Breaking the Stigma of Long Distance Relationship

“Wow, it must be so hard.”

Undoubtedly, this is always the first thing that people say to me once they find out that I’m in a long-distance relationship. Granted, there’s truth in that statement, but not in the way that most people think.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems with decision making and commitment. These extend far beyond relationships and instead manifest themselves into most elements in my life (you don’t even want to know how difficult it was for me to decide where to go to college). I could never stick with things for too long, I got bored easily, and all in all, I wondered how much I was really getting out of being a part of something versus not. This held true for my previous relationships, all of which lasted under three months. Whether it’s some issue that seems like too much to invest energy into, or just pure boredom by the end of the relationship, they all ended quickly with minimal feelings on my end.

During my senior year of high school, my boyfriend at the time decided to ditch me right before prom. After a lot of hesitation and push back from me, I ended up going with a guy that had been in my friend group since middle school but I had never been super close to. This dance was exactly one month before we graduated and directly after graduation, I was going to live out of the state for the summer. At the end of the summer, I would have exactly one week in my home town before I would leave to go to school across the country for the next 4 years. Not to be pessimistic, but with my track record and all of this in mind, I really didn’t think I would develop feelings at all, let alone pursue a relationship with him.

It’s been almost two years since then, and I can genuinely say that all of my preconceptions have gone out the window.

So, I’ll return to the statement that I began with. The answer is yes, it is hard. It’s hard to not be able to see the person who’s your best friend. It’s hard to not be able to call him up when you just want to do something simple like getting lunch or going for a walk. It’s hard to realize the financial limitations of the situation, where being broke college kids, we can’t afford to book random flights just to see each other.

But what isn’t hard is to see that this relationship has been the most fulfilling one I’ve ever experienced.

From the beginning, we knew we were both leaving in opposite directions, and there was never any pressure from either side to define what was going on between us. There was never this strange push to be flirtatious or to be more than friends, we just naturally worked well together. To be perfectly honest, we said the big three words before we had even figured out what we were. I should warn you though, I don’t think either of us realized how serious everything was until the big scene of me catching my flight to Utah. I cried, he cried, it was the whole big dramatic thing. And after all that, we went out on a whim and decided to give it a shot.

The thing I’ve found with distance, which most people don’t seem to realize, is that when you are secure in your relationship you don’t feel this push to be a part of college hookup culture that everyone glamorizes. But at the same time, you don’t feel like you have to become this hermit that never goes out and socializes. You have your own “college memories” for you, and not involving one other person in everything. You begin to realize that going out for you, going out to have fun with your girls, or just going out to dance, is way more fun than going out in search of some random person to hook up with that night. And then at the end of the day or end of the night, you still get to come home and talk to the person you really want to.

Speaking of talking, having phone calls and FaceTime be the majority of your interactions, you begin to develop better communication skills than most traditional relationships. When you only get one phone call a night, there’s not really time to waste trying to give them the silent treatment. Of course, this doesn’t mean we never fight. Like any other couple, we have our moments. But we're never fixated on problems too long because we have the skills to talk things out, and being apart shows us how precious our time is together.

When all of these elements are the base of your relationship – communication, valuing time, confidence, trust, and individualism – it just proves that what you have is worth the wait. When people say distance is hard, that usually implies that it’s too hard to do for a long time. But I can genuinely say that nothing has been easier or required less thought than going the distance with my person.

 

 

Image credit: personal images