In three days, STA seniors will be graduating high school, ending one chapter in their lives and beginning a new one: college. College brings new classmates, new friends, and new boys. For some girls, college also brings the decision whether to continue dating their boyfriend or to break up.
Megan and Paul
Senior Megan Porterfield and Rockhurst High School senior Paul Massali plan on embarking upon this new chapter together. Porterfield and Massali, who have been dating since last June, have decided to continue dating in college. However, because Porterfield is attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex. and Massali is attending the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., their relationship will change.
According to Massali, there have only been one or two days since the junior ring dance last April, besides a few out of town trips, when they have not seen each other. Although they will visit each other at least once a month, Massali said the long distance will not be easy.
“We are pretty much together all the time so I don’t know what it is like [without her],” Massali explained.
Although Massali was at first unsure about staying together, after visiting KU, he felt more confident about making the long distance relationship work.
“I was pretty skeptical about the whole long distance relationship until I actually went to KU and became pretty good friends with this girl whose boyfriend is actually back in San Diego where she is from,” Massali explained. “Until then I was not sure whether we should stay together or not, but I knew I couldn’t lose her. ”
Because they will go from spending much of their time together to being far apart, Porterfield and Massali tried to distance themselves from each other. They tried to not see each other as much, but according to Porterfield, that did not work.
“We talked about this summer maybe we should step back a little bit but now we have the philosophy that we will just spend as much time together as we can,” Porterfield said.
Although many of their friends told them to break up, be friends in college and get back together after college, they decided to stay together.
“I couldn’t just be friends with him,” Porterfield explained. “I can’t talk to him without having these feelings.”
Even though they are going to continue dating, they both realize there will be other guys and girls around them. However, Massali said he trusts Porterfield and knows he doesn’t need to worry about her.
“I guess I’ll have to work on letting go but not letting go completely, but letting her have her freedom,” Massali said.
“Letting go” includes not being together all the time. The first week apart is going to be the hardest according to both Porterfield and Massali, but they hope all the distractions at school will make it easier. In the end, Massali thinks the long distance will be good for their relationship.
“Once it is all said and done after college, [having a long distance relationship] will definitely bring us closer together,” Massali said.
Paige and Jack
The age old adage “if its meant to be, its meant to be” has kept many relationships strong and has brought many people together. But what happens when “meant to be” is eight hours apart? For senior Paige Vondemkamp and Rockhurst High School senior Jack Keller, this question led to their decision to split up when they attend college this fall, after dating since the spring of 2008. According to Vondemkamp, they have known for a while they were going to split up because of the distance of their respective schools.
“We have kind of known that we probably weren’t going to stay together in college,” Vondemkamp explained. “If we went to closer schools, then I think we would definitely stay together, but since our schools are like eight hours away, its kind of unrealistic to date in college.”
Although they will physically be far away, Vondemkamp at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. and Keller at Belmont University in Nashville, Ten., they are still going to remain close. According to Keller, they will talk all the time and when they come home on breaks, they will spend time together. Because they will remain close, the choice to get back together is there if they do not like being apart.
“If we end up not liking it after a month or two [in college], we can then get back together because we have been talking the whole time and staying close,” Keller explained.
Even though they will remain close by talking and seeing each other on breaks, according to Vondemkamp, physically being apart in college will still be difficult.
“I think for me its like losing my best friend kind of,” Vondemkamp said. “It’s just going to be hard not having that one person I can always depend on and just kind of being on my own.”
However, Vondemkamp is going to Arkansas with some of her friends who will be there if she wants to talk about her relationship with Keller. According to Vondemkamp, her decision to split with Keller was a factor in deciding to room with STA senior Rachel Edmonds at Arkansas. Edmonds is also splitting up with a long-term boyfriend for college.
“I thought it would be really good because we will be going through the same thing,” Vondemkamp said. “If I do get upset, I think she will be really understanding and I can do the same thing for her if it’s ever an issue.”
Although Keller will not have the same support system Vondemkamp will have, he feels he has nothing to worry about. According to Keller, their relationship has been easy with few problems. Keller believed the decision to split up was best because he had reservations about long distance relationships.
“There is too much that can go wrong with long distance relationships in college,” Keller said.
While they will not know how this split will affect them or whether they will get back together until they go to college this fall, Vondemkamp said she is trying to stay positive about it and think of it as a learning experience.
“I think it will be good just since we are so used to being together, I will just get to figure out more about myself,” Vondemkamp said. “I guess we will just have to see if it ends up being positive or negative.”