The reassuring fact that the majority of your arguments will eventually resolve itself with a kiss and a hug does not apply to long distance relationships. Arguments don’t end all nice and neat. They slowly fizzle out after silent-treatment sessions of varying degrees and lengths, followed by stiff conversation and weird multi-layered apologies.
2. Different time zones are a constant complication
We’re only an hour apart right? Or is it two? Wait — am I ahead or is she? So if it’s X o’clock here, then it’s Y o’clock there. Right?
3. Running out of things to talk about
After not being able to see each other for a couple weeks, all you want to do is talk on the phone for hours. Eventually, the conversation WILL turn awkward. It’ll be filled with insubstantial comments and 30 second pauses followed by “You still there?”. This will happen at least 5 times per phone call. Unless you’re using Facetime/Skype, in which case the conversation will slowly devolve into the two of you staring silently at each other with big dumb grins on your faces.
4. Sexual frustration
The struggle is real, people. There is no way short of an act of infidelity to alleviate this feeling. If you’re thinking about trying to spice things up with sending risqué photos or sexts, beware that this will most likely make you much more frustrated than you were in the first place.
5. Minor trust issues can become major ones
With the passing of time, I think it’s only natural to be a little worried, right? However, much like Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception, once your significant other plants that one little casual, insignificant comment into your subconscious, it will grow and mutate into an ugly beast. Try not to let it consume you.
6. Long distance relationships are hard
Like, REALLY FUCKING HARD. This is something I was very naïve about in the beginning. I seriously underestimated the difficulty of trying to maintain the same level of intimacy and affection we once had without actually being able to touch one another.
7. Living different lifestyles
I don’t think everyone in a long distance relationship experiences this, but I sure as fuck did. While my girlfriend was at home relaxing poolside with her friends, I was waking up at 4am every day learning how to surgically slice open a casualty’s throat with bullets flying over my head in body armor and the 100% heat of Fort Sam Houston, TX. Obviously, we had a little trouble relating after a while.
8. Communication can be exhausting
Regular communication is of utmost importance. For some of the reasons mentioned above, taking the time to keep up a certain degree of stability in the relationship sometimes took a lot of effort. To be honest, sometimes I just wasn’t willing to put that effort in and that’s on me.
9. Making sacrifices
Every time I did put in the effort, my studies suffered. I tried not to mention it as much as possible. I didn’t want her to feel guilty about it, but occasionally, my priorities were elsewhere. I was very invested in my training and saw it as a big responsibility. I hated disappointing her but I did have a lot on my plate.
10. The long distance break-up
Finally… The break-up. The thing that really got me about my own long distance-break up is the feeling of foolishness about how optimistic and confident I had been when I left. Looking back on how far I had fallen and how my seemingly indestructible relationship had pathetically crumbled under the weight of my situation left me feeling empty and embarrassed.
11. Moving on
Sometimes, when you’re away from home and you break up, it’s hard to get closure and a good perspective of the relationship until you return home. I haven’t spoken with my ex since we ended it, so I wouldn’t know her post break-up experience. This was by far the most difficult part for me. At the time, I had completely shut off my emotions. I had seen too many buddies get crushed by their girls back home. I had decided that wasn’t going to happen to me. I focused on my training and it worked, until the training ended. I feel like I was only able to start moving on after that. It took me a while, but I did it.
12. It just isn’t for everyone
Now that I have enough distance from it, I can feel confident in saying that I don’t blame her for the way things turned out. I no longer harbor any anger or resentment. I’ve finally let go of that last little piece of bitterness that I held onto for so long. Many of my friends and family members were appalled when I informed them of the break-up. It is widely regarded in the military community a horrible, selfish, unforgivable thing to leave your significant other while he/she is serving. I don’t feel this way at all. My ex wasn’t particularly needy, but all people require a certain amount of attention and affection. It’s only natural, right? At the time, I just wasn’t able to provide that. I believe this is the most important thing I learned from my relationship and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.