What I've Learned from my LDR

Whether you’ve been in a long distance relationship yourself, have known a friend in one, or make your opinions on them based purely off of movies, there is one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to this type of relationship: they are HARD.

Many collegiettes know this struggle, including myself, and how difficult it can be to manage a long distance relationship when you are states, or even countries in my case, apart from your significant other. Here’s what I’ve learned so far throughout the course of my ongoing LDR.

In order for a LDR to work, you have to remain your own person and pursue your own goals.

Depending on the physical distance between you and your partner, you may get to see them perhaps every month, every other month, or even every 3-4 months -- the latter was typically my situation, as my significant other is a German citizen. The amount of time that you have to spend apart from your partner, while not preferable for anyone in an LDR, is so important and critical for your self development and improvement, especially in college years.

Although I dreaded having to spend months without seeing my partner, and I much prefer in-person dates over Skype calls, I’ve always made sure to spend the time apart in a productive manner, especially since I had a 6 hour European time difference working against me. Instead of spending my evenings with my boyfriend, I would be meeting with friends, reading, or working out at the gym, all while he would be fast asleep over an ocean away.

When it comes to being in an LDR, you have to remember the person you were before you entered the relationship and continue to work towards the goals you’ve set for yourself. This is something that’s very hard to remember, especially when first starting the long distance phase of your relationship. Trust me, by keeping yourself busy, making time to pursue your hobbies, and continuing to develop new friendships outside of your relationship, it will make all of the difference in maintaining your life, confidence, and interests when apart from your partner.

Besides, by keeping busy and slaying your goals, you become even more attractive to your SO, and who wouldn’t want that?

It’s okay to make goals that take into consideration your long distance relationship.

In college, it’s hard to make decisions based on anyone but yourself, especially when it comes to your future goals and plans. We’re pressured by parents, friends, and mentors to make and establish goals for ourselves that only take into consideration what is best for us, as I’ve found that people generally look down upon college age girls planning some of their goals around their partner. The reasoning is often that we are too young, we have the whole world in front of us, and my favorite *insert eye roll,* "if it’s meant to be it will.

I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I, frankly, don’t agree with the last statement. Relationships, especially LDR relationships, are draining. They consume a lot of your time, emotions and effort. BUT, that’s the stuff that makes the relationship work and worth it. Without all of the effort required for LDRs, they simply won’t work when hundreds to thousands of miles away from your SO.

While it’s different for everyone, I don’t have a problem with altering some of my future plans to fit in with the ideas and goals that I’ve discussed with my partner. I think that in any lasting relationship it’s crucial that both partners sacrifice and do as much for each other as they can, what I like to think of as 60/40 relationships. If you’re already in a LDR, chances are you know the feeling of working your current schedule and future plans around when you can talk and see your partner next.

There’s reasons that long distance relationships are still a thing and why there are so many successful ones! It’s all about taking and giving, and to my fellow collegiettes in LDRs, don’t feel pressured by others to exclude your SO from your future goals/plans. Besides, doesn’t it sound great to take on your most ambitious goals with the person you love the most always supporting you and having your back? That’s what I call #winning.

Not everyone has to approve of your LDR.

If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard someone disapprove of my LDR, and most times even right to my face, I could probably honestly afford a semester’s worth of tuition at AU. In times like these, instead of getting really upset and calling my partner in tears, I took it as a compliment with a grain of salt. LDRs aren’t for everyone, and the fact that my partner and I have spent the majority of our relationship apart until 2018, and are very happy together, gives me an enormous amount of confidence in not only my relationship, but also myself.

Think about it, we see a lot of people naturally turn away from the idea of long distance relationships for mostly selfish reasons. Sure, I don’t get to see my partner as often as other couples living in the same city, and sometimes I don’t get to spend important occasions with him, such as birthdays or holidays. Often while apart, he can’t be there in person for me when I am going through difficult times. BUT, it’s one of the best feelings in the world to know that even with the distance this person is still committed to you, and that they know their love for you can survive long periods of time without being in the same location as you. It really is true that the time spent apart from my SO can’t even compare to the feelings of happiness when I’m reunited with him -- talk about the light at the end of the tunnel!

 

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned within the last 18 months, and I really do believe that my LDR has been the best thing that’s happened to me, cheesiness aside. Without him, I wouldn’t have the constant love, support, and encouragement that he provides me on a daily basis. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him.

A final word of advice to my fellow collegiettes: don’t let the thought of pursuing an LDR scare you, instead let it empower you! Not that any of us need a partner to be successful, accomplished, and happy women, but if you’ve already got a keeper, don’t be afraid to go the distance. I promise you that it’s so worth it in the end!

 

(Photo Credits: Cover1, 2, 3)  

 

Kaidlyne is a junior at American University and is currently taking a gap semester to pursue 2 internships at consulting firms in Nuremberg, Germany. When she isn't writing for Her Campus, you can find her exploring European cities, spending time with her new friends abroad, or reading her latest self-improvement book.

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