Both of us here at The Pursuit of Balance have had our turns in long distance relationships. Nicole and Kriss were separated from Washington to California for almost 2 years and Samantha and Justin just ended their stint of being the Washington to Oklahoma couple for the last year.
Between the two of us, we have just under 3 years of long distance love affairs under our belt, and fortunately we were both able to make it out alive and still with our partners. In those three years we cannot tell you how many times we heard...
"That is so amazing you guys are still together"
"That is so romantic you guys are still making it work"
"That must be true love"
All of these things might be true, but let us be perfectly clear when we say this - there is nothing romantic or fun about being in a long distance relationship with the person you love. This is no joke people, long distance is rough! Being in a long distance relationship is like being committed to an imaginary friend - he is invisible to all of your friends and family and you are the only one who can hear him.
We will admit that we were both a little naïve to the realities of a long distance relationship before we decided to dive right into one, which is why we wanted to spend some time today to talk about the 5 Harsh Truths of Long Distance Relationships (LDR).
- Long Distance Relationships are EXPENSIVE
- Traveling is always expensive and if you are in a LDR you will be traveling A LOT. Even if you are not traveling just figure in all of the other expenses of being in a relationship + a shiny new data plan to cover all of your phone conversations - you will quickly realize that you need to add a new line item on your monthly budget.
- Classic Miscommunication
- Happens all the time. You call your SO, they do not answer, some time goes by and then you suddenly start to panic… "why are they avoiding me?", "who are they with?", "is the relationship is over?!" and then he calls and informs you that he was just napping on the couch… This (well, maybe not this specific scenario but something along these lines) has happened to EVERYONE I have ever talked to in a LDR no matter how secure of a person you are. Long distance requires a lot of blind trust which in turn opens you up to being extremely vulnerable and sometimes vulnerability makes you a little bit… crazy.
- Accept the inevitable truth that you two will grow apart (and closer in some ways)
- The moment that you realize that your SO is building a new life without you is among the hardest and most challenging times in any LDR. They need to have friends outside of your phone conversations, and honestly, you do too. You start to make new friends that your SO does not know visa versa. For us, we both agree (Samantha and Nicole), that it was at this phase of our relationships that we realized that life would go on if we broke up and we would have a support system to put us back together. This is when we had to actively decide that we were in this for the long haul.
- Visiting your SO is not real life
- Visiting your SO after having not seen them for days, weeks, or even months is like jumping right back into the honeymoon phase of your relationship. It is magical, almost like a vacation… oh wait, that is because it is a vacation. You get to throw away all responsibilities and just enjoy each other, you do not let your pet peeves get the best of you, and you probably do not talk about any lingering issues that might have come up because you are just trying to be in the moment. That is okay, but just remember that those issues do not disappear. The things that annoy you before, during, and after the visit will likely annoy you exponentially more if you two were to move in together, or hell, even live in the same state!
- If you do not have a plan for when the distance will end your relationship will feel doomed
- Please note, we did not say "it will be doomed" we said it will "feel doomed". Long distance is not a sustainable relationship for most - humans are social creatures and odds are if you are committing to someone who is far away you want to actually be around them. The countdown to when the distance was over was what got both of us through this - granted we did not have an exact date on the calendar when our SO's moved away, but we had a general timeline of one to two years. I cannot stress how important this timeline is - you have to know when this is going to end, which means you also have to know who is willing to move to the other. Samantha was lucky enough to have Justin move to her, Nicole had to make the tough decision to leave everything she knew to move to Kriss. As with all relationships, it is give and take.
The moral of the story is that Long Distance Relationships are hard and they are draining. Whether you started your relationship as a long distance duo or, like with Samantha and Nicole, it became long distance after years spent together makes no difference. The separation is hard. You have to go through things alone that you would normally have a partner for. You learn to go to events full of other couples by yourself because your SO is across the country. Slowly but surely the questions of when you’ll be together again, who is going to move where and how could you possibly make this work?!? start to weigh on you, how could they not?