Long Distance Relationships: the Downsides & the Benefits

Being in any kind of relationship is going to have its ups and downs, but being in long distance relationship is a whole new experience. As a survivor of the long-distance relationship for almost all of freshman year now, I’ve picked up on some of the good and bad aspects of the process. Of course, every relationship is different, but here’s my take.  

The Downsides:

You’re going to miss them.

Sure, it sounds obvious, but it’s a whole new level of missing someone when you love them as much as you do and can’t be with them in person. It’s going to be even worse when they have a busy day and you don’t: when they are out having fun doing lots of things and you’re just sitting around doing your work and not getting a response. That’s hard to deal with and can lead to jealousy or anger. The key is to remember to be empathetic. Understand that when you’re out having a good day, you’re not ignoring your significant other, but you sometimes just need to put your phone away. And that’s okay.

You’ll worry.

If your significant other is a partier, or even if they’re not, you’ll still find yourself worrying about if they’re okay in certain situations. When you know that they’re going out and you don’t get a text for some time, you may start to worry that something happened to them. Or you’ll know they’re sick and be unable to do anything to help, resulting in worry. Whatever the situation, the odds of you being worried about your significant other are high. But just because you’re worried, doesn’t mean things are actually wrong. It just means you care and want the best for them.

Saying goodbye is going to be really hard.

Every time you have to say goodbye, it’s hard to not focus on how long it’s going to be until you see them again. Maybe it’ll get easier, maybe not—either way it’s never going to be a breeze. You love this person and having to walk away from seeing them in person is a hard thing to do. But remember: it’s hard, not impossible.

The Benefits:

You’ll appreciate your time together more than before.

Sure, you liked spending the weekend together when you lived nearby, but now a weekend together is even more of a treat. The rarity of the situation makes it easier to appreciate the time you get to spend together, no matter the amount. You’ll also learn to appreciate your significant other more when then make the trip to see you. Long trip or not, travelling is always a hassle, and the fact that your significant other is willing to go through that hassle for you is really meaningful. You’ll soon learn that any time spent together is time to be grateful for.

You’ll get to be your own person.

Not that your significant other is a restriction by any means but being on your own at college is a good experience to have. You have to learn and grow on your own sometimes, and that doesn’t mean your significant other is in the way—it simply means sometimes you need time for yourself and experiences of your own, and that’s totally normal. You shouldn’t feel guilty for putting your phone away and getting better acquainted with your college and yourself. It’s always important to be able to be your own person even if you have a significant other whom you value.

You’ll learn a lot.

The odds are you’ll learn a lot from the experience. You’ll learn how to carry on a relationship through Skype, how to be more open, how to be patient, and more. Something I have found to be useful in a long-distance relationship is speaking your mind and doing what you want. If you’re feeling really appreciative of your significant other, send them a quick text and let them know. These seemingly small messages are a great way to both remind your significant other you care as well as feel content in your relationship. You’ll learn more as you go, sometimes the hard way, but taking your new knowledge and using it to your advantage will prove useful in the long run.

Long-distance relationships can be hard, but if you’re willing to tough it out, you’ll find yourself more grateful than you were before. And if you decide not to stick it out, there’s no shame in that: a long-distance relationship isn’t for everyone. And if it is for you, then don’t worry too much about it—and don’t feel like you have to fit the LDR mold: it’s your relationship!