“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If I had a Euro for every blasted time I was told that, I’d probably move back to Rome. Granted, some said it in good faith. Whereas others …molested my everlasting nerves because I could hear past their – excuse my French – bullshit …What they really wanted to say is, “They’re not gonna last.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of judging a couple and thinking to myself, “They’ll be lucky to make it to next semester.” Then you have “Cuffing Season” that doesn’t help. Because the thing about seasons is—they too, pass. So when Summer rolls around, chicks tops come down… You get the picture. But to me, if you can survive the distance, as cliché as it sounds, your relationship can survive just about anything.
You’d be surprised to know (or maybe not) that Cornell University conducted a study and found that between 25-50% of college students are currently in a long distance relationship, myself included. I’ve been with my boyfriend for eight months (I know, I know, sooooo long) but we’ve gone from spending everyday together when we’re at school in NY on some never-having-to-say-goodbye-only-goodnight type shit, to being apart for four very, very long months for the summer. He flew back to Cali. I drove back to Va.
Everytime that I tell someone that I’m doing the “long distrance relationship” thing and strengthening my bond in the process, I get the illest side eye. Hell, I would too if I were them.
Buttttt… Like all blessings, you have to put in work before you can receive them. So for those of you who think distance hurts a relationship, I’m here to tell you how it helps.
For starters, there are things that you are forced to rule out as petty during the time apart. Why? Well, I don’t know about you but long distance is punishment enough; I don’t want the time we finally do get to communicate be the least bit unpleasant. So what exactly is petty? Arguing about your significant other liking the opposite sex’s post on Instagram, or your significant other not texting back right away. And believe me, something so trivial can eeeeeasily upset you, especially when you’re lacking physical interaction with your love. Or when you’re hungry. Or sleepy. But this will help the relationship when the two of you return to normalcy. Not to mention, you’ll find that the distance gives you more time… Time to really think about what’s worth fighting about… In the process, you learn that who you’re fighting for trumps all.
Speaking of time… Make time and make it a priority! Note: It’s not fair to demand, or expect, that you get all of your significant other’s free time. Let me tell you, I used to get so irritated when my boyfriend wouldn’t text me back right away. Don’t be so quick to feel jealous if you don’t always know what’s going on every hour. What they don’t tell you about distance making the heart grow fonder is that it also makes the heart w a n d e r. My psychotic ass heart, lol. Of course, I trust my boyfriend; he was my best friend of three years. I just hated feeling like I wasn’t connected, or a part of his daily life. Thankfully, he does a damn good job of reassuring me—sometimes, that’s all a girl really needs. Moral of the story? (Besides not being the crazy girlfriend… I know, that’s redundant) Accept this time apart to remember how to be independent in your relationship. There’s nothing wrong with becoming an extension of your significant other; but you don’t have to lose yourself or the “spark” in the process. Remember: your significant other loves you for the essence of you who are. Preserve it. Not to mention, its certainly challenging to live vicariously through your significant other when you don’t share the same time zone, let alone zip code.
On another note, you’ll find the time apart made you quite the planner i.e. Trips. Trips to see your love! Make a vacation out of it [I know I am; although when I get to Cali, I plan on acting like I’m from there, but that’s neither here nor there] You’ll get really good at planning how you’ll spend the time apart productively, well kind of because you have no other choice, but hey, it’s a blessing in disguise… You don’t want your love to come back to a bum. Talk about the quickest way to ruin a reunion :-/ In a nutshell, long distance relationships obviously require a lot of complicated things like commitment and trust and emotions… But they also require a plan.
One of my favorite aspects of a long distance relationship is… Well, being the sapiosexual that I am… These kind of relationships require a lot more than the physical. As a matter of fact, these relationships call for a hell of a lot of emotional work, a terrifying amount of communication, and the utmost communication. Especially because now you are presented with the opportunity to relearn them. Long distance has literally made me the biggest sap I have ever met. Its bad.
Plus, it’s far easier to see when someone doesn’t have their heart in it, whereas a “normal” relationship, the signs aren’t as clear. For instance, and not to shit on normal relationships because Lord knows I can’t wait to be reunited with my “him,” you frequently see a couple stay in a “normal” relationship because that’s easier than ending it. Meanwhile, that doesn’t work in long distance relationships. If you’re not fully committed, the hours of Skype, the texts, the phone calls wouldn’t be worth it. Like, I wouldn’t skip out on the hookah bar with friends to Skype my boyfriend if I weren’t as committed as he is. Even if we’re just Skyping to talk about the mundane parts of our separate lives, celebrating the boring will help maintain the interrelatedness *as aforementioned.
I strongly advise anyone currently in or thinking of being in a long distance relationship to DEFY THE DISTANCE! With technology, as my boyfriend loves to praise, doing stuff together apart is soooo easy. Like watching a movie together via skype, share youtube links, or whoa! Wait. Before I forget, let me tell yall—I found this really dope thing [one time for technology] While you and yours are apart, maybe you could try writing a time capsule email. Basically you just, write an email to yourself and your boyfriend/girlfriend to be sent in the future by using FutureMe.org. This is something you can do for them or something that you can do together. Write about how much you love them. Include maybe some recent things you have done and fond memories you have now that you may not remember in x amount of years. Maybe include current problems in your relationship, so when you receive the email in the future, you can see if you still have the same issues you did back then or be pleased that you’ve made it through some hard times in your relationship. You choose when it gets delivered. OMG! And how cute would it be to send it on your anniversary or sexiversary, whatevs. Not to mention, you can send it all the way until 2037! Anddd its free.99! Ayyyyyye. And omg omg omg. I just found long distance pillows! With the shape of the state and hearts and arrows leading to the other. Oh my lanta.
Anyways, I know before we parted physical ways, my boyfriend was ridiculously hype for Godzilla (I date the world’s biggest movie geek) but anyway, any and every… I MEAN EVERY! Chance he got, he was watching a Godzilla trailer, and of course, I wasn’t as excited as he was, hell, no one was, but because I knew how much it meant to him, I made it a point to see it as well. I couldn’t wait to talk to him about it afterwards. That’s just one of many creative ways to bond. For instance, I made sure he took this jar I made for him filled with colored paper hearts that are filled with Reasons A-Z “Why I Love You.” Leave a piece of you behind that they can touch, regardless if a piece of your heart will suffice.
Of course, its not always gonna be so simple unless the two of you understand what you have. Being vocal about end-goals and expectations will allow you both to build together in achieving them.
If you have control issues, now is the best time to work on them. Honor your significant other’s free will because as long as you both are equally interested in the relationship, as well as being in it, the distance, I promise you, will not make a difference. Just don’t be shy when it comes to doubts, uncertainty, and even fear. Because no one should ever have to feel alone in a relationship, especially since a long distance relationship is lonely as it is.
So rather than spending what seems like never-ending days leading up to returning to your love, in the dark, listening to The Weeknd, or worst, Drake… Be happy that you have more time to spend with family and friends and less time to argue about clothes he forgot to put away [or snapping on your partner impulsively in general]. Relish in knowing you have more time to grow as individuals and less time to lose your actual self. By growing as individuals, I mean, pursuing interests and hobbies, as well as career objectives. Long distance encourages you to be the best version of yourself, embrace it. Plus, its cool knowing you exist in two places: here and where they are… If I do say so myself.
With each day that passes, the love grows. And the more the love grows, the trust grows exponentially; and you realize… Long distance isn’t so hard. You see, so many of us have this idea of love that it is measured by just how “inseparable” a couple must be… When the fact remains—love isn’t about that at all. Love is about being apart and not a damn thing changed …For the worse, that is.