Loving Miles Apart

When Charlie Brown said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” he was right in adding, “but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.” I mean, it’s hard enough to make local relationships work. Imagine how much more difficult it is to have miles, countries, time zones or even oceans between you and your significant other. Being in a long-distance relationship means missing out on a lot of the little things most people take for granted. It means feeling sick with envy and sometimes bitterness at couples that can do the “boring things” together: taking classes, cooking meals, having coffee, doing dishes, etc. It may also mean skipping out on parties or events in order to catch that phone call. For some of us, this doesn’t sound like the plotline to a chick flick. It sounds like reality.

I speak from experience when I say that long-distance relationships are challenging. In fact, whenever I tell people that my boyfriend goes to West Point in New York, I am greeted with a familiar tilt of the head and look of pity. Though I see him approximately three weeks of the year this is nothing to be pitied for. That’s why when my professor lectured on the importance of proximity in attraction, I perked up in disagreement. Thinking he would shoot down the hopeless romantic in me, he expanded on this by asking, “Why would you date someone in New York City when there’s someone next door in your dorm? I mean, if you are, he had better be pretty special.” Amidst the chuckles and scoffs that went around the room, I sat there thinking, “He is.” Cheesy, but true.

Of course, long distance relationships are hard. They require a special sort of patience, endurance and perspective to overcome the obstacles of distance and time zones. However, in my opinion, they are not impossible. If that person miles away from you really is worth “embracing the suck” (as many so adequately describe it), then hang on tight. In fact, because of new technological advances, it’s so much easier to be in a long-distance relationship now than it was ten years ago. By taking advantage of online chats, text messages and video chatting, it becomes a lot easier to incorporate your significant other’s life into your own.

I’ve also noticed that being in long-distance relationships helps you appreciate the other person a lot more. Instead of focusing on the annoying habits of the other person, it’s easier to see the good. Because you do not see each other very often, it makes the time that you do have exceptionally sweet. The limitations on your time together give your conversations a sense of urgency that cuts right through petty arguments and bickering. Another thing I’ve noticed about living miles from your significant other is that it gives you a chance to develop a relationship based on conversation and mutual trust. It may not sound like much, but the ability to resolve big issues with words and a little patience makes a relationship so much stronger.

When it comes down to it, long-distance relationships are about patience. It’s remembering that you are dating the person, not the circumstance. I know it’s corny, but I do believe Virgil when he says “love conquers all.” That’s why I believe that, though it may be a struggle, it’s absolutely possible. So, for all of you who are missing your boyfriend or girlfriend, chin up! Don’t give up just because it’s hard. Sure, you’ll have your ups and downs, but you just might end up proving my professor right and finding out that your significant other is “pretty special” after all.