Well, thanks for coming over to my blog! I haven’t written anything in quite a while, but that’s because of college term papers and life in general. Now that I’ve had time to sit and contemplate life, I think I’ve found a topic worth considering. Today, I want to write about an idea near and dear to my heart, which is the thought that – on most occasions – a long distance relationship is doomed from the start.
(A disclaimer: I am not speaking directly to any individual. I have experienced nothing but love and support in my growth and my relationship, but I have seen others who weren’t as lucky. I love the people who have been around me, and my hope is that you will see both sides of this topic and come out of it with understanding.)
Sadly, long-distance relationships are doomed from the outset.
You want to know why?
It seems like it fails because people decide to make it their personal ambition to destroy the idea that two people can care for each other from a distance.
Why the lack of faith?
Did someone do something to cause you to see distance as insurmountable?
I’m of the mind that love can work across any distance, if it is real, and the parties who are in love are willing to work their hardest to make the relationship work. It isn’t an issue of money, and it isn’t an issue of distance. It is a matter of the heart, and if it’s right, it’s right.
I have my own opinions on what it takes to make a long-distance relationship work, and I think it takes a concerted effort on the part of two different parties for a successful experience to occur:
1. Friends and family (the outsiders) that are observing the relationship develop, and
2. The people in said relationship.
First, I want to offer three concepts to understand for the person who comes from an outside perspective:
1. Yes, the people in this relationship are gluttons for punishment. They wait for days, weeks, even months, do see their significant other, and often, those visits only last but a few days. Do not think of them as childish, because it takes a great amount of composure and maturity to keep from crying like a baby every time their S.O. leaves (I know this, because I was in a long distance relationship for two years and nine months before I was able to see my S.O. consistently). These are two people who work very hard to maintain loyalty and constant contact with their S.O., so my hope is that you will honor the fact that they are doing their best to care for a person who they find to be very important.
2. No, it is not easy for your friend to bring their long-distance S.O. up for a visit at any time. This is tough, because naturally, if your friend could have their S.O. with them at all times, they would do anything they could to make it happen. Sadly, most people are in long distance relationships because they can’t find a way to shorten said distance. Not a major complaint, just something to remember.
3. Yes, this relationship does not make sense, but try to be encouraging anyway. I know it’s hard to believe that people would subject themselves to such deep hurt every time their S.O. leaves, but I promise that the person in this relationship thinks it’s worth the hurt. If this person didn’t feel like being in this relationship was right, they probably wouldn’t have ever decided to pursue it. (Another disclaimer: if your family member or friend’s S.O. is clearly hurting them and they can’t see it, just be honest. But be loving at the same time. They will never hear you if you are a jerk in your approach. Help them to understand that their relationship is damaging in a kind and gentle way. And if it isn’t, stay supportive.)
Remember, you are key in the success of this relationship! If you do not commit to encouraging and supporting this individual in his or her endeavors, then there is a chance that their relationship will not succeed. Be good to one another. That should be obvious.
Now, I want to offer three ideas to the person who is in a long distance relationship:
1. It will be okay! Remember why you are doing this. When it gets hard, just know that your S.O. is probably feeling the same way. Long distance relationships are hard, but they are tremendously rewarding. To think that this won’t work out is to hamper your chances at success. You have to either be fully committed to the relationship, or you shouldn’t date this person at all. Half-hearted people have a hard time succeeding when hard work is necessary.
2. Understand that the people around you may not be able to make sense of your relationship decisions. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship, and I can’t even make sense of my own decisions! Be willing to explain the dynamic of your relationship, and just what about your S.O. really makes you want to press on. Just a thought: if you are willing and able to explain just what makes you happy about your S.O., then you might find out some interesting things about that individual and yourself. For me, talking about my girlfriend actually makes me love her even more (as if that’s possible!). Communicating your thoughts clearly shows a maturity that is hard to discount, and it is a skill that helps you avoid being labelled as “immature,” or “angsty.”
3. Something my dad told me as he was going to bed today (I am writing this late at night in my living room) really struck me. This advice is multi-faceted, and very applicable in this context: Stay focused, stay on the narrow way, and avoid heartache. Being in a long-distance relationship is tough. It is like a long road race. You prepare for this race, but there is no experience like actually running it. You hit bumps and potholes and bends in the road, and sometimes it gets so narrow that you are not able to run side-by-side. When you get to those points, you can be confident in your Heavenly Father and your significant other, who will support you in different ways. A key to this analogy; however, is that you are willing to support him or her as well. Long-distance relationships do not succeed if you do not work at them, so you must understand that constant effort is key. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Be aware of just how quickly you are moving, and how quickly your partner is moving. Finding success is all about finding the right running mate.
Long-distance relationships are doomed to fail.
If you don’t have faith.
Work hard, and love even harder. Don’t give up, and know that – if this person is the one you are meant for, then you will someday find your joyous reunion.
“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…”
This is Tori, the girl I dated long-distance for two years and nine months. We are now happily dating face-to-face!