Navigating Long-Distance Relationships

    Relationships at any age or season of life come with many challenges, both big and small. It is an incredibly difficult transition to go from being on your own all of the time, to suddenly having the ins and outs of another person's life become part of your own. However, it can also be a wonderful change. When you have a person that you love and want to be with, you are willing to overcome anything.

    After being in a long-distance relationship myself for the past two years, I have learned a few helpful lessons along the way. Although the first couple of months of being apart were the most difficult, I believe that they helped me learn so much about myself as a person, and for that reason, I wouldn’t change a thing. One reason why is that I went from being incredibly dependent on one person every day, to finally remembering what my own independence felt like and learning how to put myself first. And although I still wish I could have spent those long and lonely days with him, it showed me that I really am capable of surviving on my own.

    While we started dating during our senior year of high school, we chose to go to separate colleges because we believed that it would be the most beneficial for us to have the opportunity to grow on our own while still being in a healthy relationship together. This path isn’t for everybody, but I truly believe that it has helped both of us discover more about ourselves and communicate with each other even better as a result of the distance. One of the most important things to remind yourself when experiencing long-distance, and something that I tell myself every time I am going through rough patches of missing him, is that if the relationship matters, the distance doesn’t. I know this doesn’t suddenly make long-distance the easiest thing in the world, or make you feel like your partner is no longer far away, but I believe that the perspective is everything because odds are, the long-distance part of your relationship isn’t permanent. It is only for a small part of your life, and afterwards, it will all be worth it.

    Some days you will feel like you can’t possibly go on another day of being away from each other, or you will experience overwhelming sadness and jealousy that people other than you get to see them every single day. Trust your partner. They wish they could spend those moments with you too, but it is knowing that they have you gets them through each and every day. At the same time, you need to allow them to build their own personal life, just as you are building your own away from them. This is a crucial part of any healthy relationship. 

    Overall, if there is any single piece of advice that I would give to couples in long-distance relationships, it is to make time for each other and talk through the hard feelings. It is so easy to overanalyze a situation and become anxious about what the other person is thinking, and the absolute best way to overcome that anxiety is to have honest conversations with your partner about what they are actually thinking. Difficult conversations can feel troublesome to bring up, but it is always better to express your feelings while they are relevant than to bottle them up and create even more worries.

    Keep your head up, you are with this person for a reason, and the distance won’t last forever.