Going the Distance

I know what you’re thinking, long distance relationships are destined for failure. Don’t get me wrong, I was a skeptic as well until I found myself in one. I am not going to promise you that every long distance relationship will succeed, and I am not going to sugarcoat the truth. I will share with you my experience of being in a long distance relationship, and how I deal with the struggles that follow.

I met my boyfriend in Nashville, Tennessee. After my freshman year in college, I decided to make a major life change. I put college on hold for a year and moved to Nashville to live with my sister. My roommate, sister and I moved into a small apartment for the summer. Once we were finally moved in and had the apartment set up, we decided to throw a housewarming party for ourselves. Since I had only been in the city for a few months, my sister and roommate were in charge of the invites, and my roommate had a special guy in mind for me to meet. I was reluctant to date because I planned to return to college the coming fall semester.

The night of the party came around, hours passed but the guy was still a no show. It wasn’t until all our guests left that he showed up, late as always. He claims that when he first saw me, he knew that he had to date me. I stood firm on my decision to not date and did my best to ignore his interest. For the rest of the summer, he proceeded to invite himself to the pool knowing that I would be there. We chatted by the poolside every day about anything and everything. He was going to school for music. As a music enthusiast myself, I was captivated by his life as a pianist, which was so different from my mundane life.

After some convincing and major contemplating on my part, I decided to go on a date with him. We went to trendy, young restaurant close to his college. Stupidly, I ordered sushi and lettuce wraps, which you assembled yourself. I was a total mess and he couldn’t stop talking, desperate to fill the awkward silence. It wasn’t the perfect date, but I found myself interested. We remained friends for the rest of the summer and continued to hangout. By August I was set to leave for UNC, and he would remain in Nashville. He had become one of my best friends in the city, and I just couldn’t shake the idea of not letting him go. We came to the mutual decision that we were going to give the long distance thing a shot.

Trust me when I say that I am not a relationship expert, however, I will offer a few words of advice that have helped our relationship survive the distance.

Communication is the greatest determining factor of a lasting long distance relationship. When it comes down to it, FaceTime becomes your best friend. My boyfriend and I FaceTime, text and call each other whenever we have free time. As a natural introvert, I am not a big talker but he does well to fill the space. Try to steer clear of superficial conversations such as “what’s the weather like.” These can get boring and repetitive, so try to think of deeper, meaningful conversations. Finally, try to be understanding when the other is not available to talk. As a musician, my boyfriend is always busy and often has late nights where I go to bed without talking to him. Sometimes, I do lose sight and get upset when we don’t talk at night, but I try to remind myself that he wants to talk to me as badly as I want to hear from him.

We don’t get to see each other often, about once or twice during each semester, but when we do we fall right back into rhythm. Understand that it might be a little awkward when you see each other, but this feeling is normal and will pass quickly. This might be cliché, but it also helps that I date my best friend.

Independence is also a key factor in surviving the distance. My boyfriend and I live our lives independently of each other. I imagine us as two lines where instead of the lines colliding they run parallel alongside of each other. Maybe this just comes from being apart, but I believe our relationship has been a success because of it.

Finally and most importantly, do not go to bed mad or upset. I am the biggest culprit of this, and he always has to remind me of it. I hate talking about my feelings, but if you are like me try not to keep them bottled up because they will get out eventually and it might get ugly. Trust me when I say this, you will feel a whole lot better in the morning if you just talk it out.

We have survived more than a year and a half of long distance. As a skeptic I had my concerns, but if the person is worth it then don’t hesitate. The two of you will find your own rhythm. We have learned to grow on our own but remain each other's support system. Long distance relationships can work; don’t be too afraid to try.