Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. One day, you meet your perfect match. You start dating, you fall in love. And then…Boom! Life happens. Maybe the two of you end up studying on opposite ends of the country. Or maybe, given the current economical climate, one of you needs to move away for a job. The modern world is unpredictable and chances are that at one point in your life you too will find yourself in a long distance relationship.
Being away from the one you love might seem like the end of the world but it really doesn’t have to be – it doesn’t even have to mean the end of the relationship. Long distance love can work and it can even bring with it some surprising perks. All you need is a lot of patience, a whole lot of trust and a good wifi connection.
First off, though, a word of warning: Long distance relationships are not for everyone. To survive the challenges that the distance brings with it, a couple needs to be on the same page and establish some ground rules. If trust is an issue even when you’re in the same city, then the added distance will most likely only amplify the problem.
Patience and commitment are also essential for making it through the rough patches that are bound to occur. When you’re miles away from your significant other, it can be painful, even infuriating to see other couples holding hands and cozying up on date nights – yes, even fictional couples on TV. If you are at a point in your life where you’re mostly just after a fun fling, then this probably is not for you. Going long distance has a way of making things very real which in turn requires both parties to be all in. Yes, long distance relationships are hardcore.
If you do decide to go the distance, then luckily, technology is here to help. We all know that during the past few years alone technology has revolutionized dating and the way we keep in touch. Internet is not only helping us find partners – it plays a huge role in maintaining existing relationships as well.
Apps like Skype and FaceTime are a real godsend for all long distance couples. Granted, seeing your partner’s face on a computer screen can never live up to the real thing and so far there is no app that even comes close to delivering anything half as good as the simple pleasure of holding hands.
But don’t get me wrong – the technological advancements that have been made are a real game changer. Thanks to modern technology, no matter how great the distance, provided you have internet connection, you and your partner get to communicate effortlessly in real time. You get to share texts, photos and videos or you can simply talk to each other face to face – or actually screen to screen might be more precise. These are all luxuries that the geographically challenged couples of past generations could only dream of.
With all our fancy gadgets and apps, we like to think of ourselves as modern, hip individuals. But in reality, human emotions really haven’t changed all that much during the course of history. The same feelings of intense longing that Shakespeare wrote about centuries ago are still very much a part of modern, technologically enhanced long distance dating. There is also still an undeniable old-school romance that time spent apart brings to a relationship.
A lot of the romance comes from simply making the effort to share your daily life with your partner, even when they’re miles away. It might seem mundane, but sharing the ins and out of your day-to-day life can actually deepen your relationship as well as enrich your own take on everyday life. When you’re living at a close proximity a lot of things go unsaid and get taken for granted.
If you live in the same city for example, you will probably not relate in great detail how you once again had a salad for lunch at that deli around the corner. But when you’re apart, leading your lives in separate environments, these mundane details become your lifeline. Suddenly you get to see the boring old deli though your partner’s eyes, as though for the very first time. And this surely is everyday romance at its best: Sharing your life with the one you love allows you to see and appreciate your own everyday life in a whole new way.
This also relates to one of the hidden perks of doing long distance – it teaches you how to be independent, even when you’re in a relationship. Especially when you’re young, it’s very easy to lose yourself in a relationship. Before you know it, being part of a couple becomes one of your most defining characteristics. The two of you might even acquire a Brangelina-type hybrid moniker.
When you don’t have your significant other right beside you every step of the way, you have a chance to get to know yourself on your own, as a fully realized individual. It helps that the people around won’t simply know you as a part of a couple either. The inner strength and confidence this helps build is priceless and will also help strengthen your relationship. Being together should be a choice made out of love, not out of fear of being alone.
Despite some unique challenges, at the end of the day, long distance relationships are like any other. The fundamental things apply. Without true commitment and open communication, a relationship can go stale regardless of whether you’re sharing an apartment or living on different continents. And no matter how big or small the distance, a couple needs to be able to trust each other and to maintain mutual respect. And as always, a sense of humor goes a long way. Trust me – there’s a lot of humor to be derived from patchy wifi and miscalculated time difference.
By: Pia Vuolteenaho