It’s another special night with your significant other and the mood is just right. Candles are flickering, the food smells wonderful and there’s no one else you’d rather be with. Just as you’re about to acknowledge how great your date looks, your date completely freezes and you can’t understand a word being uttered. Then you realize your wireless Internet connection has failed on you once again. When you’re in a long distance relationship, date nights on Skype are just something you have to accept. Being hundreds of miles apart can be extremely difficult, but many couples enjoy the perks of using webcams to compensate for the distance.
Many students who live out of state and are unable to visit home often utilize webcam services such as Skype, ooVoo, iChat and FaceTime. Not only are these programs free of charge, they also provide something a phone call can’t—the sight of the caller’s face. Those who have the luxury of going home on weekends or live within close proximity of friends and loved ones may take this for granted. San Diego State civil engineering sophomore Braneo Labasan had a firsthand take on both sides. He and his girlfriend, SDSU accounting sophomore Staci Sakuma, have the pleasure of seeing each other on a daily basis because they live together on campus. However, at one point, Labasan, who is originally from Carson and Sakuma, who resided in San Jose, were forced to rely heavily on webcams while apart last summer. For this couple, the lack of physical interaction was aided by technology and ultimately helped them survive until fall.
“It definitely did help a lot, because, honestly, I think we would’ve broken up if we didn’t stay as connected as we did,” Labasan said. Transitioning from daily face-to-face contact to using webcams twice a week was difficult for the couple, but they pulled through with a little help from Skype.
For other couples, webcams may not be a crucial factor in the success of the relationship, but rather a supplement. For SDSU dance freshman Samantha Dorman, who has been with her Los Angeles beau, Jesse Lopez, for 2 years, claims how although webcamming has helped their relationship become stronger, without it their feelings for each other would still prevail. However, Dorman believes video conferencing has its disadvantages as well.
“It’s still not the real person there with you and Internet connection could also be a problem when attempting to web chat,” Dorman said. Seeing your significant other through a pixelated screen can only go so far. It can almost be a tease when you’re able to see them, but their hands aren’t available to reach and hold.
A screen view doesn’t compare to seeing someone in person, but couples who are miles apart have learned something is better than nothing. SDSU graphic design sophomore Amy Wong says webcamming with her boyfriend, who goes to the University of California, is a luxury.
“It’s a little taste of how happy I’ll be the next time I get to physically be with him,” Wong said. Although webcams have been a great factor to the success of their relationship, this couple sees it as enrichment rather than the sole contributor of their survival.
For long distance couples, just because you can’t physically be with your sweetheart doesn’t mean you can’t keep romance alive. To keep sparks flying on screen and off, have a “Skype date” with your partner and approach it as if it was the real deal. Set a specific time to “meet” and spruce up a little. You might be able to get away with wearing a pair of sweatpants since they can only see above your waist. Nevertheless, dress to impress and encourage your date to do the same. Order your usual favorites from the take-out menu of the same restaurant and share the meal together via webcam. You’ll soon forget about your Internet connection and focus on your love connection in no time.