Long-distance relationships are challenging, and before smartphones, they were even more difficult. I know this quite well, as do many college students. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship since September 2015, and it’s my longest relationship to date.

With Skype, texting and FaceTime, it’s easier than ever to stay touch with the person you’re seeing.

“Millennials crave more realistic ways of connecting with their lovers when distance stands in the way of physical contact,” according to an article on mashable.com, a multi-platform media, news and entertainment website.

I read that sentence a few times and still wasn’t sure what the author meant by “realistic.” When I text my girlfriend, it feels like I’m texting a real person, though when I Skype I do feel more connected. We can see each other. Seeing the person you’re talking to makes all the difference in the world.

Seeing my girlfriend’s smile when I call her on Skype makes me happier, and makes our relationship better. We feel like we’re together, even though we’re 800 miles apart.

Technology hasn’t just increased the likelihood of meeting someone online, according to Wendy Walsh, a relationship expert, according to mashable.com.

“Tech has certainly increased the number of LDRs because of the explosion of online dating and the likelihood that a match will live way outside of your zip code,” Walsh said in the article on mashable.com.

I’m not ashamed to say that I met my girlfriend online. I know people who have done the same. In our increasingly tech-centered lives, it should come as no surprise to people that a relationship can start on the Internet rather than seeing someone from across the room.

I’ve been pleased to notice a decrease in the stigma attached to online dating over the past few years.

Long-distance relationships are easier than they used to be. Writing love letters and talking on the phone used to be the primary way of keeping in contact with your partner. That doesn’t mean these things are obsolete. My girlfriend sent me a love letter just last week. Perhaps it’s the romantic side of me, but I loved it. There’s something authentic about cursive writing and hearts on an envelope.

That’s not an indictment of things like Skype and texting because we rely on those means to stay in contact as well. The authenticity of letters and phone calls are a nice supplement to our Wi-Fi world.

In the article, Wash said: “Our brains communicate with far more than words… We unconsciously communicate through touch, smell, body language, vocal tone and facial expression. Much of this is subtle and can’t be picked up via video.”

My girlfriend and I know this all too well. We met for the first time this past March over spring break when she drove all the way to Plattsburgh.

The first time I saw her in the “real world” was far better than any Skype conversation could ever replicate. Walking down the street with her, watching “How I Met Your Mother” with her and eating Buffalo Wild Wings with her in my apartment made it feel like all that Skyping and texting finally paid off.

The article outlines various apps one can use with their partner to be more intimate, but I don’t mess with them. I try to minimize the use of technology because I’m a bit of an old-fashioned soul.

The main reason I can keep on keepin’ on with my relationship is because we will be together in the fall when I start graduate school. My advice to someone else in a LDR is that if you don’t have a time in the future when you will be with that person, maybe you should reexamine the relationship.

“Apps, social media and gadgets are by no means a cure-all solution for LDRs, but they’re certainly helping millennials ease the pain of being separated from their S.O.,” the same article said.

I agree. They don’t make things easy, but they do make them easier.

Email Joseph Bochichio at joseph.bochichio@cardinalpointsonline.com

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