Let us make this nice and easy and from here on out refer to Long Distance Relationships as LDR, or LDRs. I am not typing that out multiple times in this blog post.
I recently had a conversation with my sister-in-law regarding LDRs, due to the fact that she and my brother for the first time since they’ve been together (almost 10 years), will have to be apart for 4 months.
I laughed heartlessly, and cockily said; “4 months is nothing.”
Her response was beyond heart warming; “4 months is everything.” Then proceeded to stare at me with her big brown eyes that give me a similar feeling to when I see fuzzy kittens.
It really hit me how calloused my time in an LDR had made me when I heard her say that. Here she was, so incredibly in love with my brother well into their marriage, and the thought of having to spend 4 months living 2 hours apart by driving, upset her to tears on a few occasions.
My LDR is in its 4th year of being 8 hours apart, and will end as of April of this year, right when hers and my brother’s LDR phase begins.
Now though I am excited, and more than ready for this part of my relationship to be over and a new chapter begin, I’m a little nervous about us living in the same town now.
Why? Because we FINALLY figured out our LDR, and now it is going to be turned on his head for the umpteenth time. Bit of role reversal!
My LDR has served me many helpings of humility, independence, vulnerability, and other painful yet important life lessons. It taught me to communicate to the best of my ability, to trust better, and to be more trustworthy in my own day and actions. I know the lessons never stop coming with a long term healthy relationship, but the lessons bite harder when there isn’t a loved one beside you, holding you to ease you through it.
I have become insanely independent, more so than most people I have in my life merely because I had no choice. This was the lot in life I had, and so I had to adapt accordingly. If I made myself as dependent on my partner as if they lived in the same town as me? I probably wouldn’t have pushed my career this far. I probably wouldn’t have bought my first home by myself. I probably wouldn’t have figured myself out with my likes and dislikes. It was, essentially, a lesson about myself. I discovered because of this relationship, how capable I really am, and that has served me amazingly well in countless circumstances.
Now don’t get me wrong, my guy and I have had to separate twice because it got to be too much for us, and each time we came back to each other with a deeper understanding of how much we really cared for each other, and how rare what we had was.
Our history of breaking up used to bother me, until my mother said something to me:
“You keep trying to judge your relationship by looking at everyone else’s relationships. Don’t. Yours is different, and that’s okay.” It was exactly what I needed to hear.
It’s different, not bad, not less, just different. I am incredibly lucky to have it, and though the future scares me what with my newfound independence and his own, I know that we have been through worse. We will have to learn to be vulnerable to one another in a whole new way, just like my sister-in-law will have to be vulnerable with my brother via Skype and phone calls. She will have to learn how to keep herself busy, she will have to learn patience (to the extreme), and to work on herself instead of worrying about every little thing that crops up. Because tonnes of things will pop up, even in 4 months. I promise.
In my relationship we will have to learn to be patient with each other’s daily quirks and habits, and the mundane, and there are a few choice items on that list I am already well aware of (Just read about the Sock Fairy in my previous blog to know one of these items).
LDRs, are survivable, but you have to be okay with a lot.
So quick recap: You have to think the relationship is end-game, otherwise it isn’t worth it. You need to be able to let go of the little things, because I guarantee it will make you bat sh*t crazy if you don’t. There needs to be communication (as cliche as that is), because when communication through words and e-mails is all you have, you better be pretty good at it, or try to be.
So go into it with a plan of when it will be over, be open to the lessons, and be willing to hang on and put your pride aside for someone or something really awesome. It’s worth it. I know this is repetitive to a lot of other posts about LDRs, and even in this blog I feel I repeat myself. However, that is because I am trying to emphasize what I have taken away from my own experiences.
Maybe I will have consoled someone else who feels the pain of harsh judgement from those around them about LDRs. Regardless, this is one area of life I have a little bit of experience with, and hope I was some help.
I wish all you couples the best, near or far, because together or apart, it is work with its own challenges. Just remember; it’s different, and that’s okay!