Why Distance Doesn't Scare Me Anymore

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The night he asked me out, I was more nervous than excited. This wasn’t because I’ve had a little crush on him since my freshman year of high school and not because this was my first time being with a man *slightly* older than me—no. This was because Kevin is a Staff Sergeant the United States Air Force.

Now, I guess anyone could say I’m particularly lucky. In fact, many people already have. My boyfriend’s not stationed overseas. “Well, at least he’s only in North Carolina,” one of my friend’s said to me after he and I sealed the deal.

Only in North Carolina.

That may not seem like an intimidating place for most people. It’s a nice looking state. A place that a lot of people call home and even like to vacation in. There’s one thing about it, though, that scared me from the beginning—the distance. I live in New Jersey. A place that’s roughly an eight-hour drive from where he lives in North Carolina. For me, someone who’s never had to live more than 15 minutes away from her boyfriend, those eight hours seemed like a huge barrier. I wasn’t sure if I could really go through with it. But, like a “big girl,” so to speak, I decided that if I really felt a connection, if I really believed he was the one, then I could really give this a try—and I did.

The first month-or-so was actually the easiest. We had started dating toward the end of the summer, so he was able to visit me a lot more than we originally planned out. He vacationed with my family and I in Virginia Beach; he came to New Jersey for Labor Day weekend and we either texted or video-chatted over Skype almost every single day. But, as the summer slowly faded away and turned into a new college semester, things began to get complicated. I was growing more and more attached to him and I was really starting to wish I was with him every single night that passed us by. As our love for each other grew, the distance got harder—so much harder.

It took a toll on both of us. Many of our nights were spent having heart-heavy conversations over Skype about what it would be like to live closer to each other. There were times when fights would happen for no reason other than what seemed like not being able to see each other in person. Whenever he had a stressful day at work and all I wanted to do was be there and comfort him, I couldn’t. Whenever we were being playful and I wanted to lay down in his arms for the night, I couldn’t. Whenever times got rough and I needed an in-person connection to make me feel better, he couldn’t come to my side to comfort me and vice versa.

As a new couple, we were starting to get discouraged, but then we decided to do something about it.

Together, we developed a new plan for our relationship. An eight-hour drive turned into a four-hour drive to meet halfway in Maryland. A four-hour drive turned into an hour and a half flight for him to see me at my college in New York. That same hour and a half flight took me to meet him at an airport in North Carolina that was only an hour drive from his apartment. The idea of being a long-distance couple suddenly didn’t seem so bad. We were making plans to see each other. We were sacrificing extra money and time to make it work, but that was okay for both of us.

Now, roughly six months later, things are so much better. Saying goodbye never gets easier, but at least we know the next time we see each other won’t be in a couple of months, but in a couple of weeks during our next scheduled trip to Maryland. If being in a long-distance relationship has taught me anything, it’s that I don’t need to be afraid. When you make a commitment to always be there for each other, you will follow through with that commitment no matter what the cost. It’s hard to not always have your boyfriend by your side, but you know he’s always there in spirit.

Kevin and I have made promises to each other. We’ve talked about our goals and planned out when we will and won’t see each other. Like a true romantic, he writes me love stories that highlight the most important things that have happened in our relationship. He sends me flowers during midterms. He video-chats me over Skype after I get home from my internship and classes—sometimes with a surprise bedtime story or song thrown into the mix. He’s made every effort to take care of me. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well, and I’ve been returning the favor.

Yes, distance does take work. Yes, distance does take a little more out of you than a normal relationship. But no, distance does not have to be scary, and I’m not afraid anymore.