What I Learned While Being In A LDR

This summer, my boyfriend went away for a semester at sea, a three month excursion he needed to fulfill an experience requirement for his Coast Guard certification. This means he spent about 95 days on a retired cargo ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no cell phone service, and only a satellite radio service to contact home with. For about two of three months he was gone, I was working at a summer camp. But for the first month he was gone, I was just at home basically doing nothing. 

It was really hard to adjust to him being gone. I went from seeing him a few times a week and texting him almost all the time to only being able to email him a few times a day. Eventually we both got busy and those few emails a day were more than enough, but for those first few weeks it was really hard. Through that limited communication, though, I learned a few very valuable lessons. 

 

  1. Be grateful for how much communication you have. Especially since I went from tons of communication to almost none, I realized how lucky I am to be able to talk to my boyfriend so much when he is on land. Him being on the ship really complicates communication, and I missed being able to talk to him so much, so now that we’re both home, I really value our time together and how much we can talk nowadays. 

  2. Be grateful for the efforts your significant other puts in. Most of our fights/spats this summer were about not being able to talk when we planned to and such, but more than that, they were about not being understanding of the other person’s situation. We were both making great efforts and going to great lengths to talk to each other, but sometimes we forgot to be grateful for that. Gratitude is very important and sometimes just recognizing someone else’s effort will go a very long way. 

  3. Be understanding. It’s very easy to get worked up about the small problems and the frustrations of long distance, but since you aren’t with your S/O, you don’t know everything that is going on in their life. Give them a chance to explain, and be understanding of their situation. 

  4. Have an understanding before the distance begins of some ground rules or expectations. Before my boyfriend left, we set up some expectations for the duration of the distance. We said that we would talk as much as possible, be honest about our feelings, and also that we wouldn’t break up with each other while at distance. These may seem like quite obvious expectations, but they were really helpful when either of us were questioning anything. For example, if I didn’t hear from him in a while, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk to me, it’s that he wasn’t able to-- because if he didn’t want to talk to me, I would’ve known because of the honesty rule. Simple. 

Don’t let distance get in the way. If things get rough, remind yourself of what you have with your S/O when you’re together. Distance can be really hard, but I can promise you that it’s worth it.