All those miles apart can come with a whole lot of realizations.
If you tell someone you're planning on dating long-distance, they'll probably tell you how tricky it is and wish you the best of luck. At least that's what people told me. They told me that I had to truly trust him (and that he had to trust me), to always stay open and honest with each other about our feelings, and to know that we would see each other again once the semester was over.
What they didn't tell me was that, when you have time apart from your significant other for four months, you start to come to realizations that you couldn't make before, when you two weren't miles apart. I don't regret the experience, but I can try to let those who plan on trying a long-distance relationship know that the independence you'll have while being away from your significant other will lead to self-reflecting and reevaluating what you want in terms of a relationship.
I began my first serious relationship very early in my college experience, so I never really got a taste of independence. I stayed loyal during the semester, never considered myself to be single, and tried to never lose sight of what I had despite the fact that the person I was dating lived 3,500 miles away from me for almost half a year. Even though you're still dating while you're in a long-distance relationship, you can't help but feel on your own at some points, because you're not physically with the person as much as you were before. I wasn't used to walking into parties or even around campus by myself, my hand not being held by another's hand.
As you spend more and more time without the person you have such strong feelings for, you can't help but feel differently about your relationship. You can FaceTime and text as much as you want, mail them endless gifts, and visit them in your dreams every single time your head touches your pillow—the sad truth is that nothing beats cuddles, kisses, and just being in the presence of the one you love.
You'll start to notice that not everybody around you is in a relationship. Whenever you go to a party or a bar and get hit on by someone, even if you dodge those who flirt with you, your mind will start to wander. You may ask yourself, Sure, I love my boyfriend, but what would it be like if I were single? It's not a crime to have these thoughts (as long as you don't seriously consider acting on those thoughts or actually take action). But these types of thoughts do come with the freedom you'll experience when dating long-distance.
You may tell yourself, Of course, I don't want to be single; I have everything I need with the guy I love! In that case, you were presented with an idea that you identified as something you don't want. In other cases, however, independence from your partner can be an eye-opening experience, revealing truths you were never aware of before. You may think, I love my boyfriend and I know I'm happy with him, but it's weird how I'm wondering what it would be like to be single . Some of these thoughts can be confusing ( why am I thinking about being single if I'm in love with someone? ), but, believe it or not, they're completely normal to have. Just because you're thinking about not dating your significant other doesn't mean that you definitely want to break up with them immediately and be single. Reflecting on your wants and reevaluating your relationship is healthy, especially if you started seriously dating someone before getting to know a lot of other people.
It's also worth noting that, as harsh as this sounds, dating lost-distance allows you to see what it's like to not have that person be a part of your world. All couples have problems, so it was interesting for me to test whether our issues went away when we spent a semester apart. If the problems lessen or go away, it shows that it wasn't a problem that was too big to work out. If the problem remains despite being away from each other, this is a major indicator that the issue is clearly harming your relationship and that you two need to work on solving it.
Distance does have the ability to make the heart grow fonder. But I won't lie and say that being apart from your significant other for months will automatically strengthen your relationship. Space and distance can allow you to see things clearer and help put your relationship in perspective. Yet, it may also cause you to reconsider a whole lot. Independence comes with realizations we were never aware of before, and these realizations can cause us to seriously question things. Whether or not you have apprehensions, always be open and honest with your significant other so they are never left in the dark; you can't control your feelings, but you can control what you do with them.