Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a relationship-guru, I am just someone whom feels like I am a little wiser today than I was yesterday.
Having been in a long-distance relationship (LDR) for the better part of 2.5 years, I'd like to think that I have a bit of an understanding of what it entails. Reuben and I have been dating since July 23, 2014 and since then we have spent less than half that time in the same country. And often times I get the same general statement:
"Why do you do it? Long distance is so hard!"
To be fair, when we first started out I too thought it was going to be tremendously difficult, but in the last 2.5 years, I feel like I have grown and learned so much! And here are some of the things long-distance has taught me:
1. LDRs teaches you about true appreciation.
You don't take anything for granted: even if it is a simple meal together, or being able to hold each others' hands; every moment is real. The feel of the skin, the sound of the voice, the warmth of a hug; they are categorised and embedded into the memory, so that during the time we are apart I get to relive them again and again.
There is no greater hello than the first 'hello' we exchange after not seeing each other for months.
2. LDRs teaches you about communication.
I feel like a lot of relationships, not just romantic ones, fail because of the lack of ability the two parties have to communicate. When you are in a relationship where there is absolutely no way of interacting with one another other than verbally, you either get really good at it, or the relationship falls through very quickly.
On the day to day (and I know this is true because I've definitely stayed in relationships that are very wrong for me longer than I should have), there are so much distractions that whilst adds 'flavour' to the relationship, can also complicate it. The multi-layered dynamics of social circles, physical attraction, monetary enticements, etc., can make the importance of communication less obvious and so once the relationship develops to a point pass all the other added aspects, it fails due to the lack of strength in its foundations.
3. LDRs teaches you about trust.
Not just to trust, but also to be trustworthy. When you are miles away from your partner, it becomes very easy to doubt their intentions and vice versa. After all, how can you keep an eye on them if they're so far away? In order for LDRs to be at all successful, trust has to be a two-way street that both parties are very aware of. How does your partner feel about a particular situation and how can you compromise or reassure her/him that there is nothing to be worried about? How can you learn to let go of the feeling of jealousy when it comes to your partner and another individual? Trust is like a muscle, it needs to be strengthened and long-distance just helps build it.
4. LDRs teaches you about what you really, really want.
Nobody in their right minds, if not really into the other person, would do long distance. It's basically the bare bones of relationship minus all the supposed 'benefits' like taking away loneliness, having someone to do activities with, and physical comfort. Related to the point about communication: all you have to hold onto is the personality of your partner and that's it. Is this person someone you genuinely enjoy spending time with, is this person someone you deem worthy to put in the effort for, is this person really compatible for you? All of these are questions you can ask yourself on the daily basis because if it's a 'no', the relationship would not go far because let's be real here: long-distances are a lot of effort.
5. LDRs can help you figure out if this is 'the one'.
A lot of people probably have the question "am I dating 'the one'?" Am I making the right decision by choosing this person to be with for the rest of my life? While I have no clear-cut answers to that question I do believe that if the relationship is not strong enough to withstand long-distance, the relationship will not be strong enough to withstand marriage.
And it is for all the above reasons. If you can't do LDRs, you probably are lacking in the ability to communicate with your partner; to be able to trust or be trusted, as well as perhaps this is not really a relationship you truly feel like it would last. After all imagine the difficulties and trials a married couple has to go through: raising children, building a home, spending the rest of your lives living under the same roof. There is a reason divorce rates are as high as it is, a marriage (in my humble opinion because it is not like I really know anyway) is not just about feelings and emotions but effort and compatibility.
So yes, do you think you can do long-distance? Do you disagree with my points? Let me know and maybe we can have a debate about it.
Till next post,