It’s challenging to be in a relationship as a growing adult, regardless of whether you wake up next to your significant other every day or whether that person is on the other side of the country. Dating long-distance can be very emotionally draining, but it can also make your relationship stronger than you ever imagined. As someone who spent the last year and a half dating a guy that lived 2 thousand miles away, I feel like my relationship now is so much better because of that experience. Here are 7 benefits of being in a long-distance relationship.
1. You spend so much time talking. So. Much. Time. You miss them all day, all the time. It’s like a dull ache that you can actually feel physically. But when it’s another 3 or 4 weeks until you’re together, you have to deal with it somehow. So there’s a lot of late nights on the phone. You don’t even have to be talking about anything important or consequential. You’re just talking about silly things and making each other laugh and smile enough that you almost forget you’re not together. You learn about them. Their fears, their worst habits, their worries, their hopes, their favorite teacher from elementary school. You talk about a lot of things and reach a deep level of trust that might have taken a long time to reach had you been physically together every day.
2. You appreciate the moments when you actually are together. Sometimes it can be tough not to take your significant other for granted. Once you get into a rhythm, it’s hard to remember how special it is that the two of you found each other. It can be easy to forget that of all the people in the entire world, the two of you ended up choosing each other. But when you have to go weeks, or months, without seeing each other, it’s pretty damn difficult to forget how grateful and thankful you are to have one another. When you see them again for the first time and are overwhelmed with the familiarity of their scent and the sound of their voice, you remember to appreciate every single second.
3. You’re more focused on planning a life together. At some point, a long distance relationship has to end. You can keep it up for a certain amount of time but at some point, you’ll both burn out. Being in a long-distance relationship requires planning. There has to be an end goal – a time and a place where you will both finally be together. Living far away from each other forces you both to look at your life and see what you’re willing to sacrifice and what you’re not willing to sacrifice for one another.
4. You can’t avoid your problems by sleeping together. A lot of people tend to use sex to distract themselves from talking about what’s bothering them. Bringing up issues and talking about your insecurities and sharing weaknesses forces you into a vulnerable state, so most couples lean towards being physical together in order to make up the closeness. But when you’re in two different cities or states or even countries, you’re forced to discuss things a lot more frequently.
5. You’re always thinking of creative ways to remind your partner that you love them. You can’t wake up, roll over, kiss them on the cheek and say good morning. You can’t walk in the door after work and give them an affectionate greeting. You can’t touch them or be near them or look at them without a screen between you. So you are always coming up with exciting ways to let them know they’re your favorite person in the whole world. You send care packages and hand-written cards and leave sweet voicemails and even take surprise trips. It adds a special little aspect to your relationship that you might not have otherwise.
6. You experience a deep level of emotional intimacy. Long-distance changes things. You’re not just casually dating someone. Every second you have together is cherished, and when you aren’t together, you pass the days by sending thoughtful texts and writing long e-mails and having long talks on the phone or on Skype. You talk far longer than normal couples do, because hanging up the phone and going to sleep means you have to leave them. It’s not fun to be separated. In fact, it’s pretty much downright painful. But it takes you to places you never thought you’d go with another person.
7. You know what it’s like to not have that person in your life every day, so you vow to appreciate them and take care of them every day of your life. You’d probably make this vow either way, but after spending so much time away from them, your vow becomes that much stronger. You know what it feels like to have to wake up without them and fall asleep without your arm draped across their chest. You know what it feels like to have to always be worrying about them and wondering if they’re okay. You know what it feels like to miss their scent and their laugh and their voice and their eyes and their smile and their quirky way of walking. When you’re finally together, you remember to appreciate them every day for the rest of your life.