Surviving Long Distance: There is A Positive Twist

  This summer I experienced being in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend of nine months. As this was my first time doing the whole long-distance thing, it was not until the summer actually began that I realized I would be putting much more effort, energy, and time into the relationship now that we were not at school. Over the past few months, I have been able to learn more about myself, my patterns, and communication. Being in this relationship has expanded my communication ability and taught me about human connection.

      The first thing I learned is that my intermittent anxiety would prove to affect both my thoughts about the relationship and the relationship itself. There would be many times where I felt overwhelmed or anxious solely because we had not spoken in a few hours, and from there, my anxiety would take over. I was able to open up about this to my boyfriend, and after I communicated my feelings, it made everything easier for myself. Being aware of my feelings also served as a gateway for me learning about various coping mechanisms for my waves of anxiety. Being honest about what was going on in my head made it easier for me to be calmer, and also helped my boyfriend to understand. From there, he could try to help. Ultimately, instead of bottling up these feelings and feeling crazy, I took a leap and was honest. If your significant other cares for you and the relationship, this communication will almost always be the right answer. 

      Something else I learned this summer is that how we communicate is so important. Texting does NOT cut it for us — but it might for some people! We cannot see each other's faces, emotions, expressions, and as a result, our expectations of each other’s reactions are not met. Being able to FaceTime, see his face, and hear his voice was always much better than a back-and-forth text conversation. Furthermore, he and I are not avid texters, so if we texted a few times a day and then FaceTimed at the end of the day, we always had a ton to talk about. It was great to rehash the day’s events, and I found myself looking forward to these daily calls.

      The most important lesson I learned from this long-distance relationship is that appreciating the time spent together is essential. After being used to seeing each other every day to then having to be apart for weeks was very difficult at first. However, I soon realized that it was only true that the time spent apart made the days together all the more special. Every little thing became huge, and I looked forward to four days as if it were a month. 

As much as I hate to admit it, (because, of course, long-distance is not ideal at all) being in this long-distance relationship taught me more than I ever thought would be possible, and I truly think I know myself better than ever.