Don’t Fear the Distance

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Two and a half years ago, my boyfriend and I made the ever-so-logical decision to start dating just a few weeks before I went to London for a semester. Many people thought we were insane. And I can see why. I was about to go spend four months in a foreign country and I had just decided to jump into a brand-new relationship. What about the strain the long (LONG) distance would put on the new relationship? As it turns out, doing long distance actually made our relationship better. Yeah, it wasn’t all unicorns pooping out rainbows. There were days when I wished we were in the same city/country. But if I had the chance to do it over, I wouldn’t change anything. Which is why I’m telling you: don’t fear the distance. People look at doing long-distance like it’s the kiss of death. It’s not. For newer relationships it might even be like when a singer gets a shot of vitamins in her butt if she’s sick right before a show. Meaning that it immediately boosts health and strength.

A little less action and a little more conversation

When you’re doing distance, you can’t just hook up all the time while you’re caught up in the glow of a new romance. You actually have to talk to this person, and connect with them on a deeper level. Hopefully you already did this before you became official, but this forces you to continue learning about each other. This is extremely important for new relationships, and is still important when it comes to maintaining long-term relationships.

See ya later, trust issues.

When you’re in a relationship with someone who lives in the same city, it can be easy to avoid any insecurities for several months (or even years) into the relationship. When you’re doing long-distance, you HAVE to trust the other person.  If you spend every night worrying about where he or she is, you will slowly go insane. Because of this, any and all worries must get taken care of right away. Again, hopefully you are the picture of sanity and don’t have any trust issues. But if you do, then this is a great way to face them head-on.

No zombies allowed.

Lastly, I’ve seen many normal people become love zombies when they get into a relationship. What I mean is that they start dating someone and forget about their friends, hobbies, family, etc. Even the most seemingly normal women can become love zombies. When you’re in a long-distance relationship it’s a lot harder to let this happen. Your boyfriend isn’t in the same city. You can’t spend every second of every day with him. This means you’re going to have to maintain a life as an independent entity. Also if you’re in a new city and want to explore, you aren’t going to want to sit at home and talk to a computer screen for hours on end. Essentially, you will both continue to do the things that you used to do before you fell in like/love.  This is healthy and how it should be. Snaps for you guys.

Is Long Distance the New “Normal” For 21st Century Love?

I’m a recent college grad, which means I think about the future basically non-stop. I think about what I want my next job to be, where I want it to be, etc. But with those choices come some other huge factors. Namely the fact that now I live with my boyfriend, and if I get another job I need to be prepared to do long distance.  Look, I am the queen of “Long Distance Is Good and Makes You Stronger”, but I am also the first to admit that it would be hard to get excited about going from ”We Live Together!” to “See You Next Month!” even if it’s for a great opportunity. I was talking about my dilemma with a friend who’s currently trying to make a relationship-type thing work with a guy who lives in London. My friend made an interesting point:

“These days, I think most couples have to do long distance for at least a portion of their relationship,” she said to me.

You know what? She’s right. When I think about most of the couples I know, especially the ones who are now engaged or married, they spent at least a portion of their relationship doing distance.

I think this is because A.) It’s difficult to get one job, let alone two jobs in the same city. More importantly B.) Both partners are career-focused and willing to make sacrifices to launch a career. I think that’s great. Does it make things more difficult? Yes. Does it make things more awesome for each partner as an individual? Definitely!

So is long distance the new “normal”? Do you need to be prepared to do long distance, especially when you’re low on the job food chain and trying to get a career off the ground? I say yes to both, and I don’t think that’s bad. Long distance can make you appreciate your significant other more, and it forces you to recognize what parts of the relationship work and don’t work.

Look, I’m not trying to give a history lesson here. I’ll be honest with you, I memorized everything for the AP U.S. History exam and then forgot it after the test was over. With that said, I think long distance as a normal part of a relationship’s life cycle is a phenomenon associated with our generation. If you think back to our grandparents generation, it was normal for the man to have the career and the woman to raise the kids. Therefore, no long distance needed. You just followed your husband wherever his career took him. This arrangement was even considered normal when our parents were starting families. My mom stopped working when I was born and didn’t start working again until I was in middle school.  But things are different now. Now more than ever, young women are encouraged to focus on building a career and a relationship at the same time. So, girl power! And other fun, Spice Girls things! Yeah, it may mean you have to do long distance because you’re balancing your career with your partner’s. I think it’s worth it.

While you’re pursuing that amazing career, just remember this: you need to keep giving your relationship the love and attention it needs to survive.  This applies to any type of relationship, no matter how near/far you live from each other. I know sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I take my relationship for granted.

Are you prepared to have to do long distance at some point? How do you balance a career and a relationship?

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