As I have mentioned in a previous blog post (“21 things to achieve before I’m 21 (or at least, be on my way to achieving)” http://wp.me/p4FOMK-3l ), my lovely, caring, soppy and sometimes annoying boyfriend lives in Brazil, whilst I live in grey and rainy Britain. We have been going the distance for nearly a year now, which amazes and thrills me that we have come this far, but for now the future is uncertain as to when we will bridge the distance.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a whinging, poor little me post about how it is so hard and how we suffer for love (ew, no). A long distance relationship is just like any other relationship: fights, laughs, in-depth talks, and enjoying each others presence. Every relationship has it’s trials and demands a lot of hard work, knowing that the person is worth it all.
Instead I would rather mention a few benefits of being in a long distance relationship. There are many; from the super dramatic hellos and goodbyes at airports/train stations/wherever (it’s an emotional roller-coaster, but at least you can pretend you’re in a movie), to not feeling the pressure to shave so often if you just can’t be bothered. Here are a few that I feel are quite important:
1. You have more time for yourself
When my relationship first became long distance, a good friend of mine told me I have the best kind, because I have the benefit of being able to be independent, but also having the lovely man by my side (metaphorically). My initial reaction was “Hmm”. However, although it does not always feel like it, I can see she has a very good point. Life is manic and stressful, and sometimes having to devote so much time to another person can just add to the pressure. We both met as university students, and so the need to devote ourselves to our studies was very important. (I even wrote a few essays whilst visiting him in Brazil). Not just university/work, but the need to concentrate on yourself and your own interests is very important. It is so easy to find yourself lost in a relationship, wondering where the other person ends and you begin, but at least with long distance you have the time to focus only on yourself. I can practice my writing, explore new music, or just spend too much time on social media, all in the comfort of “me-time”.
2. No friend left behind
Another fear of being in a relationship is accidentally neglecting your friends. These are the people who support you the most in your relationship, who can make you laugh so hard your stomach hurts, and ALWAYS know when chocolate is needed. Therefore, with your partner somewhere else in the country or world, they are the people you need the most. As much as I love to see my boyfriend hang out and have a laugh with my friends, I also appreciate being able to do it just by myself.
3. It’s the little things
Too often can you take your partner for granted, but when you hardly ever see them, you can find yourself appreciating the little things more. Whether it’s being able to cuddle in front of a film, or remembering what it is like to kiss this person you chose to be your other half, everything just seems a little more awesome when you’ve been waiting ages to do so. Those rare times you get to visit each other may take you on some amazing adventures, but it is equally satisfying when one will turn to the other to say “Fancy getting a Chinese?”
4. Creativity evolves
Your partner lives far, far away: you can’t go to the cinema or take them to that nice looking restaurant you’ve been intending to visit. Normal date nights can’t happen, and sometimes saying “I love you” to a computer screen feels a little….distant. The fun of dating long distance means you can think of new and creative ways to have a date night, or to let the person know how much you care for them. Sometimes it’s cheesy but a laugh to cook yourself a meal, set the table with maybe a candle, and log onto Skype with your partner having done the same. It can be expensive to send a gift to them, so on important occasions when all you have is a card, you can find yourself writing something really meaningful to make them smile. Each couple discover their own unique ways of being able to say to the other “hey, you there. I really really really really care about you. Like A LOT”.
5. Never take them for granted
Similarly to point 3, knowing that the reason you’ve chosen to do long distance, despite pop culture, friends and maybe even yourself telling you it’s a bad idea, is because the person is without a doubt worth it. This really helps you to not take them too much for granted. During fights you (eventually) realise they’re not worth being angry at one another, and being able to cheer each other up no matter how many miles are in between you is one of the best feelings in the world. I believe it is healthy in any relationship to on occasion ask yourself “Is this person still right for me? Am I truly happy with them?”, especially when in long distance you may look to much towards the future and forget to focus on your present self. When you know the answer to these questions is “of course!”, you also know you will make sure that you are right for your partner, and will make them truly happy in return.
If there are any other long distancers out there: I salute you. It’s not easy being such a hopeless romantic (ahem), but the benefits definitely outweigh the cons.