Long distance romance sucks. It could be compared to being trapped in limbo; counting down the days until you see them again, falling asleep clinging to that picture of their face you keep as your lock screen. You hug yourself tightly under a weighted blanket in the desperate hope that it might replace the missing presence of your long lost love. However, despite the obvious lack of a physical connection, long distance doesn’t have to be as hopeless as many people make it out to be.
Long distance can create communication in any relationship where it was previously lacking, it is the backbone to keeping a long distance relationship alive. Without the actual presence of your lover, phone calls, snapchat, texts, video calls and even handwritten love notes (if you’re feeling extra romantic) are vital to keeping the spark alive. It makes sense that couples struggle when they’re apart; without previous experience in this situation or a good foundation of communication, there is barely a relationship.
But the distance can also develop conversation where there wasn’t any. Long distance forces you to rely on communication to keep the spark alive, forcing individuals to have an open dialogue with their partner. Perhaps this is why long distance doesn’t work for so many people but for me, it opened my eyes. Making an active effort to communicate your feelings can even enhance a relationship once you are back together again. You can’t rely on hand squeezes, long hugs and spontaneous steamy nights when you’re thousands of miles away. Words have to suffice.
Pointless bickering is completely normal. Long distance can make conflict resolution that much harder, especially when the typical solution isn’t tangible. Miscommunication can also be a common issue. When an individual is forced to rely on emotional cues over text, things often don’t make sense. This doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed or that your partner has suddenly become evil, it just means that there needs to be a new method of dealing with a fight. You need to be able to the difference between frustrated nitpicking and a deal breaking problem. Not to discount real reasons to break up; it’s important to understand if what is actually being fought about is a real conflict before making a concrete decision.
Long distance also gives you time to form your own relationships and hobbies. Many people who have been in a relationship for a long time fall into ruts. You hang out with the same people, you do the same things, you eat the same things. When you’re forced out into the world all alone, you have to fend for yourself. Long distance can often recreate the same self-healing process that many people attempt to complete when single.
For the person moving away, start a new hobby, find a new friend group and explore a new place. This decision was important to you so make the most of it. For the person being left behind, the experience can often be more difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Find new in the old and take part in some self-care. There is nothing wrong with being independent.
Love is a choice
To be in love and in a relationship is a choice. People fall in love with people every day. Sometimes people realize they have feelings and choose to act on it. This is how a relationship works. But that decision to be in a relationship is an active choice. That decision to love someone back is a choice. With long distance, it is so easy to just break up, deal with heartbreak and move on. However, long distance is also the best for making it clear who is worth waiting and working for. Sometimes leaving is all that is needed to fully wrap your head around how you feel about someone. Unfortunately, that also means that those feelings will be excruciating until you’re back in each other’s arms.
Long distance is a big and often painful decision. Any sane person wouldn’t choose it over the experience of getting to love someone, in person, any time they want. But long distance can still serve as an important step to realizing something isn’t right or even taking things to the next level. Sometimes love is worth waiting for.