Thursday, May 23, 2024

MSU students in long distance relationships celebrate Valentine's Day

February 15, 2024

For many couples and friends, Valentine's Day means going out to dinner, exchanging gifts and walking hand-in-hand with that special someone. However, this isn't always the case – sometimes distance can dampen romantic plans.

Many Michigan State University students are in long distance relationships, or LDRs, and are separated from their significant others by factors like attending different colleges, studying abroad or working in different cities. Celebrating the holiday with their romantic partner is not always feasible, or possible

Criminal justice and social science sophomore Keke Quiana had no plans for Feb. 14 – despite being engaged. Her fiancé recently moved to South Carolina and they have been dating long distance since Quiana started school at MSU in the fall. She explained that communication can be difficult sometimes, especially with the busy schedules of your college years.

“We have days where I work and I can’t really talk to him, days where he works and I can’t really talk to him,” Quiana said. “So we have days where there’s no communication (and) we have days where we talk all day.”

For Quiana, the holiday was one of those days she spent working. While she can’t see her fiancé on Valentine’s Day, she plans to make the 10 hour drive to South Carolina to surprise him over spring break.

“I won’t be seeing him until the 26th,” Quiana said. “I’ll be working, but hopefully by then I will be able to actually research some gifts that I want to give him.”

Even though Quiana’s Feb. 14 plans may be made mundane by the distance, she’s happy to have the time to plan out her surprise visit. She’s said she is excited to see her fiancé, his new house and their dog, a nine-year old pit bull named Tiny. 

In a similar boat is criminal justice and psychology sophomore Selena Salinas, who gets to see her boyfriend of over a year only on the occasional weekend. Salinas’s boyfriend works the night shift at his job in Grand Rapids, so the couples’ schedules are often at odds. They manage by texting and FaceTiming, thanks to Salinas’s “night owl” tendencies. 

“But like imagine if FaceTime wasn’t invented,” Salinas said. “It would be worse.”

This year, Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday, which means that Salinas will have to wait until the weekend after the holiday has passed to spend time with her significant other. She said she plans to spend quality time with him over the weekend, but in the meantime, she hasn’t let distance stop her from celebrating love. Salinas spent Valentine’s Day with her roommates, giving the platonic love in her life the attention it deserves. 

“I feel like Valentine’s day is so stigmatized that you have to have a partner, and it’s really not like that,” Salinas said. “It can be celebrated many different ways.”

Spanish and secondary education freshman Cecilia Arellano and her girlfriend are both from Grand Rapids, but are doing long distance while Arellano goes to MSU and her girlfriend attends the University of Michigan. Arellano said it’s hard to see other couples spend so much time together in person, but communicating with her partner over the phone as much as they can helps them get through the distance

“We talk to each other a lot on the phone, like over FaceTime,” Arellano said. “And we always like, we’re texting about our classes and stuff like that, just keeping up to date.” 

This Valentine’s Day, Arellano and her girlfriend didn't let the miles deter them from spending the holiday together. Arellano’s girlfriend planned to take the bus from Ann Arbor to East Lansing on the 14th. 

“She was gonna surprise me, but I figured it out,” Arellano said.

Valentine’s Day can look different for many people – sometimes even those in romantic relationships don’t get to celebrate with their partner how you might expect. But love still remains all around, even for MSU students divided from their partners by distance.

“To all my long distance people out there, you guys are doing great,” Quiana said. “You guys can do it!”

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