Long distance relationships create a unique set of challenges that can be really hard to navigate. Finding positivity within a distinctly difficult situation may seem hopelessly optimistic, but there are some benefits to loving at a distance.
I was in a long distance relationship (LDR) for 4 years. The distance between us was just under 4,000 miles (UK to the USA) and while those years apart were relentlessly disheartening, there were some valuable outcomes. I’m in no way dismissing the absolute shit show LDRs can be (and the emotional toll they take), but in the hopes of helping anyone get through something similar, here are 5 ways that loving at a distance can be a positive experience …
Patience Is A Virtue
The whole premise of LDRs is that you’re always waiting. You wait for the next phone call or FaceTime, the next email, letter or care package, the next face-to-face visit, etc, etc, etc. You master how to be patient between each lulling interval when you don’t get to connect with your loved one. And although being patient may sometimes feel like an itch you can’t scratch, it’s a personal skill you can apply to everyday situations outside of a long distance relationship.
Romance Is More Comprehensive
During LDRs, you realize that romance and expressions of someone’s love for you are often articulated through the little things that they do for you. It’s revealed through missed sleep and the setting of early morning alarms because of time differences. It’s communicated through constant schedule revisions that make sure phone calls aren’t missed. It’s nestled amongst the surprise care packages when you’re struggling more than usual or the ‘just because’ cards to make you laugh, etc. LDRs have an amazing ability to show you the countless ways ‘I love you’ is spoken.
Time Becomes Exponential
For many in LDRs, living in different time zones is really common. Being able to find precious moments to connect over the phone or via video chat can be an organizational nightmare. After a period of trial and error, you pretty much become super efficient at scheduling/planning time to spend with your person. Flexibility, and being able to make timetable revisions become second nature (another useful, everyday skill) and you learn how to create time when there seems to be none.
Communication Becomes A Superpower
When moments together gets constrained, you become really good at talking effectively to one another. Eclectic topics of conversation can be crammed into short periods of time. Listening and problem-solving becomes productive, and you somehow create a rhythm between the two of you that weaves each other’s existence into your separated lives.
Self-reflection Reveals All
Potentially, the most insightful aspect of being in a long distance relationship is the self-exploratory learning you undertake. You develop a clear understanding of what you bring to the table – good and bad – and what you’ll accept from someone else. And even though it can constantly feel like you’re waiting to exhale, or that you’re stuck in some kind of perpetual pause, LDRs will give you time to get to know yourself and what you’re really willing to work for.
As I mentioned before, long distance relationships are relentlessly disheartening, so finding some positives amongst all the difficulty can be hard to see. I hope this article serves as a reminder that loving at a distance can actually have some benefits.
If you’ve been in a long distance relationship, what advice would you give to someone who is in one? What did you learn about yourself?