807 miles. thats how many miles are between me and my best friend, my other half, my boyfriend. We knew this going into it. I used to live down there and the timing was all wrong and we didn’t start dating until after I’d moved. And while it’s been hard, it has certainly given me room to grow, and of all of my friends’ relationships, many agree that my boyfriend’s and mine is one of the healthiest. We are completely independent. This is not to say I wouldn’t be hurt if we broke up-it would break my heart, but I have my own set of friends, my own hobbies, my own apartment. I have things to fall back on, and I have a healthy balance of time alone, time with friends, and time with my boyfriend (even if it’s just a phone call or FaceTime).
I’ve grown so much in the year we’ve been dating, growth I can’t be sure would happen if my boyfriend lived just down the street. I transferred schools, and successfully joined a sorority and made some friends. While I am a strong person, comfort is my weakness. I’m resilient, but it’s painfully hard for me to come out of my shell. With a boyfriend living 807 miles away, I’m unable to sink into my comfort zone, and use him as my only source of socialization. I’ve had to push myself. I’ve had to talk to people, make new friends, go to events where I don’t know anyone. With this comes a whole set of social engagements: house parties (something I usually hate to do but now go to), meeting friends for dinner, coordinating plans, being in a group message (honestly the bane of my existence, but at least I’m brave enough to contribute to group texts and have friends who want me in there). My point is that none of these things would have been possible for me with a boyfriend close by. Not that he would have hindered my growth intentionally-he’s extremely outgoing and makes friends everywhere he goes, and he tells me every weekend I should go out and have a good time. But the inevitable is that I would be too scared to do these things if I didn’t have to.
These are not just statements I make to make myself feel better, but truths. That being said, I am not trying to glamorize long distance relationships because while these are the long-term perks, in the short run, it really just sucks. At least once a day I see something that I know my boyfriend would find hilarious, or interesting. We talk on the phone and the “hallway of death” (ie the hallway in the apartment WHERE I LIVE) drops the call every time. Going out is fine-he doesn’t mind when I go to big parties and I don’t mind when he goes to the bars with his friends, but boundaries have to be set and it’s an awkward conversation to have, both with my boyfriend and with a guy at a party who wants to dance (or in his case an over-zealous waitress). We’ve built up an amazing amount of trust, again more than most of my friends here share with their close-by boyfriends. and when we do get to live close to each other, we will have mastered being independent, trusting each other, and spending a healthy amount of time together. So while it frustrates me to hear my friends complain they haven’t seen their boyfriend in a few days and they miss him, I remind myself that’s their reality, so how could they understand or comprehend anything different? Harboring anger and resentment won’t get you anywhere in a long-distance relationship. You have to enjoy the little moments-the first time you see each other in a while, glimpsing into each other’s routines, and enjoying the time you actually get together, time that we really appreciate and don’t spend on our phones or ignoring each other.
Sometimes it’s easier to throw the towel in, but I wouldn’t change my relationship for anything. I have learned communication skills, to trust people, and I have the best person for me out there, and what are the odds of your soul mate living ten minutes away in this world with so many billions of people?