Updated: May 1
A long distance relationship refers to 2 people who are in an intimate relationship with each other but are geographically separated. This can be in another state or in a different country.
If you're feeling as if you are the only one going through this, you're in for a surprise....you are not alone. They're currently about 14 to 15 million people in a long distance relationship, just in the USA, and the amount is growing. But surely not for the pleasant ride.
Challenges of long distance relationships
Being in a long distance relationship can be extremely challenging. It's really hard to be separated as a couple when all you want is to be with each other every second of every day. This makes it even more remarkable that more and more people choose to have such a relationship. Thankfully for our generation we are blessed with the ability to video call or chat with each other, something that used to be out of the question when the internet didn't exist yet. I bet a lot of us can relate to the late night video calls until bedtime to soften the loneliness of an empty bed.
Although the amount of people in a long distance relationship is growing, compared to everyone else it's just a drop in the ocean. The majority won't understand what you are going through, or even why you're doing it. Don't let this discourage you! We've had great friends who were there for us, but outside of that circle people questioned every detail of the situation.
The amount of 'non-support' may pull you down; from comments on the authenticity of the relationship to whether you can trust your partner not to cheat on you. As if cheating is exclusive to people who are far away from each other. It's the person, not the play they're in. But where it all comes down to is if you and your partner are ready and willing to go through this journey. It's not like the rest of the world is in a relationship with you, so let them be and consider their remarks as a sign of ignorance. You and your significant other know the situation best and how it is, and that is all that matters. If you feel the connection and power to go through with it are there, by all means go for it!
Advantages of long distance relationship
And it's not like there aren't any advantages at all to it. As a couple in a long distance relationship you grow and learn to appreciate the time together. You have less ways to interact, so you'll appreciate even the smallest gestures. And whenever you visit each other you enjoy the time spend together so much more because you can see the value in it. Every kiss, hug and touch is experienced in all of its intensity. Holding on to it until the very last moment because you know it's going to take a long time before you can have that again. You make every second with each other count, a thing that some couples under normal circumstances take for granted.
But the biggest and maybe even the most important thing you learn is to have trust in each other, but really trust each other. Yes, you aren't there to see what your partner's up to most of the time, which forces you immediately to develop a deep trust with each other. It's a make it or break it, while in 'normal relationships' you can dwell on for a long time before realising it is not the thing you are looking for.
This aspect of the relationship is usually why people question a long distance relationship, it's scary to trust someone to such an extent because it makes you very vulnerable. But if you two are meant to be and get through it, you develop a bond that is almost indestructible. You develop an instinct to know when your partner is sad, happy or struggling without them saying a word. You learn to appreciate every part of your relationship in a special way.
In the end, the truth about long distance relationships is that it's challenging and not for the faint of heart, but also a growing experience both personal and as a couple. You learn to love each other for the person who they are and not for the looks, sex or because you are afraid to be alone, because it can be quite lonely. But trust us, when you can finally close the distance, feel your partner's touch and know it is there to stay, it'll be all worth it.