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.

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.

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.


"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"


"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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A Thank You To The Boy Who Taught Me I Always Deserve Respect

I always knew it, but you made it known that it was a priority to you too.


When I was a freshman in high school, I started a relationship that lacked the one thing I always promised myself I would demand: respect.

There was a major absence of respect in the way my very first serious boyfriend spoke to me, treated me and frankly, made me view myself. When I ended that relationship, I did not expect much from other boys because of the way this particular one treated me. I wish I could've seen what was coming.

Until I met my now-boyfriend, I had no idea certain behaviors were things that guys did in real life. I had no clue that opening a car door for a girl was still a thing. I didn't know simple things like holding my hand in public weren't a chore and an embarrassment, but actually something a guy who wants to show off his girl does. I didn't understand that yelling, name-calling and putdowns weren't supposed to be an everyday part of a relationship.

Before you, I had no idea that respect was such a simple, beautiful thing.

Thank you for teaching me that respect is something I should always expect in life. Before you, I thought it was something I had to work for, not something I deserved without thought. Thank you for STILL opening my car door for me, even after being together for almost 3 years now. Thank you for always respecting my family, even when I know my siblings are getting on your nerves. Thank you for respecting the fact that my anxiety gets in the way of my life a lot and accepting it instead of poking fun at me for it.

Before you, I didn't know how to be comfortable and be myself because I always felt like I was being judged. You showed me how to be happy with who I am and to never hide parts of me away. You have respected even the darkest parts of me, something I never thought I would find in another person.

I never thought I would find someone who would accept me and all of the parts of me I didn't like. A person who would laugh with me over stupid things. Someone who would drive me to the hospital at 11 pm when I'm sick. Someone who would drive almost 400 miles just to visit me for a weekend.

I could go on and on about the different ways in which you respect me because there are many, but I will leave it with this. You made me understand that just because someone else may not think I am worthy of respect doesn't mean I shouldn't treat myself with it. The greatest lesson I've ever learned from you is how to respect myself and my happiness.

You have never called me a name, you have never made fun of me unless we are playing around and you have never made me feel any less than worthy of every ounce of love and affection you choose to shower me with. Respect is a small word with a very large meaning and I couldn't be more grateful that you have shown me so much of it.

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