Can the physical absence of long distance relationships really ‘make the heart grow fonder’? Lots of people have opinions – even those who have never even been in a long distance relationship!
“If you’re thinking about a long distance relationship, the best thing to do is to try the experience, at least once.”
– Penelope Lyons, Dating Expert
Those of us who have some experience know that there are plenty of pros and distinctive cons to the long distance part of a relationship. Here’s what you need to know about the 7 best bits, and the 7 harder parts, about being in a long distance relationship:
7 Pros of long distance relationships:
- You make the most of the time you have together. When you finally get to hang out with the person you’ve been pining over for what seems like an eternity it’s the best feeling, and you’re completely grateful for their presence. Forget phubbing, you’d be happy to turn your phone off and be in the moment with them from the minute they arrive until the tearful farewell.
- Meetings are more exciting. When you’re seeing someone once in a blue moon, or someone from a dating site for the first time, you get intense butterflies on those rare occasions when you do spend time together, not to mention the anticipation before the reunion. In a long-term relationship you can’t be in the honeymoon phase forever, but long distance relationships give you a great chance to keep things fresh for longer.
- You get to explore a new city! Regularly visiting your other half in the city they call home will mean that you’ll soon feel comfortable and at home there too. The best way to explore a city is with someone who lives there and knows the best places to go, so make the most of this opportunity to broaden your horizons. You could even learn a new language!
- You learn the value of patience. In a world where we’re used to getting what we want, when we want it, long distance relationships reaffirm that some things are worth waiting for, and that we don’t need everything at lightning-speed. Patience is definitely a virtue!
- You have your own space to pursue your interests. In any healthy relationship you’ll have your own time, but in long distance relationships, time with and without your partner is clearly divided. This means that you can dedicate lots of time to yourself without feeling guilty about not spending it with them if they’re miles away. You get the best of both worlds!
- You’ll do more exciting things together, rather than staying in. You’re keen to create priceless memories in all your limited time together which leads to doing more fun, spontaneous things. Whether it’s having a romantic picnic in the park, going to one too many bars or going out for an extravagant dinner, you’ll be super motivated to get out there and do all the things you’ve wanted to do, because you’re with your favourite person in the world.
- There’s always something to look forward to. If you arrange your weekends together in advance you can always keep the next visit in the back of your mind and allow your excitement to bubble over as it approaches. Whether you’ve got a countdown on your phone or you’re mentally ticking off each day, you’ll always have something on the horizon to focus on.
7 Cons of long distance relationships:
- You will feel lonely sometimes. Even the most independent person in the world will miss the person they love if they’ve been apart for months. Not being able to snuggle up, watch Netflix, cook together and any number of things that couples who live in the same place take for granted can really get you down. This is even worse when you’ve had a grumpy day and need someone to talk to.
- You’ll often end up being a third wheel. If loads of your friends are in relationships you’ll probably find that most of the time when you meet up you’re surrounded by couples. This can make you feel like a bit of an outsider, and also emphasises your lack of a physically-present partner. Spending time with couples rubs your face in what you’re missing out on.
- When you’re together, it takes time to adapt. Think about it: if you spend 95% of your time messaging or Skyping your long distance lover, the 5% of time you do spend together is a huge change for both of you. Many long distance couples anticipate their reunion so keenly that the sense of awkwardness you sometimes experience at first comes as a huge disappointment, which can sour things from the outset. Always remember that this is completely natural and it won’t take long for you to get used to each other again.
- Time differences are the worst. If you live on opposite sides of the world you’ll know how difficult it is to find a time when you’re both awake, let alone actually available. Having to schedule in weekly Skype slots isn’t exactly romantic, but when they’re your equivalent of dates, they’re non-negotiable.
- It gets super expensive. Travelling to see your other half regularly will drain your bank account more quickly than you can imagine. The fairest way is to alternate visits to spread the cost between you, but forking out for plane and train tickets still adds up. The only way to avoid this is to see each other less often, a compromise that’s really unappealing to most people in long distance relationships.
- Trust can be an issue. This one really depends on what kind of person you are and how trusting you are in relationships. If you’re living in the same city as your partner you’ll be more familiar with their friends; this can help to reassure you that their attractive colleague isn’t actually trying to pry him or her from your grasp and that they might even be a nice person! Trust issues can eat away at a relationship so you need to try and nip these in the bud if possible.
- There will always be naysayers. People will always have an opinion on your long distance relationship and whether it’s a good idea in their humble opinion. You’ll feel like the whole world and his dog has a snide (or occasionally supportive) comment up their sleeve, but ultimately all that matters is how you feel and how happy you are.
So there you have it: long distance relationships in a nutshell. It works for some and not for others, the only thing you can do is try. Whatever the outcome, you’ll most likely learn a whole lot. See if you’re one of the lucky ones!