1. You’ll learn to make time for each other.
Whether it’s a Skype call or watching Game of Thrones on the phone or a snatched weekend in the new hometown, long-distance forces you to make way for uninterrupted time together. Compare that to your old routine, where smartphones and work commitments could easily get in the way. Suddenly, that dedicated hour is worth so much more.
2. Cliché alert: You find out who you actually are.
No one can truly know themselves until they have learnt to live alone. Solo grocery shopping, winter evenings with Netflix, takeaways for one. Once you’ve mastered how to be alone without being lonely, then you can give your heart to someone without taking over their life.
3. A different side to your relationship will emerge.
Arguments will require patient discussions over the phone where, out of some gut feeling, you’ll learn when your partner wants to talk. Goodnight texts will become sacred. Voicemails are savoured sound bites and evidence of your love. Or whatever your special things turn out to be.
4. Reunification moments.
You’ll count down the days until they happen, and play them on repeat once the reunion is over. Saying goodbye is painful, but the coming-together will only strengthen your resolution to be together.
5. The T word.
Relationship advisors and lifestyle magazines everywhere hail Trust as the Secret To All Things. Being apart, you’ll learn to trust the other. You’ll learn to trust yourself. And if you can’t trust them when you’re living in different cities, they weren’t worth it anyway.
6. It’s a test.
A useful test. If anything is going to break you, it will probably be being apart for a year. Think of it as a chance to see if you actually fit together. And when you make it through, you can feel smug for the rest of your lives, and mention ‘that long-distance stint’ to all around on every relationship milestone.
7. No regrets.
When you’re both 70, sitting by the fire covered in cats, you’ll never have that stab of disappointment that you didn’t get to do your thang. You will have both had the time, space and opportunities to follow your dreams, and the fact they led you back to each other is dreamy enough.