If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “Long distance relationships don’t work,” I would have paid off at least half my tuition ages ago. The news media itself constantly perpetuates this idea with headlines like “7 Reasons Why Your Long Distance Relationship Is Doomed” and “10 Reasons Why Long-distance Relationships Just Don’t Work,” it’s hard to have a good outlook on them.
But then there’s the few articles that are contradictions and give you a bit of hope. The Huffington Post wrote an article entitled “Why Long-Distance Relationship Never, Ever Work (Except When They Do)” and it is one of the few articles I find myself relating to.
Let me back track a bit. I am currently in a long-distance relationship and have been for a bit over two years (two years and three months to be more precise). Unfortunately, we go to different schools which are about a hour bus ride and nearly two hour train ride apart.
To be fair, we do see each other at least once a month which is more than a lot of couples in long distance relationships can say they see each other. But even during the summer breaks we both work so often and so far from each other (me in the city and him in Long Island) that it’s not we see each other much on breaks either.
So I am very familiar with the trials and tribulations of being in a long distance relationship. Our schedules are crazy busy to the point that just texting back and forth throughout the day is difficult sometimes and we only Skype or Facetime maybe once a week, if we’re lucky. We both miss each other so much it hurts and that can sometimes weigh down on us. Yet, we’re still together. For those who ask why this is the reason: I do not want to be with anyone else and I am willing to work to be with him because I love him and he’s worth it. We’re worth it.
Now that sounds like a sappy bullshit reason for staying in a long distance relationship but why else would I still be with someone who is miles and miles away from me and still be happy? This is where the Huffington Post’s article comes in. They credited prioritization, commitment, sharing, and planning with keeping a LDR successful. Basically prioritizing your partner above social commitments, committing to spending more time together, sharing your social and family worlds with each other, and planning on a future in which you won’t be long distance.
While I do agree with the sharing and planning, prioritizing and committing can be somewhat ridiculous if you are literally hundreds of miles away from each other. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t put your partner first most of the time because honestly, you should. But some people mistake prioritizing for revolving around their partner. You have to be your own independent person separate from your partner and not be afraid to not talk to them for a day or so because you know you are still thinking of each other. Also, if I were to “commit to spending more than just weekends together” I would be broke. Travel is expensive and I can spend time with him once a month and still be strong as a couple.
I’d say that the most important things are just the same as in any other relationship but even moreso when you’re long distance: honesty, communication, and understanding. You have to be honest when you don’t like something or when you do so that if problems arise it isn’t because you decided to just lie about not liking it in the past. Which brings me to communication. Communicating makes all the difference because if you aren’t on the same page and aren’t able to tell your partner anything, there’s an issue (and I don’t mean what you had for lunch or what you’re up to). And lastly, understanding that your partner is probably busy when they don’t respond to your texts or understanding that sometimes there will be other things that take priority over them Skyping you tonight. Maybe a meeting came up for work or they have to get an essay done by midnight. When all of these factors come together, you don’t need to worry that you won’t make it. You just will.