I recently received an e-mail from a new friend asking about what I thought of long-distance relationships, as she is currently in one. I have written on this topic before, but what follows is a more concise and straightforward piece of advice that I think will be helpful to people with the same fate. Read on:
Long distance relationships work; it requires no more understanding than a non-long-distance relationship, and in most areas, it requires no harder work, too. What you sort of miss out on is the everyday togetherness, although knowing that it’s temporary makes up for that in the end. What makes it easier is having a plan – knowing when you’ll see each other next, taking steps towards being in the same timezone, and working towards that (and dealing with the uncertainties that come along with it) as partners. As with most things, it’s easier when you have a goal – short-term and long-term; you can keep your eyes on it and work towards it, avoiding things that make you veer away from the right track. The physical part (or lack thereof) can wait – for vacations, for the time you’ll be finally together. Thinking that you’re only going to be apart one or two or even a few more years and then having 70+ more together is a motivating thought. Hold on to that thought.
Of course, there are moments when the absence is so tangible, but those moments pass. It helps to keep yourself busy, and then sharing whatever keeps you busy with your significant other at the end of the day. Make each other laugh; take a picture of something that just made you smile and send it over; write e-mails, however long or short; whisper a prayer or a good thought for each other; be each other’s first and last phone call of the day. You know, however far apart you two are, you are still that one person who is always there for him or her, unconditionally and selflessly, and vice versa. You two make each other feel something that no one currently within sight or touch can ever make you feel, and that is amazing; realize that and be happy and thankful.
As a wiser older couple shared with me quite recently, there will be more times in your life as a couple that you two would have to be apart physically, and the stronger and more mature your relationship gets, it really does cross-over to the metaphysical. Think of your current situation as early practice.
Times when you two do get together, enjoy it to your heart’s content – which really goes without saying.
If you know and feel it’s all worth it, a long-distance relationship can give you insight into each other and what you have, give you rich experiences both of you wouldn’t have come by otherwise. Think of it as an experience you two are going through together, learning and growing together along the way.
And as I just heard the other day, “You don’t need luck. You love him, he loves you, and love is enough.”