorter, and the heart might just grow a little fonder.
Erin Geiger is a senior at Weber High School. Contact her with ideas, comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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