Going the distance
Long-distance couples share their stories.
Kendal + Angus
Kendal Chapman ’22 and her boyfriend Angus Lee’s relationship grew out of the train conversations they had on the way back from their New York City high school. While Chapman is a Brandeis first-year, Lee stayed in New York City for college. Despite the distance, the pair talk every day and take every opportunity to be together. Chapman and Lee — separated by about 200 miles — have to rely on FaceTime and iMessage to have the same kinds of conversations that originally cemented their bond.
“The biggest challenge is not having the little things. The little inside jokes, the little hand holding, the little smiles. It adds up and it’s really frustrating when you get out of sync with those things and have to re-adjust after every time you’re apart. It’s something that no amount of calling or texting will make up for,” Chapman said.
Chapman and Lee were best friends for years before they officially began their romantic relationship. The first Valentine’s Day they spent together the pair agreed not to exchange gifts, but Lee surprised Chapman with a dozen roses, which Chapman described as “adorably cheesy.”
Despite being physically separated, the couple often sees each other on FaceTime while doing everyday tasks. Every weekend, Chapman brings her laptop to Sherman Dining Hall, and the two have a “breakfast date.”
This Valentine’s Day, Chapman will be on a night bus to New York. Although they aren’t technically spending the holiday together, they have plans to exchange gifts once Chapman arrives in New York.
Even though maintaining a long-distance relationship is challenging, Chapman says that the experience has strengthened and matured her connection with Lee. When asked if she ever considered going to the same college as Lee, she said that she “love[s] him, but college is a time for self-development and growth. It wouldn’t have been healthy not to have our own spaces and experiences.”
Lily + Daniel
Lily Swartz ’20 and Daniel Shoham ’20 met during their first year at Brandeis. “We were both involved with the Orthodox Jewish community on campus, so we saw each other fairly frequently and became friends,” Shoham said.
When asked what her first impression of Shoham was, Swartz joked that she found him “really shy and a little awkward;” that during her “first week at Brandeis, I approached him in Sherman and asked if he knew my best friend who went to his high school and he shrugged me off.”
A year after meeting, however, Shoham and Swartz started dating officially. Now she describes him as a “thoughtful, hard-working and open-minded person.” Swartz’s initial impression of Shoham has, obviously, been debunked. “He always does things for others and has an incredible work ethic. He’s also the least judgmental person I know, which is honestly inspiring,” Swartz said.
After almost a year of dating, Swartz left the Brandeis campus for a study abroad program in England this semester. To stay up-to-date on each other’s lives, the couple texts every day and FaceTimes throughout the week.
However, the time difference between Massachusetts and England has presented the biggest challenge to the couple’s communication. “It’s hard to find times when we can talk to each other that work for both of us. During weeks where we both have hectic schedules especially, that becomes an issue,” Shoham said.
This Valentine’s Day, the couple is unable to celebrate the holiday together but plans to FaceTime. Despite this, Shoham says that “when we do spend time together over FaceTime, it’s qualitatively different than spending time in person because there aren’t really any candid moments over FaceTime. The whole time we’re interacting solely with one another, so I don’t get to see her normal mannerisms when she interacts with the rest of the world, which are also parts of her that I love.”
Shoham’s advice for long-distance couples is to communicate as often as possible and take every opportunity to visit each other.
Alessandra + Josh
Josh Hoffman ’21 met Alessandra Guccione in Connecticut through a mutual friend. Although Hoffman and Guccione attended colleges in different states — Guccione lives in Connecticut and goes to NYU — Hoffman says that there was “no question” that they would begin a long-distance relationship.
Unlike many long-distance couples, Hoffman and Guccione began their relationship fully knowing that they would face the challenges of distance. “I have never met anyone like Alessandra and I would do it [maintain a long distance relationship] again in a heartbeat,” Hoffman said.
The couple tries to visit each other once a month. When Guccione drives up to Brandeis, the pair “just like to hang out,” according to Hoffman. During Guccione’s visits to campus, she often accompanies Hoffman to his club activities.
“When she comes up here we study together, hang out with our mutual friend, or just chat,” Hoffman explained.
Since Hoffman is only a state away from Guccione, she visits the campus often. However, this proximity is also the main challenge of their relationship: “balancing weekend commitments with visiting [each other] since [they] are in completely different places,” according to Guccione.
The couple said that the most important component of both starting and maintaining a long distance relationship is communication. “There is no ‘wrong’ way to go about it as long as you’re both comfortable and happy with what you have,” Guccione said.
Even though the couple often goes weeks without seeing each other, Hoffman said, “I always get excited and my heart starts racing. I basically sprint to the door once she texts she’s there.”