I’m in a long-distance relationship. A lot of people say,“Isn’t that hard?” Well in short, Yes! Ha-ha but not for the reasons people often think. It also isn’t tough every day like many assume. I have discovered so much joy in my long-distance relationship. The joys far outweigh anything else. It has taught me a lot about who I am and what I want in this life as I journey alongside who I want.
Here are 6 things I have learned in love from my long-distance relationship.
1. Every visit is special
Every trip, every flight. When we can spend weeks with each other it’s wonderful but if all we have is 2-3 days, it is just as meaningful. A lot of couples take for granted the simple pleasures like holding hands or grabbing dinner together any night of the week. One of my favorite things in this world is that butterfly feeling when the wheels of our flight touch down in the other person’s city — Universal symbol for Thank God I can use my cell phone again. All the time apart up to that point is forgotten. Grabbing luggage and searching for one another in the airport and finally making eye contact. There is a smile exchange at the exact time everyone else fades away. I know better than anyone goodbyes are hard but worth it when thinking of the butterflies that are eager for the next flight to touch down. Sure, Distance makes the heart grow fonder but when you spend time together, be present.
2. Communication is necessary but not required every second
We live in different states, rise and sleep in different time zones and lead different lives. And that’s okay! Love doesn’t mean being on the phone all day, every day though it is important to communicate.
In some relationships there is irrational fear that ‘If I’m not in their face every moment or reminding them to think of me, they won’t’. Some of that stems from low self-esteem and if you find yourself feeling this way, maybe that person isn’t for you. A person who loves you will love you whether they see you, hear from you daily or not. They will think of you often even when you don’t realize it.
When your person needs you, be there for them. If something is on your heart or mind, be sure to share it as soon as possible so things that need to be addressed don’t linger. It’s cool to let them know out of the blue that you’re thinking about them. Keep it simple. Love on them then let them go about their day. Both sides open up the chance for your better half to be vulnerable with you too whenever they please. So communicate of course but also give them space to miss you and catch you up on the parts of life you can’t be there for.
3. Support, Communicate Support, Actually be Supportive
When you do text, email, call, skype, visit with each other, the conversations should not be filled with to-dos or demands. Learn their love language and figure out what they need. Sometimes they want you to solve problems, sometimes they want you to just shut up and listen. My guy knows me so well I can’t hide being upset or stressed. I always laugh when he figures me out. Mutual support is everything. My loved one reminds me of my dreams and goals when I get discouraged. I do the same for him because I believe in him that much. We push and pull each other forward and celebrate each other along the way.
4. Trust & Respect the lover you chose
How you love is a reflection of who you are. Honor that.
5. We don’t go to bed angry
Fortunately we don’t argue about much but we are human so we do disagree every now and then. My boyfriend actually came up with this rule and I have grown to really value it. The important thing is to say what needs to be said, get it all out there and then figure it out together. We absolutely do not go to bed angry whether we are next to each other or across the country. This is about learning how to communicate, figure out what’s going on, resolve the misunderstanding and move forward.
6. Our Love is ours
Not our friends, family or community. What I mean by that is while it’s good to hear wisdom and it does not hurt to get advice (even those who provide it unsolicited), do not feel the need to listen to everyone who wants to add input on your relationship. There is also No need to broadcast all the details of your relationship to the world. Some people assume you go through what has been a struggle in their own relationship. Sometimes that does happen which is why it is good to have healthy couples who you can reach out to for advice. Sometimes though it isn’t about you reacting to another couple’s laundry list of issues, but instead you getting together with your love and figuring out your own things together. And if it ain’t broke, don’t break it. If anything is broke though and you need third party assistance, consider relationship counseling.
Sometimes long-distance or any relationship is as hard as you make it. Long distance relationships are not for everyone. It takes strength and dedication. But honestly, in my opinion, the effort it takes to make a long-distance relationship like mine work should be the same effort put into a relationships with someone you see everyday. If my boyfriend and I ever live in the same city, I want the list of things I have learned to still be present, even more so.
My point is the principles are the same, whatever the distance between you and your love. There are some basic, foundational things that have to exist in a relationship in order to make it work. It has to be true for both sides involved in order for it work. I have married friends who use the hashtag #datingmyhusband or #datingmywife and I love that because it puts intention to not lose the magic and spark.
I love that people know it’s genuine for me and my boyfriend when they see us together. What means even more than that to me is our relationship actually being genuine even when no one is watching. I encourage you to strive for the relationship no one else needs to validate.
Growing together through good news and bad news, smiles and arguments is how love gets stronger between people who sleep 2 feet or 800 miles apart. If we can be on the same page, so can you.
What has your relationship taught you about love?