What I Learned From Long Distance
It seem like more and more of my friends nowadays are deciding to take the plunge and getting into long distance relationships. I feel as if my generation and the advancements in technology have made long distance relationships a lot more tolerable than what they used to be. FaceTime makes it easy to at least see each other occasionally, texting makes it easy to constantly be in contact, etc. Long distance relationships are almost a bit normal at this day and age and since it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a long distance relationship, I thought it might be fun and insightful to share my experience with it.
My Backstory With Long Distance
Edwin and I “met” through a mutual friend, Aryana, my freshman year of college. I was sitting in her dorm as she was FaceTiming him when she left the room and told me I should talk to him. Nearly 5 years later, I moved across the country to be closer to him and to see more of the world. Now, it should be noted that Edwin and I formed a very strong, open communication friendship during the first 3 years of knowing each other which is probably the reason our relationship is so strong.
A lot of my friends idolize our relationship even though no relationship is perfect. Not even ours. We bicker and we get on each other’s nerves and we have things we both need to work on but at the end of the day, our love for each other, our friendship, and our desire to help, protect, and watch the other succeed far outweighs any little disagreement. It should also be noted it took a really long time to get to such a secure point in our relationship. I’m an emotional rollercoaster at all times and was constantly paranoid that any of my little slip ups might lead him to break up with me. I knew Edwin was the one for me when he saw me breakdown mentally and beat myself down, still chose to love me and see the great parts of me, and helped build me back up to a stronger, constantly evolving version of myself.
Having the opportunity to live near each other (a mere 15 minute drive) has helped us grow and explore and has been so much healthier for our relationship. I feel like if I can offer you one piece of advice before you decide to commit to a long distance relationship it’s this: make sure the other person is your best friend. Make sure you trust them with all your heart because if you don’t trust the other person 100% your relationship will not last.
Everything That Sucks About Long Distance
So let’s go over everything that makes long distance a massive pain in the arse.
Being Around Other Couples
I feel like this is even worse than being around couples when you’re single because you’ve got a special someone but they’re never there. Edwin and I always saw each other for major events (graduations, weddings, etc.) but sometimes you just want to go see a movie together or go grab a drink with friends and you can’t. And it sucks.
Figuring Out When You’ll See Each Other
Edwin and I dealt with a case of extreme long distance (AZ to FL). There was no driving one state over or driving a few hours to another town. We had to strategically buy cheap plane tickets and ask for time off of work. This can get really expensive and stressful. Not to mention that saying goodbye can be absolutely gut wrenching. I remember the first time I had to say good bye to Edwin at the airport and it just ripped my heart apart. As the years went on I got a little bit better about waiting to cry until I was past security but it always sucked.
Trying To Figure Out How You’re Going to Move
If you’ve been long distance for some time and you’re sure it’s something you want to commit to, deciding how and when you’re going to move can be daunting and stressful. Who’s moving to who? When is the best time? Can you manage it financially? It can get overwhelming very fast. I know for me it caused some of the worst anxiety and started a lot of fights between me and my mom - even thought it eventually worked out.
Everything Great About Long Distance
Believe it or not, there’s a lot of great things about long distance. Allow me to elaborate.
You Grow Together and as Individuals
I know you could do this while you’re not long distance (and you should) but there’s something about having actual distance between you that pushes you. For example, Edwin was 3 hours behind me so while I would say good night, he’d still be able to study, work out, and go out if he wanted to. He didn’t have to worry about anyone but himself. It forced me to spend more time with my friends because I used to be the kind of girl that would only spend time with her boyfriend which is unhealthy. As much as not seeing each other sucked, it worked for us during that time in our lives.
The Time You Spend Together is so Special
Yes, you might go months without seeing each other but when you do get to see each other it’s so special and you treasure those moments. I remember bear hugging Edwin when I’d get off the plane and our tradition of grabbing In-n-Out immediately after. I used to have the bad habit of getting sad about leaving before my trip was even over - don’t do that lol. I loved getting to spend time with Edwin in Arizona and being able to stay up late and watch movies and go grab dinner. I don’t know, it just made all the seemingly mundane things about a relationship so much more special to me.
You Get To Travel
In my case, the distance was an extreme. Living on opposite sides of the country meant having to fly a lot and I loved it. The first time I flew on a plane by myself was during my college program so I could see Edwin and I was terrified. But, I did it! And now I love traveling by myself. I’ve always loved airports and the fact that I got to travel and see my special someone and experience apart of the world that was completely different from Florida was so refreshing.
You’re Forced to Work on Your Communication Skills
Edwin has always been really good at reading my face and my body language and can tell what I’m saying even when I don’t say it. It’s even better now that we’re near each other. Having a partner that knows you, that tries to understand you, that wants to communicate with you, that wants to grow is so critical to the health of your relationship. I used to be the absolute worst at communicating. I hated any sort of confrontation and hated talking about the future or any big issues. Eventually I realized that I was going to have to get over that if I wanted to have a healthy relationship.
What I Learned
In my opinion there’s a lot of good things that outweigh the bad things but, again, that all comes back to your partner. The only way you’re going to be able to tolerate all the crappy things about long distance is if you wake up every day and make the conscious decision that your partner is worth every single ounce of struggle. Sometimes the choice comes naturally and without question. Sometimes the harsh reality is that we can’t handle it.
I’ll be honest - Edwin and I broke up just a few months after we started dating. I had just gotten out of a long and toxic relationship, I had just sworn off relationships, and I wasn’t mentally in a place where I could handle the pressure that I was putting on myself. We didn’t speak for three months while I worked on myself. I had to be without him for months and try and convince myself I made the right decision until I realized that I missed my best friend and was ready to try again. And he took me back without question and we have been stronger ever since.
Everyone’s story plays out differently. Every partner is different. Every situation is unique. But if you give your 100% into any relationship, you’d be surprised at the wonderful things that might come. Do I think long distance relationships are for everyone? No. Would I want to do it again? Nope. Would I if I have to? Of course. You should always want the best for your partner no matter what.
I hope you guys enjoyed today’s post. I love getting to write Advice posts since I feel they’re a little more relevant for some my friends. If you’re going through long distance or have gone through it before, leave some comments down below about how you cope or copped with it and what you learned from it. It always fascinates me to see what others learn through their experiences.
The Honest Pisces