Long-distance relationships are more common than you think , and, believe it or not, they have their perks. Being away from your partner can make your relationship stronger, since you have the chance to be more independent and commit to your goals, and fights are less common since you try to make the best out of the time you spend together. Yet, questions such as “is a long-distance relationship worth it? Can a long-distance relationship survive? Which are the signs to know if my long-distance relationship is working?” can come up, bringing out insecurities and behaviors that could jeopardize your relationship.
Here’s some insight: when I was in college, I fell in love with an exchange student. We dated for a few months and then decided to date formally for the rest of the term. Eventually, though, he had to go back to Australia, and I had to stay in Mexico for my senior year. So, there was now the possibility of an open relationship, and we agreed to give it a try despite the huge distance and time difference between us. Sadly, six months after he went home, we broke up. I was confused and hurt back then, but now, looking back, I realize there were some things we did that little by little killed the love between us.
The first weeks after he left, we talked and Skyped daily about everything. Then, our chats happened twice a week. And then, every so often. What went wrong wasn’t the amount of time we talked, but rather the fact that we stopped communicating with each other. We stopped sharing the important stuff and got stuck in shallow conversations.
Relationships require communication to flourish and grow. You don’t need to harass each other every single hour of every single day, just try to find the right time and the right way to communicate.
Lack of trust
I swore I wasn’t going to be breathing down my partner’s neck, but I did. Actually, we both did. As time went by, we both felt a sort of harassment from each other: “what are you doing? why are you not picking up? who are you with?” were some of the common questions that we got when one of us was too busy with school or work, but sadly, these reflected that we weren’t trusting the other like we would have wanted to.
Almost like a snowball effect, miscommunication and lack of trust lead to jealousy. I found myself going crazy whenever he posted a picture with friends (especially the good-looking ones) that I’d never seen before. He got mad when he saw my Insta stories of my friends and me clubbing, calling and texting me to know every single detail of my night out. Suddenly, we had so many doubts about the other’s commitment that our insecurities got out of control.
As a result of the lack of trust and communication, I started getting passive-aggressive. Sometimes, it was because he had done something that made me doubt him or because he had doubted me, so I texted back after hours of receiving his messages, or I left his texts on “read,” or I simply texted back in a cold manner. These attitudes were very poisonous, and before we knew it, we were doomed to drift apart.
LDRs are no Meg Ryan movie. I know it can be inevitable to picture different romantic scenarios after many weeks or months of not seeing one another, but there’s a big chance that the perfect date you planned in your head won’t go as pictured. Expecting unrealistic romantic gestures leads to disappointment, and you could end up holding a grudge towards your partner, when in fact, they didn’t do anything wrong. Keep it real, and keep it honest. That’s what matters.
Guilty as charged. I could say that I was feeling lonely, that it was just one time, and that it didn’t go beyond flirting, but that’s no excuse. I made a commitment, and I broke it. I betrayed his trust. Maybe we could have talked about being with other people, and maybe we should have tried an open relationship instead of betraying his trust. But we didn’t.
Caring about what people say
You need two to make it in a relationship. People outside of it have a perception of their own, but that doesn’t mean that you have to pay attention to every single opinion that may discredit the love and commitment you have for one another. Shake it off. I wish I hadn’t listened the people who told me “you’re a fool. These are your best years. Why are you limiting yourself?” If you know, deep down, that what you two got is special, then forget the haters and do your thing.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that long-distance relationships are hard, but hey, aren’t all relationships hard? What I learned after being in a LDR, and seeing friends and relatives in them (failing and sometimes succeeding) is that communication is key; it’s the core of the relationship. This doesn’t mean that you have to be texting each other 24/7, just find healthy ways to tell the other what you want, what you need, your doubts and fears, but mostly, if you’re actually willing to try. Honesty matters.
Cover picture by @jaxlisa
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