Long distance relationships are typically feared by anyone with a significant other. Going off to college or serving in the military tend to be popular reasons why couples are forced to make the decision; Do you continue the relationship or cut it short? The stigma surrounding these relationships are usually negative and avoided at all costs and for justifiable reasons. It's easy to feel isolated, lonely, and even depressed -- whether you're separated by choice or there's an outside force pulling you apart. As for me, my relationship has been long distance for over one and a half years now, and we only see each other two to three times per year, if we're lucky. We are making it work. Putting aside all the "what ifs" and potential downfalls, it's important to acknowledge the aspects of long distance relationships that are positive and valuable. It might not even be as dreadful as you've come to believe.

One of the first concepts worth discovering is the need of developing independence. You have the privilege to become your own person without depending on anyone else. You grow more solidified in your beliefs, you shift more attention to your passions, and you have the time to better yourself. You can live your every day life based off of your needs and your needs alone. You don't have to worry about making time for your partner or worry about when you'll have the chance to see them because your schedule is jam-packed or you're stressed to the max. You don't have to fear having time for them, having them feel like they're on the "back burner" or choosing to put other important things first -- like school, your job, and your family. They want you to put those things first.

Not having your "person" by your side constantly allows and challenges you to create your own life, pursue hobbies you enjoy, and manage time efficiently and effectively without the feeling of guilt. It's not hard to be down on yourself for not putting the focus and attention into them you feel they deserve. At the end of the day, your significant other will support your drive, commitment to your own pursuits, and even encourage you to push further, work harder, and chase down your goals from afar. You receive the same support, love, and compassion as if you were in a "normal" relationship -- but none of the negative, "selfish" feelings that are often associated with working on yourself.

Not only do these relationships flourish through independence and support, but they require communication on all fronts. Every day small talk is necessary, but the conversations that fuel your connection are where the difference is made. This connection is consistently tested when you're thousands of miles apart, but in the end, it only proves how strongly you really are tied together. Having to keep the relationship strictly emotional and mental gives you both the opportunity to get to know each other for who they are -- their heart, their mind, their desires and their ambition -- and not on what they can offer you in a physical sense. It allows you to learn about yourself, the person you love, and ultimately creates the perfect environment for individual growth while still having your #1 to cheer you on from the sidelines.

When you're separated by international borders from the one you love, you're committing yourself to them in the most honorable way. It requires an amplified level of trust. That heightened trust, in turn, allows (and encourages) your relationship to transcend to new places you could never imagine it going -- there are no doubts, no questions, no "where are you right now?". Why? Because it doesn't matter. You know they're making sound decisions with you in the back of their mind. There's a sense of security that develops through that assurance. The distance challenges you mentally, physically and emotionally in a way that seeing your significant other every day doesn't have the ability to do. Now, imagine how this degree of trust will transform your relationship when you're back together.

I try to remind myself often that I'm lucky and blessed to have someone so incredible to miss every day. Each day that passes since you've seen someone last is also one day closer to when you will see them again. You can make your long distance relationship work. You can even make it prosper and blossom into something that you both will appreciate and be thankful for as time passes. It's only a sad and dreadful experience if you let it be.