I was born a child of the information age. I grew up with computers – my family first got internet when I was five years old, so I’ve pretty much always had the chance to talk to people who were far away. Of course, chat rooms aren’t really a place to find love (not that I was looking for love when I was five), but that’s not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of long-distance relationships.
They’re sometimes hard to understand. Funny thing about distance, you’ll either realize how much you miss someone or you’ll realize how much better you are on your own. With more and more people finding love on the internet these days, long-distance relationships seem to be more common than ever – but truly, they’re nothing new.
Perk: You have time to do your own thing.
Happy, healthy relationships require the partners to maintain their autonomy. Sometimes, when we live with our partner, it can be tempted to fall into the “we” mentality. If you’re far apart, you maintain your own independence. You’re not automatically scheduling for two – you’re responsible for yourself.
Hurt: You wonder what they do with their time.
Jealousy can run rampant in a long-distance relationship, especially if either of you has a history of infidelity. Some long-distance couples negotiate a “hall pass” type rule, where they’re allowed to see other people, as long as their time together is dedicated to each other. If you’re the jealous type, or the wandering type, this might be a good way to work it out. It won’t work for everyone, though.
Perk: You have your own space.
I’m not sure about you, but I need my own space sometimes. I like being alone sometimes, and I need to know that I can spend my time by myself. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you maintain your own space, because you’re not sharing it with your partner. You will have to pay bills at your place, and your partner will have to pay bills at her place – but you won’t have to worry about sharing every last thing.
Hurt: You have a LOT of alone time.
Being in a long-distance relationship can be lonely sometimes. This can be particularly true if you don’t like sleeping alone (I don’t). It doesn’t mean you’re doomed, though. If you can work it to your advantage, you might find that your long-distance relationship proves that you’re not just with your partner because you’re lonely. After all, you’ll still be lonely – but you’ll have someone to think of to pass the time.
Perk: Your time together will be extra special.
For couples who spend the majority of their time together, it can begin to blur together and become one giant date – with the details being indistinguishable. If you have to wait a long time between visits with your partner, you are more likely to value the time you do spend together. After all, it’s not like you can just try again when you’re in a better mood – you have now, so make the most of it.
Hurt: You’re going to miss each other. A lot.
It goes without saying that, if you care about your partner, you’ll want to be close to her – and in a LDR, this isn’t always easy. But you can speak to each other over the phone, over Skype, in text messages – this is, after all, the age of technology and communication. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and many of them are free.
Perk: Surprises are easier when you don’t have to hide them.
I am very bad at surprises – but I’ve always wanted to be the type of person to surprise my partner. I’m spontaneous enough, but I’m not good at keeping secrets. If you’re not living with your partner, it can be easier to surprise her – after all, you’ve only got to worry about spilling the beans when you’re actually talking to each other. There’s pretty much zero chance that she’s going to happen to come across the Christmas presents you put off wrapping until the last minute.
Hurt: Plans sometimes fall through.
One of the most difficult things to deal with in a long distance relationship can be a plan that fell through. Even the most carefully-laid plans are occasionally blown apart by things out of our control. And if the surprise you’re planning (see the perk above) is to come visit her when she’s not expecting you – there’s a chance this surprise won’t work out as well as you’d planned. A long-distance relationship has to keep expectations loose, otherwise there’s bound to be disappointment.
So is it worth it?
If you really care about this woman, a long-distance relationship can definitely be worth all the hurt that comes along with the territory. All relationships require trust, communication, and respect, but even short-term distance can put a greater emphasis on these things.
They’re definitely not right for everyone – and there is always a chance for jealousy, loneliness, and heartbreak. But if the two of you are able to find balance in your relationship, the distance won’t make as much of a difference as you might be afraid of. And if you find that you work better apart, that doesn’t always mean that you need to break up
Sometimes, a little distance is all you need to put your priorities in perspective.