Two years ago, when I started my freshman year of college, everyone told me not to worry about starting a long distance relationship. Joey and I had already been dating for almost two years, and besides, it was just college.
It wasn’t like we were being shipped off to war and might not see each other again. It would just be four months apart, Christmas break together, four months apart, three months of summer break together, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Piece of cake.
“It’ll get easier,” everyone said.
Two years later, now engaged to Joey, but still in separate states, and with just a little over a year left to go in my undergraduate career, I can look back at that moment, smile, laugh, and say, “Boy, were they wrong!”
Long distance relationships are anything but easy, even now, though I’m only in Wisconsin, while he’s home in Illinois. Take it from me, Joey and I spent two years in Florida and Wisconsin respectively, it isn’t an easy feat!
I know what you might be thinking, isn’t it easier now that he’s two hours away instead of sixteen? No. It’s not. Apart is still apart. In fact, I’m finding that it’s even harder being so close because he’s close enough that I could in theory see him if I just drive two hours, but I can’t.
Even though saying goodbye and being apart doesn’t ever get easier, I have to say that I think both Joey and I have learned a lot by experiencing a long distance relationship. Here are a few thoughts:
1. It’s okay to spend time apart.
Every relationship needs a little bit of autonomy. Some people like more than others, but regardless, everyone needs it. Think of it as a time to relax or a time to grow and learn something new that you can share with your partner.
2. Don’t take your time together for granted.
Treasure the little moments. Not everything you do together has to be an extravagant dinner date. Go for a walk, go shopping together, enjoy a bike ride, or just sit on the couch and talk about life. It’s your relationship, just do the things you love together, even if right now that means sitting on the phone for an hour to talk about last week’s episode of The Voice.
3. Risk everything for love.
Time is fleeting and nothing is certain. So, if you find love, and it’s really, truly love, don’t let anything get in the way of that. If you keep waiting around for the right situations to arise, your relationship will never be successful. Take chances and enjoy love while it lasts, whether it’s a few days or a whole lifetime.