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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Nicholas Sparks has girls everywhere convinced that every long-distance relationship is a fairytale.

In The Notebook, Allie moves out of town and even years later comes back to Noah to rekindle their love. Savannah and John exchange lengthy love letters while he’s overseas in Dear John. While we’re all addicted to these fantasy love stories, that’s all they are—fantasies. A real long-distance relationship faces a lot more hardships than our favorite characters do.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t want a long-distance relationship in college. Why would I purposely cause myself that impending heartache at the end of the summer? Fast forward a year-and-a-half later and we’re still together. Long-distance relationships are hard, but every heart-breaking goodbye or late-night phone call is worth it.

Most days will be okay. It’ll just be an average day in life; working, hanging out with friends, going to class. Even on the okay days, you’ll think of them often. You’ll go get groceries and see their favorite candy and think “I’m going to buy this to surprise them!” and then painfully remember it’ll be a month until you see them next.

Time apart feels like a lifetime and time together feels like three seconds. If you could be a superhero, your superpower would be to control time because all you really want to do is fast forward all the time. You’ll turn into a pro at finding things to keep yourself occupied and finding a distraction rather than watching the clock all the time. The moment they leave, you’ll cry and feel heartbroken each time. It never gets easier.

Get used to falling asleep on the phone, Skype or texting. You’ll cling on to every word and every time your phone screen lights up because hearing their voice makes you happier than anything. But get used to the “I’ve had a long day, maybe another night?” or the “I’m going to be later than I thought leaving work, I’m sorry” lines, too, because life does go on whether you’re apart or together.

You will question yourself and your relationship a lot. “Can I even survive another month apart?” You know you can, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts or feelings. There are a lot of other practical questions you have to discuss often; “When are you free next? Are you going to come here or am I going to come there?” Finding the time to visit is a part-time job in itself. You can’t visit every weekend like you want to because of other factors like work and money. On those occasional visits, you’ll learn to cherish every moment. You’ll try to memorize the way they smell and their laugh so you can pull out the memories when you need those most.

Sometimes, your friends won’t be as supportive as you want or expect them to be. They’ll ask if your boyfriend is even real, why you don’t just date someone you can see every day or why you won’t go to frat parties on Friday nights. Others don’t take the “Sorry, I’m in a relationship” line easy, either. They’ll ask you “Where they at, though?” and you’ll have to lie and tell them they’re coming to pick you up now and they better walk away before they get there.

Long-distance relationships make your heart heavy. You can’t be there for them when they need you and they can’t run and give you a hug even if you desperately need them. Don’t give up your relationship for anything. Don’t give up because making the distance work is hard. Don’t give up because it’s easier to give up. What they don’t tell you about long-distance relationships is you’ll feel heartbroken some days, but you have a fulfilling feeling knowing that your person is waiting to see you again. Excitement will build because you know every time you see each other, it’s like nothing has ever changed. A long-distance relationship will test you, but you know if you can survive the distance, your relationship will be able to survive anything life throws at it.

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