What I Have Learned From My 3-Year, Long-Distance Relationship

What I Have Learned From My 3-Year, Long-Distance Relationship

It can work, if you are willing to work it.
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Going away to college can be an exciting experience. It can also bring about feelings of uncertainty and fear for people who may be in relationships coming out of high school who are then either going to separate colleges, or one person is staying home while the other leaves. I am in this relationship right now and have been for the past three years.

At first, my fiancé was the one to leave for college while I was still in high school. The next year, I graduated and he came back home but I went away. Long-distance relationships can be tricky but they do work if you are willing to work with them. Here are some tips I have found that help.

1. Trust

This is one of the most important, yet sometimes most challenging components of a long-distance, or really any relationship. If there is no trust, there is nothing. When you cannot see the other person every day, or a few times a week, you have to trust them. Trust also goes both ways. If one person trusts the other but this trust is not reciprocated, this can put a strain on the relationship. This level of trust is not built in a day, it takes time, so give it a moment and try to trust the other person.

2. Communication

I do not think I can say this enough. Talk to your partner. Talk to them. Seriously. In a long-distance relationship, this can be make-or-break. Your partner does not see you enough to know when something is wrong or if you are upset. They may not be able to tell if things are bothering you or know what is happening in your life because they are not there. So just talk to them. When my fiancé left for college I wrote him letters. I mostly did it because I like writing and I think pen pals and letter-writing are a dying art and I really love them but I also did it because if something happened during the course of my day that I would usually tell him about or he would usually be there for, I wanted him to know about. I wrote one every day with something important from that day, or just how I was feeling, or even just telling him that I missed him. Sometimes I would send a week's worth of letters to him, sometimes I would save them until he came back home and then I would give them to him to read, but either way I knew that he would still be a part of my day even if we did not get the chance to talk on the phone or text each other. Communication is so important. Talk to your partner. If you both have busy schedules and you know you will not be able to talk throughout the day, schedule a time when you know you can talk. Maybe once a week on a Sunday at six you facetime or something. Just talk to them.

3. Quality Time

I think one of the worst things in a long-distance relationship is not being able to see the other person for so long and then when you finally are able to see them, they are too busy doing other things to spend time with you. When you are with each other, be with each other. Give each other your undivided attention. This will make you both feel important, respected, loved, and wanted.

4. Know your limits

If something is not working, speak up. Long-distance is not for everyone, and leading someone on is not fun for anyone involved. It is better to be with someone who makes you happy and feel loved than being with someone because you feel like you have to be. If the long-distance is not working, let it go.

5. Warning signs

I have not experienced this personally but I have seen others around me who have so I thought it would be important. Sometimes when people get into long-distance relationships, or it can be really any relationship, it can become toxic. If you notice that your partner is trying to control your behavior, by telling you where you can and cannot go, who you can and cannot hang out with, what you can and cannot do and when, then these are some basic warning signs of a toxic relationship. They can stem from insecurities and lack of trust, especially in a long-distance relationship. If you are in a toxic or abusive relationship, seek help right away and try to remove yourself from this relationship.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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