Long Distance Relationships: Is It Really Worth It?
In this day and age, long-distance relationships are more common than you think. With access to phones, video messaging systems as well as airplanes and cars, living miles apart from that special someone should be doable, right? Let's explore the realities of being in a long-distance relationship and the needed essentials for surviving it.
How it all started.
If anyone were to ask me a few years ago if I would ever consider doing a long-distance relationship, the answer would be “Hell No!”. To live miles apart from my significant other did not seem doable for me. In the past, I was in relationships that didn't work out even though we went to the same school or lived in the same state. So, to date someone who lives across state lines was a huge no thank you for me. Basically, a long-distance relationship was something that was never on my agenda. But of course, life has a funny way of adding things to your space that you did not necessarily intend to have.
Michael and I have been dating since late April 2018. We met a few times through a mutual friend a couple years ago during various homecoming events. We were interested in each other but at the time, we were both dealing with our own situations. When we met again in October 2017, I had zero intentions of having another boyfriend. In fact, I had just gotten out of a relationship and I was so focused on finishing my final year of undergrad that a boyfriend was the very last thing on my mind. But after he finally asked for my number, we immediately hit it off and from then, beautiful things began to unfold between us. To this day I am still amazed at how God unexpectedly threw him into my life but hey, that is how the good Lord operates. Now another thing that I didn't expect was that this would turn out to be my very first long-distance relationship.
When we first started dating, I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) and Michael lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BR). Although the drive was merely an hour and some change, I guess you could say that we started off somewhat long distance. But it worked out great for us! I will admit that sometimes I complained about having to drive to see him or vice versa but we managed to see each other almost every weekend. After I finished undergrad in May 2018, I moved back home with my parents in Alabama. Moving to Alabama had definitely expanded the distance between us but we prevailed. During that summer we made sure to see each other as much as we could. Although I did regret my previous constant complaining of the drive from NOLA to BR, I now desperately missed that short, easy ride. We didn't see each other as often as we did when we both lived in Louisiana, but still, we made it work.
By the end of the summer I was accepted into graduate school in Houston, Texas and we promptly moved all of my belongings to my new residential state. Although the drive from Houston to BR is much shorter than from BR to Alabama, it was still a drive indeed. To date, Michael and I have been in a long-distance relationship for almost two years now and there is still a slight possibility of us living in separate cities/states for even longer due to the fact that I am in school and he is doing ah-mazing at his job (s/o to Engineer Bae). So, with us already being two years into the long-distance game and with the possibility of no end in sight anytime soon, now the question becomes: is it worth it?
Okay, let’s be real.
Our long-distance relationship really isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s not bad at all. Just annoying. With me being in school I can often utilize my school breaks to visit Michael. But when school, research, and his employment are all in high demand, traveling to see each other can be tough. Sometimes our busy schedule only permits us to see each other once a month. And don’t even get me started on how fast the weekend flies by when we do see each other. Now to those whom follow me on social media, it may seem as though Michael and I are together quite frequently. Yes, we do our very best to see each other as often as we can but there are a number of times where I want to be in his presence or have dinner with him and I simply cannot because we live hours apart.
If you are looking into being in a long-distance relationship, then prepare to only see each other once or twice a month. If you live too far apart for a drive, then prepare to book flights and sometimes book them well-in advance. Unless your schedule permits you to travel on a weekday, then prepare to say goodbye to Taco Tuesday dinner dates or mid-week movie nights. Also, FaceTime will be your best friend. I remember that I once became excruciatingly annoyed because I was tired of only being able to see my boyfriend through a phone screen. Prepare to slightly envy your other "coupled friends." To be honest, I am sometimes jealous when I see friends whom live with their significant other or within close proximity. Warning: if you're big on constant affection and intimacy, this may sometimes be a challenge. Prepare to question yourself if this is something that you truly want? I often think that our distance is so unfair but I have to remind myself that this was a choice. Our choice. I chose to move to Texas and he chose to stay in Louisiana. Although we don't regret our choices, our situation still sucks.
Long-distance doesn't last forever. Eventually you and your significant other will be together in the same city, state, and household (if those are your intentions). Holding on to the hope that one day we will no longer have to travel far to see each other is one of the main things that keeps us going.
Although, long-distance can be a hassle; sometimes it can be a blessing as well. If you are like me and you love your solitude, then being in a long-distance relationship may just work for you. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love spending time with my man! BUT I love having my own space and being in my solitude sometimes as well. Both parties get plenty of "me" time. Long-distance is also beneficial because it allows you to cultivate your own personal goals/business that you have going on. For example, Michael is excelling at his job while I am doing the same in grad school. Yes, there are jobs in his field here in Texas and yes, I could transfer to a school or program in Louisiana. But God did not intend for us to do that just yet. We are where we are for a reason.
Additional benefits of being in a long-distance relationship is the opportunity for you to strengthen your communication, organization, and trust-worthy skills. Now of course any relationship whether it is long-distance or not, gives you the opportunity to expand on these skills. But being in a long-distance relationship literally forces you to possess and improve these traits. Communication is everything. There is not a day that goes by where Michael and I don’t talk. We have even non-consciously created a communication schedule where he calls me whenever he is leaving from work and I call him again when I am leaving my evening class. Although it can sometimes be annoying, thank God for FaceTime! Here's another advantage: A study done by Cornell University stated that couples who have hundreds of miles in between them tend to have longer, more meaningful conversations. Ha! Sorry geographically close couples, but our conversations are better!
Organization comes into play when you have to plan when you and your significant other will see each other. As stated before, due to our busy schedules, sometimes Michael and I are permitted to see each other only once or twice a month. When I visit or vice versa we usually plan a weekend filled with fun or chill activities since we don’t have the opportunity to do those things with each other weekly. And when we are both tired of visiting Louisiana or Texas, this gives us the perfect opportunity to plan a trip for something new. Luckily, I love to plan! So this is not a difficult trait for me.
Lastly, being in a long-distance relationship forces you to have 100% trust in your partner. Let's be honest; it is way easier to trust your partner when you live close or have easy access to each other rather than when you live miles and miles apart. This type of relationship absolutely forces you to trust your partner every single day. Ladies (and fellas), doing random "pop-ups" will be a bit harder in a long-distance relationship. Because trust is an on-going learning process for me, I do believe that being in a long-distance relationship has actually helped me to improve my ability to trust my significant other more. It also greatly helps that I don't have a boyfriend where I have to question his faithfulness. Again, this pertains to any relationship, but I highly suggest that you do not get yourself into a long-distance relationship with someone whom you have to frequently question their actions.
Overall, being in a long-distance relationship definitely makes you cherish the times that you do spend with your significant other. You gain a colossal amount of appreciation for being able to see that special someone, even if it is just for a day or two. Most importantly, long-distance is not for the weak. This type of relationship may force you out of your comfort zone and forces you to evaluate your commitment to each other. Although it has been hard, this is by far the best relationship that I have ever been in and I will never let something as pivotal as distance, get in our way. Michael and I have big plans for our future and I would hate to give all of that up merely due to a few hours between us. If you are thinking about getting into a long-distance relationship, I say go for it because you never know where it may lead you! It is definitely worth it. I've listed a few difficulties that you should prepare yourself for but I've also detailed the advantages of being in a long-distance relationship. Feel free to follow my essentials because again, you never known where this type of relationship may lead you. It may just be your best relationship yet.
Note: I would like to point out that I am grateful for our circumstances because there are couples whom have wayyyy more distance between each other. Please keep the families who are separated overseas in your heart, thoughts, and prayers.
“Distance means so little when someone means so much.” -Unknown
Xi’s Takeaway Essentials:
Don’t be afraid of long-distance.
Every relationship is different. Tailor your relationship to you specific needs.
Practice being patient.
Being optimistic is key. Have faith that God will one day bring y'all together under one roof.