I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for more than two years now. I talked to many people about long-distance relationships in general and they believe it’s never going to work. My family may discourage it, and even some of my friends may advise me not to take it too seriously. They all want to prevent me from getting my heart broken.
But isn’t that the risk we take to love someone?
Sure, it’s not going to be easy, especially with the extra distance making many things unachievable. Of course, things could get complicated, and you could get sad and lonely sometimes. However, that’s just on one side of the spectrum. On the other side, the extra distance makes the simplest things the most precious, such as being able to hold each other, having coffee together while looking in each other’s eyes, or taking a stroll together while holding hands. All these very small and common actions could suddenly mean the world in a long-distance relationship.
“Does distance really matter? You love your favorite actor, drool for your favorite singer and await patiently for the next art from your favorite artist or writer. Why not the one you love?” — Jane Morsel
It seems that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. According to Journal of Communication, a study published in 2013, people who are in long-distance relationships were more likely to share meaningful thoughts and feelings with their partners than those who were not. It seems that couples in long-distance relationships tend to idealize their lovers’ behaviors, which leads to a greater sense of intimacy.
Furthermore, I also noticed a development in personal strength and consistency. I’ve learned how to make a commitment, even when things are difficult, and discovered the strength of our relationship to overcome many obstacles.
“Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.” — Thomas Fuller
This is my personal opinion on the different stages of a long-distance relationship, which is how I am experiencing it so far.
On the last three days, before I have to board the plane, I felt really anxious and add on top of that a dose of sadness. As the ominous day lurked closer and closer, the situation became real. When we hung out, I would get all nostalgic and it felt like each thing we did was the “last” one. The last movie date before I leave, the last trip to our favorite coffee place, the last time to cook her dinner.
On the other hand, these moments felt extra special or maybe extra sad. I couldn’t help but keep wondering to myself when I would see her again. I needed to remind myself that it isn’t actually the “last”. I will see her again and I will get to do these things again.
Tip: In that moment, it will feel like that day is eternities away, but reminding ourselves that it’s not actually the last time, is the key to push through this first stage.
When I got used to being apart, doubtful thoughts kept haunting me. Doubt in her, doubt in myself, and doubt in our relationship. We all know that relationships are built on trust, but when there is an enormous distance in between, it is nearly impossible not to let the mind wander.
It’s not in the sense of I don’t trust her, it’s because I don’t know who she is around with and I don’t trust “those people”. When we’re together I usually know who she is hanging out with, what she is doing, the area she is in, but when distance becomes involved I do not only have to trust her loyalty and decision making but the people who are surrounding her as well.
I also doubted myself. Doubting her is for the majority me doubting myself and having insecurities. Doubting my own ability is a pretty natural response, especially since this is my first time doing a long-distance relationship. The doubtful thought of “can I handle this?” was there at the beginning, but in time I realised, “Oh, I got this.”
I know that it takes a lot to decide to partake in a long-distance relationship. By deciding to go the distance I needed to remind myself that she values me and our relationship. When she agreed to it, she is essentially telling me, “You are worth the extra effort.” To me, she is worth it and that’s what matters.
Tip: Having doubts is not bad. It’s natural and it’s there because we care. However, the key is not to let it consume us to the point that it affects our relationship. Seriously, just trust each other and communicate about any doubts you have. As time goes on this doubt will most likely lessen to make room for trust in your partner, yourself and your strength to grow.
Back In Love
Being apart caused me to miss her a lot. This longing to be with her when I can’t often made me more in love and sentimental than I would like to admit. Every time I see her name light up on my phone, it feels like world viral news.
Sometimes, it feels like I’m living on Facetime or WeChat: having homework dates, watching movies together, play games together, casual talks about how our day was. Whether the call lasts for two minutes or two hours, seeing her face and hearing her voice gives me a sense of life and really brings out how much I care for her.
Even the silliest little things that make me think of her suddenly appeared everywhere. Little things, such as seeing someone wearing her favorite brand, eating one of her favorite dishes, or hearing a joke that I know she would love. All these little things are standing out to me, making me think of her and probably made me smile like an idiot.
Tip: You may find yourself doing corny things, such as posting a cute Instagram picture with way too many emojis, sending voice messages, care packages, the list can go on and on. But when you are in the this silly, love-is-all-over-the-place stage, you will cherish every second of it. Who cares if you double-posted about how much you miss him or her? Who cares about using cliché quotes in everyday conversation? Stop caring about what others think, because feeling like this is great, and you will feel closer than ever in your relationship, even though you are physically apart.
Balancing Excitement And Sadness
I experienced ups and downs of each of these throughout our times apart. Planning trips to visit each other or even just waiting for the phone to ring, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. As the next time I get to see her gets closer, the minutes felt like days and the seconds like hours. It sounds horrible, and it is. I talked about plans and everything I hoped to do when we are together again. The excitement of when I see her again is like no other. After a long time apart, seeing her smiling face in person really is indescribable. The moment that I have been waiting for made me realize that it was all worth it.
Then the hard time hits. Each of us handles the sadness of being apart and the sadness of the long road ahead differently. This can be particularly hard if I don’t know when that “next time” is. I don’t know when our hectic schedules will align perfectly again for a visit. In this case, I left her with the pain of waiting for an anonymous amount, and to be honest, I was going to expect the worst. Experiencing this inevitable sadness definitely made some of our times together bittersweet. The phone conversations were not cheerful or as enjoyable because we are stuck missing each other.
Tip: When you visit, there will always be that thought of knowing that it will once again be ending with a goodbye. Remember that if you want to experience the highest of highs, you will probably have to experience the lowest of lows as well. Be prepared for what’s waiting and you might soften the impact.
Time To Decide
This is the hardest “stage” to explain because deciding will be a continuous process throughout the whole long-distance relationship. In fact, we began with making the decision to give the long-distance relationship a chance. However, we will have to continue to decide if this type of relationship is worth it. To me, she definitely is.
Tip: If you are just beginning a long-distance relationship do not let this stage scare or intimidate you. It might be so easy that you don’t even realize you have decided or it could be really damn hard. It just depends.
If you decide to walk this type of relationship, you need to remember that life around you is constantly happening as well. As time changes, circumstances and people change with them. Your future may take a different path than you were planning, just as they could for your partner.
Investing time in personal development while your partner is doing the same elsewhere might affect who each of you become or wish to become. This does not mean that you are going to change for the worse. It just means that you will be continuing to figure yourself out and grow as a person, just as you have for your entire life.
Remember that in the end, this is your life, and ultimately, you should want both you and your partner to be happy and successful.