A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend packed up his stuff, emptied out his drawer in my dresser, and left for his new home in another state. Although this wasn’t the first time we’d spent more than a few days apart, the past few months had consisted of sleepovers every weekend and seeing each other every single day, without fail. So we knew this time would be different. This time we were truly in a Long Distance Relationship.
Usually this label strikes fear into the hearts of couples – and with good reason. These past few weeks have brought the roughest rough patches I’ve been through in this relationship. But, as much as it sucks, I actually have to admit that this has taught me some pretty important lessons about love and about myself (namely that I am a whiny baby more of the time than I would like to be). So here are the most important things that this experience has taught me.
It’s Hard Work
Seems obvious, right? All relationships take work. But there is something about not being able to see your partner that makes being together extra hard. Sure, it seems like there may be some benefits; lots of me time, always getting to choose what you watch on Netflix. But after a while it just gets lonely. If you want to talk to your partner you don’t just have to look to the other end of the couch, you have to text them to check that they’re home so you can call them, or try to schedule Facetime calls around when your internet data ticks over. And even though you aren’t going on real dates anymore, it still feels like your relationship takes a thousand times more effort and planning than it did when you two lived in the same town. After a while it can seem like there’s nothing left to talk about, and there are no tickle fights or late night drives to distract you. But that’s how your relationship grows. Turning a bad situation into a new aspect of your relationship can actually be kind of exciting (if you try really hard to think positively).
Just Fight It Out
My boyfriend and I have never had a fight (though not from my lack of trying). Now, we’ve still had arguments, serious talks, and tantrum throwing (that’s on my part), but a full-blown fight has never been our style. It’s no secret that fighting is a healthy part of a relationship, but the key is finding a way to express your feelings that gets your point across but avoids hurting too many feelings. For some people this means being open and honest, and for others this means yelling at each other across the room. The tricky part about a Long Distance Relationship is that once you’re done arguing it’s really difficult to make up. You can’t go hug your partner and tell them you’re sorry. You’ve gotta find new ways to resolve issues in this kind of relationship (think lots of online shopping and sending postcards). But most of all, you have to remember the million reasons why your relationship is worth the distance.