10 Things Tuesday: 10 Good Things about Long Distance Relationships

Written by Andrea

Long distance relationships just never work, right?

I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I have heard that.

It can be a pretty negative statement to say to someone, especially when they are in the midst of a long distance relationship. There are stories to back up the negative statement, too. Oh yes. People love to share stories of infidelity and lies. While I am 100% certain that most people never meant a harmful word when they shared these stories, it was not always fun to hear them and to let your imagination run with it.

What makes long distance relationships so hard? Other people. How do I know? Brad and I spent our four years of college at least four hours apart. And, yes, we did survive it (for now, anyway, haha).

People are always very interested in hearing about how we made it through our long distance relationship… and they always want to know if we had a hard time keeping it together. I promise you it wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t the torture that other people might view it as.

So, my Ten Things Tuesday for this week… 10 Good Things About Long Distance Relationships.

  1. Absence does really make the heart grow fonder. No, my husband does not think I’m evil because I say this. And, no, I don’t take it personally that he thinks this, too. Brad and I would see each other nearly every weekend from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. We would talk throughout the week over the phone, via e-mail, you name it. But, we only got to really spend any time together on the weekends. And, while we missed each other (at least I missed him anyway), it did make it a little more special when we were together. We really seemed to cherish that time a little more.
  2. You find your own independence. Particularly in college, it meant a lot for both of us to be able to branch out, make new friends, and find our own interests. Had we been at the same school, we most likely would have spent every waking moment together (to a fault) and would have probably never considered doing many of the things we did (both of us interned in Washington, DC at different points, I joined a sorority, etc.).
  3. You learn to trust each other. Brad is completely cracking up reading this line. This one is often used in our home, still. And, Brad completely thinks that I don’t trust him at all. While I would love to argue that I trust him entirely and that I would never doubt his affection for me, I am a human woman… and have one serious hang up. I don’t trust anyone entirely (well, except probably my own mom). However, I have to say that when you live four hours from the person you love for four years, you have to trust the other person. I have and have had my doubts about Brad’s ability to be faithful to me for that long, but I just can’t focus on it. I’m sure that if he did anything, he completely and utterly regrets it because he just loves me so much that he couldn’t ever do anything to hurt me.:)Haha.
  4. You strengthen your friendship with your significant other. You have to really like each other if your primary form of communication for the biggest part of the relationship is through the phone or online, etc. You have to be able to have some pretty good conversations and find some serious common ground. Brad and I struggled at times with communicating. I like to talk… to express my feelings. Brad likes to state the facts… figure out any major details that need to be included and hang up. Yes. It was a challenge. We did, figure out ways to spend time together, just like we would have if we were actually there together. I can remember watching the Super Bowl one year with Brad on the phone for nearly the entire game. We didn’t talk the entire time… just talked about a specific play or player or some other general game statistic when we felt like it. It was almost as fun as being there together.
  5. You strengthen your friendships with others. You find out that you really have more time for other people than you would have if you were constantly planning around your significant other. Cilla and I have been friends since fourth grade, but our friendship really and truly developed into what it is today in our Freshman year of college. I often wonder if we would be as close if Brad had been closer. I often think that, sadly, I would have probably invested less of myself in our friendship had Brad been there. Brad would not have intentionally kept us apart, but I would have spent more time worrying about seeing him instead of trying to spend time with Cilla.
  6. You start to think in terms of “If we can endure this… we can endure anything.” It truly makes you more confident in your relationship when you see that you can make it through tough times. I never had one single doubt about marrying Brad. I knew that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t survive (I was slightly nervous that we would be sick of being around each other for a few days each week… hehe).
  7. You realize that you can survive without each other. That doesn’t sound good, does it? Well, I learned that as much as I loved Brad, I knew I could survive without him. Now, that sounds cold. I realize. It would not be easy to live without him, especially now, but I could. I would never want to (I’m clarifying and confirming that I do in fact love my husband).:) I used to think that my mom was terrible for telling me that she wanted me to be able to take care of myself no matter what… because terrible things happen to people (death, divorce, etc.). She always told me that she wanted me to make sure I got an education so that I could take care of myself in the event that I needed to. So, yes, it was reassuring to learn that I could actually do that. I could do my own laundry, live in a home by myself, take care of my own bills, etc.
  8. Your dates are special. I hesitate to say more special, because I don’t know that it’s the case… but they are special. Because we didn’t get to do the normal things that most college kids get to do together, when we did get together, we tried to make the most of it. Oh, I can certainly remember doing nothing for entire weekends at a time (equally as cherished). But, I also remember us taking the time to have special dates together. We had picnics at the park, saw multiple movies at the theater in one day, spent days at the lake, went to college ball games, and even had our own vacations each summer together (just the two of us). It seemed like we were really “there” together… totally engrossed in the moment… because we knew our time together was short-lived.
  9. You don’t always get to share the big things, so you focus more energy on finding ways to enjoy the little things together. There were the big things that we couldn’t share, like the Super Bowl that we never got to see together during college (that I can recall anyway) or the 21st birthday parties that we both missed out on (still wonderful fun).:)Instead of focusing on those things (our Freshman year was filled with me focusing too much on those things), we started focusing on little things that we could share. Every Sunday, we drove together, side-by-side, on our little road until our road split… then, we blew each other a kiss and went our separate ways. Always. We sent each other little notes via e-mail, with nothing more than “Thinking about you…” or “I love you” written in them weekly.
  10. When it is over, you look back and appreciate it… and then you appreciate the fact that you don’t have to live that way anymore. I can’t even begin to think that what we did was remotely close to what military families go through. I think about the many moms and dads who are separated from their spouses, their children, their families. They are placed in harm’s way… they are gone for months or years at a time. They don’t have each weekend together. I can’t imagine how they do it and how they do it with so much grace, dignity, and pride. They risk their lives and their families for our freedom. And, you rarely ever hear a soldier or his/her family complain about it. I am humbled by them… and so appreciative for their sacrifice! Love you Jon, Joe, and all of you other soldiers!

 

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