I remember when I first started telling people I was applying to law school. At that time Donté and I had just begun dating. The advice was always the same: “you’ll break up during 1L.” This was before I knew I’d end up in a long distance relationship (“LDR”). I’m sure the commentators would’ve had a field day with that extra fact. Good thing I don’t listen and march to the beat of my own drums because being in a relationship, even a long distance one, was my saving grace during law school.
Donté and I have been together 4 years, 3.5 of those have always been long distance. We spent all 3 years of law school in a LDR, traveling back and forth between Boston and Chicago. It was never easy, but absolutely worth it. LDRs are difficult as is and law school makes it even more strenuous. However, I think every couple can make it through law school, below are the key takeaways that got us through.
COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE
There’s a lot of compromising in a LDR, especially from the partner that isn’t in law school. Donté has truly carried our relationship the past 3 years. There were many times where our relationship was 80/20 with Donté carrying the heavy load. He compromised a lot to support me on this journey, always finding ways to reduce my stress through acts of service, feeding me, being my therapist, and reminding (or forcing) me to rest. Many of his compromises were at his own expense, but still, he showed up for me 110%.
Your Partner Comes Second to Law School
Another big compromise is your partner understanding, and accepting, that they will be second to law school. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. Law school is extremely demanding, students are often putting in 60-70+ hours a week into our studies. That doesn’t leave much time for a significant other. Donté knew this and had no trouble falling back and just letting me focus on school. Bless his soul. This often meant that he would only hear from me once a day, often in the evening, for a check-in or day recap. It also meant that weekends were spent studying, even during our monthly visits.
You should See Each Other At Least 1x a Month
One thing Donté and I did not play with was seeing each other! We made it a point to fly to each other once a month and spend a weekend together. It gave us both something to look forward to throughout the month. You can’t overlook the importance of physical touch and doing small things together – like going to the movies. The times I wasn’t sure if we’d make it through the distance, flying out to him and being wrapped in his arms was the reassurance and peace I needed.
FIND WAYS TO CHECK-IN THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Good morning texts and nightly FaceTime calls are cute, but it’s the random check-ins throughout the day that really make a difference. Yes, there were days Donté would only hear from me once, especially during finals week. However, there were also days when he’d get 3-5 calls from me. I would find small gaps in my day to call him, whether it would be during my quick lunch, walking to my car, or driving to/from school.
FIND WAYS TO SPEND TIME TOGETHER – VIRTUALLY
Donté was big on this. Virtual date nights for us consisted of watching TV together. We would hop on FaceTime and watch our favorite show. To make it extra special, Donté would sometimes order me takeout. Other times we’d watch a movie or documentary. These weekly moments were always something to look forward to and decompress together, even if it was over the phone.
Make the Most Out Of School Vacations Together
BAECATION ME, PLEASE! We always took yearly baecations together. We would take an annual back-to-school trip in the summer and at least one more during the school year. These baecations were opportunities for us to reconnect, have fun, and just feel like we were a regular couple with law school behind us.
GET YOU A REAL ONE
To sum it up, get you a Donté kind of partner! A king that provides for you, supports you, uplifts you, compromises for you, and sees the bigger picture together. The bigger picture being you handling all his legal affairs for FREE.99! LOL, jokes. But really, it all comes down to having a strong supportive partner that is willing to ride the roller coaster of law school with you.