To my boyfriend back home,

Thank you. I know dating someone far away isn't easy, whether I'm at college only a couple hours away or on the other side of the world for an internship, the distance sucks, but you never give me a hard time about it, but instead embrace it, and for that, I am so grateful.

Being the one who left our hometown, I feel guilty for subjecting you to this kind of relationship. Knowing I wouldn't be home, you had the choice to be together but only see each other a handful of times a year, or end it altogether, and neither choice is exactly optimal. Right now, as I write this on the other side of the globe as you, you're willing to endure the distance (and the time change) for me, which is the greatest gift I've ever received, and my appreciation for you, your strength, and your trust in me is ineffable. As many times as you say you don't mind doing this because you love me, and no matter how much you insist it is okay, I'll always feel bad about subjecting you to a long-distance relationship. Dating through the phone and FaceTiming every night just isn't the same as being in your arms, and I know you think so too.

Every time you say you miss me; I feel a twang of guilt inside for leaving, I always find myself thinking, "Wow... I did this. I left." However, you are such an understanding and forgiving person that you completely understand why I'm out in the world, doing my thing. You understand that I must do what is best for me and my future and that my professional life, education, and preparation for my future career is more important than a relationship right now. (We're just teens after all.) You know that what I am doing is for the best, and that is what I appreciate most about you. You never question my choices or my goals. You never have any resentment towards me for going away. You never make me feel bad about it. You honestly take it like a champ, and for that, I wanted to say thank you.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. Yeah, missing you sucks, but it makes coming home all the better. Seeing you for the first time in months is the best feeling. Knowing I have someone back home who loves me and can't wait to see me is one of the driving motivations behind my school work and all that I do, because I know that when I get back home, you'll be there with open arms to tell me how proud you are of me for chasing my dreams. Having someone who loves me so deeply, from however far away, makes life all the better. (Also, not to mention visiting each other's colleges are great road trips and is always fun!)

In the end, whether we end up together or not, it will all be worth it, because we will both be better people from these few years. Our virtues of trust, patience, and love continue to grow as this experience goes on. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better person. Thank you for loving me so completely. I am so lucky.

I love you.