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.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Yes, I’m An Out-Of-State Student & Yes, I’m (Still) Close With My Family

Being apart from people you love doesn't mean you love them any less.

There is this preconceived notion that students who go hundreds of miles away for college do not have a close relationship with their family. I mean why else would you distance yourself from them so much?

As someone who traveled 350 miles away from home, I understand the struggles (and benefits) of leaving your home for school. The number one question I was asked when I decided to go to school in Kentucky and not Michigan is, “Won’t you miss your family?”

While I do miss my family, I have such a close relationship with them that the distance doesn’t change anything. Every time I go home it’s like I never left.

With today’s technology, it’s so easy to check-in with parents, siblings, and even grandparents while never leaving your room. Between sarcastic texts with my mom, liking my cousins Facebook posts, and face timing with my grandma, I never feel out of the loop.

Sure, I may not be able to go home every weekend, but when you have so many forms of communication it’s not as bad as it would seem.

There are days where it gets hard and all you want to do is cuddle up in your bed at home and have a heart to heart with your mom, but you can’t. Those are the days where it becomes important to lean on your friends, who are basically family, to help you get through it. There are also days where I crave a home-cooked meal rather than the amateur meals I cook for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love the service dogs on campus that I can’t help but pet but all they do is remind me of my dogs back home.

With all of the things that I miss, it’s important to mention all of the things that I have gained while studying so far from home. I’ve learned to take care of myself physically, mentally and most importantly financially! While I’m still a full-time student, getting a job really helped me to feel independent and confident in myself as an adult.

Also, being far from my family has taught me to value my time that I do have with them. My vacations are filled with endless trips to visit different family members, and that is okay with me because I have to make the most out of my trips home.

Last, it has taught me that if I choose to move somewhere other than Kentucky and Michigan after graduation, I will be just fine. I don’t have to worry about where my future takes me because no matter where it is, I will make it work.

It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and for some (like me), going away to college is the best way to do that. I’ve created my own life for myself in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean I will forget about my home in Michigan.

Cover Image Credit: Miya Leykauf

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The Importance And Impact Of A Call Verus A Text

Ring in the new year.

New year, new me. We say it every iteration of annual "reset", either publicly, plastered over social media for all the world to see, or under our breath, with some type of discreet, more subtle determination. As exuberant or stolid as our intentions may first be, resolutions too oft fade into goals we set aside for another week, another month, another year.

The previous year, 2017, was not an unkind one but did teach me more than I had bargained for upon the Autumn months' arrival. This knowledge, undesired yet greatly appreciated just the same, has provided for me a prospect for 2018, a hope surpassing expectation, drawing nearer to necessity.

See, change can be a good thing. The best change, as I have learned, however, comes from within.

I promise this article is not some yogi mumbo jumbo--not to say I am not a fan of such wordage--but instead a call to action... a call to... well, call. If you're like me, or pretty much anyone else with a smartphone, you're practically glued to a screen from the time you wake up until you play chicken with it, seeing if your eyes shut before its screen goes black.

Texting certainly has its advantages. I mean, there's poop emojis. How else am I going to disapprovingly provide non-verbal commentary on my friend's attempt at humor? Fecal matter with eyes aside, texting rose in popularity because of its convenience--and also for the lack of human interaction.

That being said, what I am about to say might blow your mind. I'll wait while you grab some napkins.

Ready?

Good.

Close your messenger app. Click that little button with a picture of a phone on it--google older models of phones if no familiar image is present--and give someone a call. It may seem like a hassle; it may take up a bit more of your time than a text would, but I promise it will be worth it.

A simple phone call can brighten someone's day. Is it your father's birthday? Call him. Have a friend going through a rough breakup? Call her. Do you know your grandparent is sitting all alone watching the same Bonanza rerun they've seen at least thirteen times now? You get the picture.

It's personable, it's intimate, it's PhoneCall. Still working on the copyright for that.

Really, though. For me, this year is going to focus on communications and connections, reaching out to people in my life and letting them know how important they are to me. I want to be present, but when I can't, I want to be able to say I've put in plenty of effort into an interaction.

I used to hate calling and saying goodnight. I was lazy. That's the truth whether I like it or not. Sometimes it takes a wake-up in the form of a breakup to realize the importance that simple action holds. Sure, a text with a smiley face or a heart emoji is all well and good, but nothing compares to hearing the sincerity in a partner or family member's voice.

The other great thing about talking to someone on the phone is that you receive an answer to a question immediately. Texting? Not so much. People work or have busy lives that don't revolve around the device in their pocket. They might not have time enough to respond until later. Sometimes it takes a ringing phone to recognize how time-sensitive certain communications may be.

Maybe you're already the type of person to pick up the phone and dial instead of hammering away at those tiny, fingerprint-smeared keys. I know I'm not. But I could be. And so could you.

Whether it's making your life a little easier and knowing what your roommate wants on his pizza before you reach the counter or simply making someone's day, a phone call is a valuable thing and it's about time we returned to the year 2000 and remembered that.

Maybe you're at college, hundreds of miles away from your parents. Be like E.T. and phone home.

OK, I'm out of dad jokes. Cheers and have a great 2018!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.com

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