7 Truths About 7 Months

For four years, during my stint at Hamline University, my partner has lived 1,500 miles away at his own university. Long distance relationships are incredibly hard. Up until now, my partner and I haven’t even had a weekend-long visit in seven months (the longest we’ve been apart since I started university). Being long-distance is one thing, but being apart this long is another level entirely. Whether you’ve experienced a situation like this or not,, here’s seven truths for seven months of being apart:

I get more done.

Sometimes, I tell people that being in a long-distance relationship is a lot like being single, at least day-to-day. Especially, the busier my partner gets in his own career, the more some days feel like I’ve just got myself to worry about. However, sometimes this means I get a lot more done. Without my partner around distracting me with (albeit enjoyable) Netflix sessions, I do more work, hit the gym, spend more time with my cat, and still have time for a bath at the end of the day. Usually, this isn’t at all worth the struggle of being separated, but in the final semester of college, this is the best time for it to happen.

I’m a better friend.

Being long-distance has given me a great appreciation for the little things and has heightened my ability to be, at risk of being cheesy, honest with people about the fact that I care. I routinely send my partner letters, gifts, and reminders that he’s cared for because it’s hard to remember that sometimes when you’re not bumping into each other at the bathroom sink. However, in seeing him less these past seven months, I’ve relied more on my friends to provide me with that connection face-to-face, and I’ve been better at turning some of my affection to them. Romantically or not, people flourish with support and love — and spoiling my friends for a bit instead of just my partner has been a nice reminder of that.

Red eye flights are worth it.

Sometimes, when we visited on a monthly basis, the constant red-eye flights in and out of town were exhausting. A lot of times, I’d land at 6:00 am before a 9:00 class. It’s grueling. First, I’d have to prepare all my work in the week before (because you don’t fly three hours away to do homework once you land). Second, I’d be arriving so early Monday morning that I’d start the week off-kilter, tired and under prepared. However, every time I landed, I knew it was worth the journey, but nothing brings that into focus like being away for seven months.

I take less for granted.

Knowing what it’s like to be separated from someone, I am aware of every moment. I try, at least, to realize that it’s not always going to be as easy as organizing a brunch date to see all the people around me. I realize that people seem like constant parts of life until they have to be far away (or are gone entirely).

There’s always going to be someone to fly to.

For the past four years, anticipating graduation was the end of the flying constantly and the waiting to see someone I loved again in-person, but approaching graduation now and preparing to move away from my local friends and Midwestern family, I know that even if I’m moving to him, there’s always going to be people to fly to.

I miss him (more than I let myself think about).

Long distance is hard. It gets easier when I pour focus into work, myself, or my friends. I can go a week where I stay goal-oriented, relish a dinner out with friends, and work through the slog of senior year and never feel that ache of missing someone, but when I think about our kitchen or him singing “I Will Survive” at an octave that shouldn’t be possible for an adult male: I wanna cry. I do cry, sometimes. It’s incredibly hard to miss out on those little moments.

The magic is in the mundane.

It’s easy to feel romantic about long-distance relationships. I love stationary and care packages and have sent many an extravagant package to my partner. On paper, it sounds romantic to be longing and anticipating that hug in baggage claim of the airport (and it is), but it’s nothing compared to passing post-it notes under the bathroom door while he poops and hearing his giggle. The best moments of a relationship aren’t always the most romantic, they are the mundane things that make you think that everyday with the same weirdo wouldn’t be too bad, in fact, you’d have it no other way.