Long-distance relationships are typically thought of as difficult at best. Many people consider them completely not worth doing at all, no matter what the circumstances. But I put forth a different perspective: The very things about loving someone from a distance that can seem so painful and negative are really, in fact, a tremendous source of strength that can not only make the relationship more solid and the love more intense, but could end up challenging both people involved to become better, more grateful, and more patient in general. Here’s how:
More time for yourself
For most people in relationships, trying to maintain a balance between spending time together and taking time for yourself is an ongoing challenge. We all know it’s important to spend time just doing you, but it can be all too easy for couples to become wound up in nearly every part of each other’s lives, which isn’t always a terrible thing, but everyone needs breathing room from time to time. It’s healthy. When you don’t always have the choice to spend time together, time alone becomes built in. Even if you miss your person, there’s still a lot of value in that.
More time for your friends
In much the same way, people who are part of a couple can sometimes get a little flaky on their friends. It doesn’t make you a monster – it happens. We’ve all done it. We’ll all probably do it again. We’ll all swear never to do it after that, and we might anyway. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, time spent without your boo in the same zip code means more time for your mains. That’s not a bad silver lining.
You appreciate each other more
It’s very simple: When you have to be without each other more, you take each other for granted less. That’s not to say that long-distance don’t fall prey to many of the same pitfalls that near-distance couples do, but there’s no denying that when you can’t physically be near the person you love for long stretches of time, you are way more likely to remember to be thankful for them when you can.
The honeymoon phase lasts longer
When two people meet and are crazy about each other, they often jump into a bubble of togetherness – they are so wrapped up in the intense happy, sexy, fun newness of their love that they don’t want to pull apart until they’re literally about to lose their jobs and their friends start to wonder if they’ve died. This is a wonderful, enjoyable thing, partially because it never lasts. In a few weeks or months, the overwhelming feelings give way to a more stable, relaxed love (which is totally great in its own way.) But in long-distance relationships, every time you see each other feels – even for a moment – just like when you first met. Other couples spend the rest of their relationships trying to recapture the magic they felt in the beginning, but you and your long-distance love have it built in to your situation.
You build your own world together
In most relationships, things are always skewed in favor of one of your worlds – one person usually ends up spending more time with the other person’s friends, or they take up hobbies that they other person likes, or spends more nights at their place. It just happens. But when you live far apart, you create your own little world, just for the two of you: phone calls, texts, emails, Skype dates, the coffee shop near the airport where you always stop before saying goodbye again, the bed & breakfast halfway in between your cities in the middle of nowhere where you occasionally spend a weekend – because neither of you can live fully in the other’s world, you create a space for your love that is more equal and balanced and unique than most other couples get to experience.
You get better at communicating
Really, good communication is the only thing you have to have in order to make a long-distance relationship work. So many of the ways in which you keep each other present and involved in your day-to-day lives depends on communication – texts, phone calls, letters, etc. If communicating isn’t something that comes naturally to you, just put a great distance between you and the person you love – you’ll get better at it in a hurry.
You become more creative at showing love
Long-distance couples are remarkably skilled at coming up with new ways to demonstrate their love for each other. When you can’t kiss, or hold each other, you put that same energy into making care packages of things you know they like. You jump on Amazon and have coffee filters overnighted to their apartment because they mentioned how they keep forgetting to pick them up. You send them a book you think they would like, and buy a copy for yourself so you can read along. In a million ways, long-distance couples get to experience a much more diverse, more creative kind of affection.
You doubt each other’s love less
You know that nagging feeling, when you’ve been with someone for a while, when you can’t tell if they’re still super into the relationship? Maybe you’re just having a weird day and it’s totally just you being weird and they obviously still adore you, or maybe…? Here’s what’s amazing about being in a long-distance relationship: It’s never easier to stay in it. It’s never more convenient. So you know, almost without a doubt, that if the other person is still doing it, is still putting in all the effort necessary to make a long-distance relationship work, that they are still crazy about you. Very few people would be willing do go through all the work that a LDR requires unless they still consider the other person totally worth it.
The sex is hotter
Argue all you want, but there’s no question about it: If you can’t be physical anytime you want, all that built-up sexual tension is going to pay off big time when you’re together again. “I’ve missed you so much” + “I haven’t had sex in a long time” = things are about to get serious in the bedroom. Or the car. Or the subway on the way home from the airport. You get the idea. What long-distance couples lack in frequency of getting laid, they make up for in passion.
You make the most of your time together
Whereas other couples are prone to finding themselves in ruts where they waste whole nights doing nothing important on their laptops, or watching stupid TV, or whatever, people in long-distance relationships know that, sooner or later, they will be apart again. They will be wishing they could be together again. This ever-present knowledge that you don’t have indefinite time together is a truly effective deterrent against wasting time on banal activities. When your time together is short, you try to make it count more. In the end, compared with near-distance couples who can become complacent, long-distance couples might actually end up with more quality experiences together.