Benjamin Franklin once stated, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes.” Let me share with you another inevitability. If you’re ever in a long-distance relationship (LDR), at least one person will smugly inform you that it’ll only break your heart.
They’ll quote the same tired statistics about breakup rates, tell you that long-distance relationships foster remoteness between couples, and caution you about cheating. However, long-distance relationships can last if they’re meant to be.
As someone who’s currently in an LDR, I can easily rattle off an interminable list of downsides. But I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, and I appreciate the positive aspects of an LDR, too.
First, it takes the physical element out of a relationship. Rather than being able to constantly touch your significant other, you have to make do with meeting up every few months. You can’t have a relationship based simply on sensuality because there simply isn’t enough to sustain it. You are forced to create something deeper and more meaningful than simply skin-to-skin contact.
Second, it makes you a better communicator. Without the ability to really talk to your partner, any kind of relationship won’t last. In an LDR, you don’t always have the chance to look your significant other in the eye and tell them that you love them. Instead, you show your affection and intimacy through long conversations and heart-to-hearts. You discover new things about each other, share the highs and lows of your days, and create inside jokes together.
Third, it makes you confront the old green-eyed monster. I won’t say that this was easy for me, since I’m a naturally jealous person. Knowing that someone is hundreds of miles away from you can open up some pretty crazy fantasies. Here, trust is vital. You have to open yourself to vulnerability and take your significant other at their word. That exposure strengthens your relationship and gives you the chance to build faith.
Finally, it forces you to live independently from your relationship. You can’t be just one half of a couple anymore. You have to create your own life in college with your own friends, activities and goals. The chance of losing yourself in living vicariously through someone else also decreases. The independence allows you to become a better partner to your significant other and helps you to mature as your own individual.
So how do you bring together the pros and cons into a successful relationship? To boil it down, there’s a few key aspects to an effective LDR: appreciation, communication and dedication. You have to appreciate your partner as a full and trustworthy person, communicate deeply and often, and remain dedicated to your relationship through planning and effort. If your relationship can go the distance, it can go through anything.
In the end, though, it’s about the other person. My LDR is the best relationship of my life, and that’s because I’m in it with the love of my life. If they’re the one for you and you’re devoted to your relationship, you can make it work. Like lifting weights, it takes effort, but it can make you stronger, too.