Dealing with Long Distance Relationships

Dealing with Long Distance Relationships

It's not about the distance. It's about the effort.
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This article was written by Mitchell Muir and his girlfriend Rachel Rinehimer.


A relationship usually starts with both individuals together, but life has shown us that being together all the time is almost impossible. We all have different ambitions and goals and sometimes, we can’t conform to someone else’s lifestyle. This is where long distance relationships come into play. For us, our long distance relationship started when we both left for college.

I (Rachel) go to Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. My boyfriend (Mitchell) goes to Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Mitchell and I are exactly seven and a half hours away from each other while we are in school. Therefore, we do not get to see each other very often during the school year. However, through all of the craziness of our academic and extracurricular schedules, we manage to stay in close contact with one another. We start off by making sure that we talk to each other at least once every day via text, phone call, or video chat. Being able to physically see and hear your significant other is very important. By doing one of these three things at least once a day ensures that you both will have some form of contact with each other. Whether it is talking about how each other’s day was or what their favorite class is, being able to express your emotions with your significant other is very important in a long distance relationship. I also find that writing letters to your significant other at school is a very effective form of communication. Although it takes Mitchell’s mail about 2 weeks to actually get to him, it means all the more when he gets my letter to him on a bad day. My favorite things to send him are “open when…” letters. However, I write the letters on notecards so I can fit all of them into one envelope to send to him (it’s saves me money on stamps). Mitchell has told me that he loves receiving letters from me and keeps them close by when he really needs to read them.

Another thing to remember about long distance relationships is that your relationship is not going to be perfect! Long distance relationships are NOTHING like you see in the movies. You won’t always be able to find time to write those “Dear John” love letters or get to talk to them on the phone 24/7…….and that’s OK! As a very smart, handsome young man (Mitchell) once told me, “It’s not about the distance….or even the time...it’s about the EFFORT that you put into your relationship that really counts”. I for one always keep that statement in my mind at all times. Mitchell and I both have social lives at school. We started our relationship knowing that we weren’t always going to get to spend a large amount of time together during the school year. However, this doesn’t include all the time that we get when we both go on breaks. Even though we do not get a lot of time to be together on breaks, we still manage to be with each other and enjoy each other’s company…...even if that means becoming an active part of each other’s families! (Guilty as charged!!)

Being separate from each other for long periods of time causes for those small incremental moments to be all the more noteworthy. The breaks our colleges give us provide us with ample time to catch up. After hanging out on a daily basis over the summer, we had to adapt to a new form of communication. For couples to last for long periods of time, it is important to be able to change to new environments when necessary. So between leaving for school and being able to see each other again was almost two months. Thanksgiving was the first time since the summer that we could officially hang out. I have come to realize that our dates have become more meaningful and we find more reasons to hang out than the simple movie nights. Comparing that with how it was over the summer and I can see that it is a huge difference. Most people nowadays seem to want to stay close to their significant others because it is more comfortable and less complicated, but I will say that those types of relationships tend not to last long due to the refusal to adapt. Sometimes they can be restrictive for each other and they may not even know it. I have known friends who only go to a certain college because it proves easy availability for their girlfriends, and the fact that they consider themselves not ready for the long distance relationship. Being able to operate efficiently when far away from each other is highly important for any relationship, and being in this relationship has taught me that is undeniably true.

Long distance relationships aren’t meant to be easy. Being able to overcome such obstacles is vital for any type of relationship. For me, it is always important to impress my girlfriend, especially when she is not exactly in a good mood. Sometimes I can’t always be there for her, but it’s highly important to let her know that I can still be there for her even if I can’t physically be there. And for me (Rachel), I believe that it is very important to let my boyfriend know that I care about him and I want him to succeed in everything that he does….even if that means him traveling the world without me. I know that I will always be here, waiting for him to return with arms wide open. Long distance relationships teach us that staying in touch when times are tough means that we are both willing to sacrifice something for the other’s benefit. If you both are willing to understand that sacrifice is required for a long distance relationship to work, then everything will work out for your benefit.








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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Don't Feel Bad For Me When I Say I'm In A Long-Distance Relationship

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks" or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

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When I first went out with my boyfriend, I wasn't expecting anything to come from it. He was in the Marines, stationed in South Carolina, and it was just a stupid Tinder date because I was bored and I thought he was funny and cute over Snapchat. Not only did he live an eight-hour drive away, but he was also heading out of the country for Christmas. I never thought I would ever hear from him again after I got into my car and drove back home.

But, I did, and a year and a half later, going on that coffee date was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Right from the start, I knew if he and I were going to date, we would have to face a long-distance relationship for roughly two to three years- whether I finished school first or he got out of the military was up to fate. For us, being apart is normal. We're so used to talking through FaceTime rather than face to face and not seeing each other for weeks on end is more familiar than hugging. We've probably blown more kisses through the phone than having had real kisses.

Would I love to be just a minutes drive away from him?

Absolutely.

Would I trade my relationship for anything else?

Never.

There's no reason for you to feel bad for me when I tell you I'm in a long distance relationship.

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks' or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

Being away from each other is just something we do. It lets us be independent, focus on work and school, but still allows us to support each other. Sure, long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, but couples make them work. No relationship is normal and like every other relationship, it takes patience, learning, and commitment. The only difference between a 'normal' relationship and a long-distance relationship is is that our 'date nights' consist of eating dinner together over FaceTime instead.

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