I haven’t heard of anyone who got into a long distance relationship because they wanted to. Usually, people are in a complete denial … until they suddenly find themselves in love and their feelings turn out to be bigger than the distance – and that’s when they join the long distance relationship community 🙂
During the time I spent being countries away from my boyfriend, I was not able (or did not want) to relate to any benefits this experience was affording. To be honest, the only outcome I thought I was getting was frustration…
Today, two years after closing the distance, I know that relationship over countries helped me to mature and understand my priorities. It also encouraged me to work towards my goals without losing focus (and finally, rewarded me with the most amazing guy!).
Things a long distance relationship taught me:
#1. That communication is a must. Looking back, I think that my communication skills where pathetic! I didn’t think that analyzing problems was needed. I believed that I would forget the issue and it would pass unnoticed. The result (obviously) was quite different.
First, the problem never passed unnoticed and that was already a good reason for an argument. Moreover, I was slowly bottling up all the problems and preparing for an explosion.
When living hundreds (or thousands) of miles away, communication is the only activity you can have with your partner. You will bond by having deep talks (or solving misunderstandings and arguments), and once you close the distance, you will be amazed how easy it will be to overcome any issue.
#2. To trust. We all have moments of jealousy from time to time, but if you are in a long distance relationship, you will have to start trusting them unconditionally because there is no way for you to control (or even know) their actions. If you aren’t able to trust, your relationship is doomed. Trust is the main condition, not only for your relationship to grow, but also for both of you – remain calm and continue building a strong foundation for your relationship.
#3. To be interdependent. A good friend of mine once explained her theory of some people being “halfs”, and some “fulls” in a relationship. “Halfs” are the codependent couples, who try to control their partner’s feelings and have a fear that they can’t function on their own (and hence, feel “stuck” in their relationship). Unfortunately, long distance relationship is not going to last long if you and your partner is a codependent “half”.
You will have to learn to be interdependent. You will miss each other, but, at the same time respect, support each other’s goals and push each other forward. Be committed to the relationship but don’t try to control another person’s feelings or actions.
I used to think that I was a “half” type, but time apart helped me develop into a strong, independent “full”. There is nothing else I want when my babe is next to me, but my self-esteem doesn’t depend on his presence. This long distance relationship helped me learn to enjoy my life when he was not there.
#4. To appreciate the time together (and continue doing so even after closing the distance). When you live with someone, hugs, sleeping together, even doing grocery shopping is just a normal part of your routine. Meanwhile, a relationship over distance only allows you to have occasional hugs with your partner as a reward after months of waiting. I still feel that I value those small, daily things I get to do with my boyfriend and always thank god for having my partner next to me whenever I want to. Because few years back, I used to be ready to do anything for getting to feel my boyfriend’s smell…
#5. Do things together. I see many friends of mine separating the household tasks and doing them individually. Even those long Skype sessions of cooking or cleaning together on the weekends turned out to benefit us. We got used to doing things together and enjoy it. Washing dishes in one sink together is not very comfortable, but who said it’s not fun?
#6. To become a proactive planner! We had to plan our yearly holiday schedules to be sure that we would meet often enough and wouldn’t have problems taking leave. Additionally, we had to look into our finances to be sure that we would be able to afford the times we intended to meet. Finally, we had to plan our daily agendas so we could get on a call at least once or twice a week, manage the time difference, and remain socially active.
#7. To save. I couldn’t afford anything more than the basics while living apart and I have to say that it was the first time in my life I became so efficient at saving. Even though our long distance relationship resulted in no financial assets, we got something much more valuable in exchange – a chance to spend our lives together.
#8. To be patient. Imagine wanting something more than anything and getting to touch it shortly once in few months. Then, finding yourself crying in the airport after saying bye and desperately craving for more. We had many days when we questioned ourselves. Why did we decide to do this? At times it seemed to be getting too complicated to continue. Thankfully, something stopped us from giving up. You will know that the person is worth the struggle. The possible reward will give you all the motivation you need to make it through.
#9. To know what you want. Usually, life offers you multiple options and you are welcome to take any of them (and make changes whenever you feel like it). When you ask yourself about staying in a relationship over a distance or moving in together, you are forced to understand your priorities by answering these questions: can I leave everything behind and go to other side of the country/world for sake of being together with my partner? It seems to be a complicated one, but it was the easiest decision I ever made. I just knew my priority from the very beginning.
#10. To stay positive. We became our own love warriors. There were ups and downs, but we were there to support each other and share optimism. There were people telling us that it’s not worth it and it’s not going to work (just as everyone does BEFORE they get into a LDR – remember!), but I always had my boyfriend to lift me up when I needed it the most (and vice versa).
#11. To become selfless. Even though I believe we start thinking about another person more when we love someone (even without distance), being apart makes you completely forget your own needs. The other person’s happiness is what you need to stay happy yourself.
#12.To get rid of fears and doubt less. I learnt that everything is possible, as long as you really want it. The fears I used to have before were only excuses to give up my goals (which, most probably, weren’t strong enough). But then, I met a Turkish boy in south of India. He had to move to China and my family was expecting me to go back to Lithuania. We had some doubts in between, but in the end we said, “Yes, we will be together.” I am now sure of my capabilities because I know that I will succeed in anything (if only I want it).
You might think that a distant love experience is just an unfortunate situation you got yourself into. But be sure you will come out of it much more matured, stronger and motivated than you’ve been before!
What did your long distance relationship teach you?