Nobody sets out to be in a long distance relationship. No one is like, “I think I’d rather NOT see my significant other that often, but then spend all my money on plane tickets.” But with jobs, school, and amazing opportunities abroad, it’s just so easy to accidentally fall into one. Still, it doesn’t have to mean your relationship is doomed. When both parties are both truly committed and secure with themselves, it can be surprisingly fun to have two places to spend your time. Here are ten reasons to not despair over your LDR:
1.You have the emotional security of a partner, but the bustling social life of a single lady (that goes for men, too. Everyone knows single ladies have the most fun).
Nice as it is to share every waking moment with your person, it’s so easy to get caught in that antisocial cycle of comfort and codependence, spending countless nights glued to Netflix, forgetting what it means to wear non-elastic-waist pants. The best part about being single is how it forces you to get out in the world even when you’re tired, to dress your best, to meet and mingle and be a generally available friend. This is something you can still do in an LDR, except instead of the depressing, end-of-night emptiness that comes from not meeting any new prospects, you have someone to bug when you finally curl up into bed. And rather than the calculated texting of a new fling, these calls can be mundane and downright obnoxious — the voice on the other end will still love you.
2.You can indulge in weird, solo hobbies.
When you live with or near someone, it’s hard to justify spending long hours, say, scribbling in a journal, or plucking away inexpertly on a guitar. Even if your partner embraces your weird, creative side, it’s just hard to be like, “Sorry, Babe, I can’t hang out with you tonight, I need to make a collage of dead leaves and Q-tips to sell on Etsy.” Yet all of those hobbies that make us most interesting—like art and music and creative writing—are just easier to make time for when you’re living on your own. When it’s time to visit, your partner just sees the finished product and thinks you’re, well, a freak, but an awesome freak.
3. It’s fun to get constant texts/emails/snapchats throughout the day.
Not that you can’t do this when living in the same city, but it feels more important when you’re living apart. You value the correspondence more. When your boo sends you a link to an article, you actually read it and then enjoy talking about it later. Plus, game apps. Too much fun.
4. You discover the lost art of undivided attention.
In a weird way, talking on the phone can be almost more intimate than talking in person…or maybe not more intimate, but more focused. When you’re with someone in person, you might both be busying yourself with other things, browsing the internet, eating, watching TV, or just generally being distracted. One the phone or video chat, your sole activity is listening to one another speak. You become expert at recapping your days, at interesting storytelling and emotional expression. You learn how to articulate your feelings through words. Not only does this make you better at sharing with your partner, it improves your communication skills in general.
5. You can be awesome at your job or coursework.
It’s kind of nice, when you’re still young, to put your all into what you do. If you don’t yet have kids but someday plan to, this is the only time you have to be psychotically dedicated to advancing in your field. Use it, value it, be that person that works longer than everyone else. By the time you live with your partner again, you’ll have put in the hours and energy that make you highly employable, laying the foundations for the rest of your life and career.
6. You control 100% of your schedule.
This is similar to (1), but even if you’re not in that Netflix-every-night-rut, even for couples who are social butterflies together, it’s difficult to mesh your friend groups, families, and obligations. Your BFF has a birthday on the same night as your partner’s sister. Your friends love bein crazy while his friends only want to sip beers at crusty dive bars. In an LDR, you don’t have to worry about perfectly synching your commitments (except for on visiting weekends, which are like special, 3-day long parties). Which brings us to…
7. The time you do spend together is sacred.
There’s something very sweet about clearing your entire schedule for someone when he or she comes into town. It’s almost like a joint birthday. And you’re so happy to reunite that you justify doing things you’d never do on your own — expensive brunches, overpriced concerts—nothing is too extravagant for your Special Weekend. You might find yourself fighting, because obviously it’s weird and hard to have to wait weeks to hang out, but you’ll fight quickly and wisely, always cognizant that this is your precious time.
8. If you can afford to visit regularly, you get to have two lives.
Look at it one way, and splitting your time between two cities is taxing. Look at it another, and it makes your life incredibly interesting and full. It’s great to get a fresh change of scene, even if just for a few days. And you’ll justify travel more, even if it means scrimping on things like rent or clothes. You never get that bogged down, “stuck here,” feeling because you’re always counting down until your next visit.
9. You don’t have the option of not developing skills of your own.
It’s easy to fall into patterns of labor division. One person is better at planning, so the other tends to be a follower. One person is super gregarious, so the other tends to hang back in social settings. Whether it’s little skills like fixing a sink, or bigger traits like saving money, it’s easy to lean on whoever is more naturally adept. But when you live apart, codependence is not an option. Each party learns to be completely competent, figuring out all the skills they failed to develop growing up.
10. Finally, but most importantly, you learn the meaning of trust.
Maybe your relationship was not strong enough to begin with, and therefore it cannot survive a long-distance stint. That’s a definite possibility. But if that’s the case, then you probably weren’t meant to be together, anyway. Living apart is the ultimate test. If you two pass it, you can rest assured, you’ve got something good.