I never thought long distance was a sustainable way to have a relationship. Hell, I don’t even want to drive across town to see someone much less fly or take a road trip! But sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and your heart says “do it! You love him!” even though your brain says “really? This is going to be expensive, and time consuming…is he worth it?” However, I have now been in a pretty great long distance relationship for about nine months now and there are definitely some pros that outweigh the cons.
I live in Los Angeles and my boyfriend lives in Calgary, Canada. So right out of the gate I had to decide if this was something I wanted to be serious about. You don’t start flying around the continent for someone you only kinda like. He and I had to really talk about what this was going to be and by virtue of those discussions we cut the bullshit pretty fast because we just didn’t have the resources to waste with the whole – don’t want to look like I’m trying to hard—phase that usually comes at the beginning of modern dating.
Secondly, having a long distance relationship creates a weird sense of balance for me. Because we only have limited time together, when we do have that time, we make sure it is quality time. Lots of going out and doing things together, quality cuddles, and of course sex like three times a day. But when we aren’t together we are each able to focus a lot more on our own lives, our own careers, and our own friends. There’s not that weird tug at the back of your head that questions how much time you should be spending together. You already have a fixed quantity so it’s like a decision has been taken off your plate by the nature of your circumstance.
Lastly, I believe it improves communication. My boyfriend and I are lucky enough that we really only spend a few weeks apart at a time. However, during those times apart, we FaceTime almost every evening and text sporadically throughout the day. As great as technology has gotten, there are still miscommunications and other flaws of wifi-only communication, but this isn’t always a bad thing. I think having to navigate the communication challenges has made us trust each other more and make a much larger effort to discuss things that feel a little off.
I won’t lie, there are a lot of negatives to being in a long distance relationship. To be frank, it costs more money and time. As I write this, I’m on the second leg of a flight up to Canada. Secondly, and this is perhaps the biggest negative in my eyes, is that you miss all that interim space that is so important to relationships. You know when you’re just hanging out in the same room and you manage to get yourselves into this great conversation about life, or something? You can’t really have that when you’re doing long distance because all your time together is scheduled. We can’t just decide to have a great conversation every night on FaceTime. Sometimes we don’t really have much to say.
In the end, I now believe that long-distance can work, both parties just have to be willing to put in the effort. There are two things that I believe are most important if you are in a long distance relationship or are considering one:
- Communication! As I said above, this can be hard, but it is vital! You basically have to make up for all the time you don’t get face to face time, so having clear and frequent communication will make you feel much better about where you guys stand as the relationship progresses.
- Trust. If you don’t trust the other person, stop right now. You’ll drive yourself nuts worrying about what the other person is doing all the time. There will be stretches of hours, or days, or even weeks, when one person is super busy or just not very responsive. You have to be able to deal with that and trust the relationship or you’ll stress out and probably cause the relationship to implode. You can’t have any relationship without trust, and while doing long distance, it is imperative.
It’s been really interesting to explore doing something I thought was only for love-struck romantics (what have I become?!) or for the movies and it’s nice to see that in today’s globalized society, not only are these types of relationships becoming more common, but they are becoming much more fun.