“Long distance relationship,” three words many people absolutely dread hearing, but I’m here to reassure you that it isn’t always a horrible thing. I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy but trust me when I say I’ve been there. I have been with the seemingly right person (even though they were the wrong person) and attempted a long distance relationship that failed. The truth is, when the right person comes along…long distance is a small bump in a very long journey because when two people are truly meant to be together, nothing, even distance can’t tear them apart.
More specifically I’m focusing on long distance relationships in your early 20s because that’s the point I am at in my life. I can attest to the fact that early on I was very much so against a long distance relationship. I was just about two months into my relationship with my boyfriend when I found out he was committing to an incredible offer to play hockey out east. I thought to myself, “I’ve done this before with an even shorter distance…can this really work?” Despite my doubts and worry, I can honestly say that being involved in an LDR as a 22-year-old woman and a recent college graduate was precisely what I needed at this point in my life. It’s provided me with an eye-opening outlook on life, strengthened my values and beliefs as an independent woman, helped me realize that I can stand firmly on my own two feet, and heightened my love for my boyfriend. Here’s how:
Why a long distance relationship in your early 20s is a good thing:
- You need to be comfortable with being alone. Whether you are still in college or you’ve graduated, as a young adult you’re still adapting to life without your parents and establishing your future. That also includes being away from your significant other and being able to find comfort in being by yourself and balancing life responsibilities all on your own.
- The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” couldn’t be more true. I’m sure people have uttered this phrase to you more times that you can count, I’ve heard it my fair share too. I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about a long distance relationship at first, mostly due to my failed relationship spanning minimal distance in the past. In addition to horrible luck forming relationships with guys in the same city as me. But, I am here to tell you that distance will elevate your love for one another for a couple reasons. First of all, physical separation strengthens your communication efforts and helps you appreciate the little things your significant other says/does. Secondly, when you finally get to see one another, you fall in love all over again. Remember that overwhelming excitement, can’t think straight, heart beating out of your chest feeling you felt on a regular basis in the beginning of your relationship? You’ll feel that rush of emotions the moment you are reunited with your loved one after spending time apart and it’s amazing. It’s in that fleeting moment that you will forget about that seemingly never-ending time you spent apart. Because in that moment in time, being with them, wrapped up in their arms is all that matters. With that being said, spending periods of time apart also makes you appreciate the time you do get to spend together more than you ever have before. It’s the little things that make life great.
- You both need to focus on achieving your own goals and dreams right now (while you’re still young). A healthy relationship is one that fosters unconditional love and support. Which includes being your significant other’s biggest cheerleader in all of life’s pursuits, even if that means spending some time apart.
- “What is meant to be will always find a way.” I could tell you the ‘ride’ will be seamless and that your fairy tale love story will continue to unfold, but I would be lying. Along with committing yourself to a long distance relationship comes the normal ups and downs of a relationship sans physical separation…only with added obstacles. You’ll have arguments, you’ll feel emotionally distant from one another, you’ll want to potential ignore each other when you feel slightly irritated, and at times you might even question why you are putting yourselves through this heartache and stress…then you’ll find yourself reassuring your heart and soul of your feelings for that person and reminding yourself that the distance is temporary. Always keep in mind, if you are meant to be to together, your love and patience will overcome any and all obstacles put in your way.
- One day you won’t have to fall asleep alone. It’s important to remember that although the days sometimes seem long and the nights longer, your happiness will one day come. It may appear far away right now, but when the time finally comes for you two to be together, you both will be extremely thankful for the perspective and strength the long distance brought to your relationship. Finally, the ability to fall asleep beside your best friend and the person you love won’t seem so unattainable because there they’ll be, wrapped up in your arms.
Also, if you’re currently involved in a long distance relationship like I am, be thankful for FaceTime, instantaneous text messaging and iMessage, Snapchat, and cell phones in general. The technology our generation has readily available helps us maintain healthy relationship, defying the obstacles of time and space. Just think, rather than having these amenities you could just write a letter and wait a week or two for a response? Yeah, I’ll stick to my updated social media and apps too.
In all seriousness, I know at times it’s difficult right now to see the larger life picture and I also know that it’s hard to think that your time together will actually come when it seems so far away. STOP over analyzing. Take a deep breath, relax, and reflect. This is your time to focus on your biggest goals and dreams in life and pursue them whole-heartedly. Embrace the little time you do get to spend with your boyfriend or girlfriend and never lose sight of what really matters, your love for one another and the trust, communication, support, and friendship your relationship has been built on and continues to thrive on.
“Years from now our past will be a story. A story of long days and lonely nights, hard work and lack of sleep. We’ll live each day having intimately known the pain of living apart, we’ll appreciate and embrace our time together, knowing how lucky we are to have made it through; and we’ll find solace in the promise of a future together.”