Distance makes the heart grow fonder

Long distance relationships suck.

Since I was a freshman, I’ve repeated this phrase many, many times. I went into my first year of college not knowing how or if my boyfriend and I would maneuver the complicated maze that is dating long-distance. We didn’t make it too far through that maze because the distance drove us apart too much. And he was a jerk face. But I learned a lot from that relationship and feel better prepared for the one I’m currently in, also an LDR.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Apparently I can’t date anyone relatively close to me.

In the lonely moments when I used to say “LDR’s suck,” I should have been saying “LDR’s are hard.” Because they’re really, really hard, but totally and completely worth it.

According to a paper recently published in the Journal of
Communication, 75 percent of college students in the U.S. have engaged in a long-distance relationship at some point, and roughly 25 to 50 percent of them are currently in one. The paper also said that individuals in LDR’s tend to have stronger bonds and deeper

I know people who have avoided LDR’s at all costs for fear of an overly ambitious challenge.  Yes, LDR’s definitely have their pitfalls. Feeling alone and disconnected from your significant other is not fun. But dating someone hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away has it perks.

My boyfriend goes to school in Oshkosh but is originally from Madison. I’m from Green Bay so our paths never cross. I’ve gained some serious benefits from being in an LDR and I’m sure other LDR couples have too.

— You value communication

The only way to stay connected with someone who is hours away is talking, whether it’s on the phone, texting or via Skype.  You use all the time you have to update your significant other on what’s going on, even if it’s miniscule. Your significant other wants to hear those details because he or she is not there to experience them with you. It really helps you bond and feel closer to one another. Since dialogue can be constant, you learn how to have meaningful conversations with each other.

— You have time for yourself

When you’re dating someone close by, you tend to spend a ton of time with them, which may lead to neglecting your friends or other aspects of your life. In LDR’s, you have the ability to make time for other things and you have time to yourself. You can treat yourself to an outing or activity you know your significant other wouldn’t be interested in. You have your space. You may not always want it, but it’s there when you need it. Having that separation between you and your significant other allows you to miss each other. It can hurt emotionally, but that feeling is what drives the passion in the relationship. It’s nice to know you’re missed.

— After every goodbye comes a hello

For me, the worst part of an LDR is having to say goodbye when the visits are over.  You get a measly weekend to catch up on everything and it’s never enough time. As heartbreaking as goodbyes are, I try to remember that the next hello will be incredible. There’s a sense of urgency there that doesn’t exist with couples who live in the same city. Nothing feels better than seeing your significant other after two or three weeks of being apart.  The hellos are what push you forward and keep you going.