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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Why My Long-Distance Relationship Is Worth the Effort

By Phoebe McGowan

My whole adolescence I wanted a boyfriend. I was boy crazy, searching for my true love. Finally, during the second semester of my senior year of high school, I got what I wanted. He was cute and sweet––a perfect first boyfriend that you can make all your mistakes with and be glad that it taught you so much.

Still, he was a year younger than me, and while we liked each other oh-so very much, we thought the idea of long-distance was silly. The summer before I left Milwaukee for St. Paul, he and I talked about how ridiculous it was to think long-distance was possible. We laughed at other couples’ naivety. Neither of us explicitly said that we did not want to try long-distance, but it was clear we both thought those kinds of relationships were pointless. Fast forward to the day I left. We continued to make plans to see each other once a month, and that year ended up being my first time experiencing long-distance. 

Despite not being able to see each other as much, our relationship grew and we fell in love. While some warning signs of toxicity in the relationship bubbled up, we were very happy that year. But I was ready for long-distance to be over.

The question of where he would be going to college the following year gave me a lot of anxiety. I didn’t want to lose him, but he really wanted to do a gap year in Germany. I wasn’t very supportive in this goal of his, and when he didn’t get accepted into the program I tried to persuade him to come to Minnesota. He decided to go to the University of St. Thomas, and I was so excited. We’d never have to say goodbye again! How wrong I was. He ended up resenting me and broke up with me in the first two weeks of the semester. I was heartbroken and spent the year experiencing a melancholy I had never known. We went on and off that entire year, before finally called it quits in April 2016.

That summer I went home and was afraid for what was to come. But I had someone in mind back home that I hoped I’d be able to have some summer fun with––which lead me to my second and current long-distance relationship. Steve* was someone I had had deep feelings for before I got together with my last boyfriend. We have been best friends since high school, but had never been in the same mindset to get together, and ended up dating other people. Within a week, we had kissed and talked about what we wanted. The summer went on and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time together, and then I went to England and missed him incredibly. I was calling him my boyfriend by the time I got back.

We have been long-distance for a year now. I go back for winter and summer break, and he visits me whenever he can. This relationship is so different from my last because we FaceTime often and show each other what we’re doing on Snapchat. This makes it easier to feel close but it is still quite torturous being far away.

I definitely didn’t plan on doing long-distance even once, and certainly not twice…but I don’t want to be with anyone else. We are in a very healthy and loving relationship, and I expect it will last a long time. I see this time apart as a chance to get to know myself, to be alone during my college experience, and to take back the year I spent being on-and-off with someone who was wrong for me. I’m a senior now, and I don’t know where I’ll be next year. I hope it will be somewhere near Steve, but if not, we will work something out. He’s worth the wait. 

*Name has been changed