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True love prevails

In the April 9 issue of The Tech, M. suggests that long distance relationships are impossibly difficult and cause lots of problems with no benefits. I disagree with these claims, and I would like to elaborate on some of the many benefits of a long distance relationship during college.

First of all, I will make the assumption that this relationship based on “true love” is something which both members believe in long term — not just someone convenient to have fun with, but someone you want to spend a substantial portion of your life with. Regarding long-distance difficulties, go pick up a pset for a class in a course completely unrelated to yours — it probably looks impossibly difficult as well, but everyone in that class was in the same place you were just a couple of years ago. I guess two or three years of work turns something which seems impossibly difficult into something challenging, but manageable.

Let’s think about how much time MIT students have to spare in a typical week: not much. Many people run on a sleep deficit, which would imply that we don’t really have time to spare. A short distance relationship is time consuming. You will naturally want to spend time together, and there will inevitably be times when you should probably be studying or sleeping instead. A long distance relationship, on the other hand, limits the amount of time you can possibly spend with each other and forces you to instead focus on school. At the same time, a long distance relationship provides the love, companionship and support necessary for success. It can also be a helpful reminder that there is a real world outside of MIT. Technology is on our side as well with free in-network calling on some cell phone plans and unlimited Skype for something like $3/month. Communicating across hundreds of miles has never been cheaper or easier!

As for the idea that a long distance relationship causes trust issues or insecurity, any relationship can have those issues. The distance causes one to worry more about unknowns: what’s he doing now? Why isn’t he answering his phone? But a short distance relationship probably causes more well defined worries: why is he talking to that flirty girl again? All relationships require some trust, and more serious relationships call for more serious trust.

I will admit, a long distance relationship is not always easy and fun. But then, is anything which is easy and fun all the time actually worthwhile? MIT is certainly not easy, and not always fun, but I would guess most people agree it’s worthwhile. Maybe a long distance relationship is not for everyone, but I believe it is possible if you really love each other. We’re only at MIT for a few years (that’s not so long, after all) — maybe things will work out and a short distance relationship will be possible in the near future.

— Elise McCall ’10