“How do you do it?”
The moment friends and family find out I’m in a long-distance relationship, it’s as if they can’t help but repeatedly ask this jarring question.
Some days I don’t really know the answer, but most of the time I confidently reply, “Because he’s worth it.”
According to Static Brain’s Long-Distance Relationship Statistics, 32.5 percent of college relationships are long distance.
From the time we first met, our relationship has always been long distance. This is somewhat embarrassing, but I met him on Omegle.com, which is quite possibly one of the sketchiest online chatroom sites you can easily waste hours of your time on. I happened to be on the website that day when I stumbled across this boy with a heavy, southern accent from Cleveland, Mississippi, and we instantly clicked. We kept in contact after that video chat ended, and he became one of my closest friends throughout my junior and senior year of high school.
We both graduated in 2015, and as part of my graduation present, my mom planned a three week road trip from Las Vegas to South Carolina. Since we were traveling through Memphis, Tennessee (which is two hours away from where my boyfriend lives) I briefly told my mom how I wanted to meet one of my good friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. I mean I couldn’t just tell her I met him online because what mom would actually allow their child to meet a “total stranger”? We ended up getting a bite to eat on Beale Street, which is known for its significant blues history. Despite how awkward it was when we first met face-to-face, within minutes our conversation went as it usually did when we FaceTimed.
Moving past our awkward first date, my boyfriend and I have been together for two years now, and I’m still in awe that we manage to make it work because I know many of my friends in college have tried but failed. He goes to Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi while I continue to attend Dixie State University. Although all we know is long-distance, there are key parts to maintaining this type of relationship, even if it isn’t clear across the country.
I remember the moment I told my dad I was seeing someone from Mississippi and he replied, “Good luck with that.”
He repeatedly said, “It’s going to be hard because you are both living separate lives but you’re still together.”
As if living 1,000 miles away wasn’t bad enough, the time difference makes it even worse. Almost every night, he sacrifices a good night’s sleep just so we can talk for a couple of hours.
It’s become a part of our routine to also fall asleep while on FaceTime so in the mornings when he has to leave for his 8 a.m. classes, he says, “Goodbye, I love you.”
This obviously does not compare to waking up beside your significant other, but these brief few words remind me why I decided to be in a long distance relationship.
Communication is essential in a long-distance relationship because all we have are those phone calls and text conversations a majority of the time. Because of this, allocating certain times throughout the day to talk are crucial. I know almost every night I will get to talk to him for at least one to two hours before we fall asleep.
However, it is also important not to overwhelm whoever you’re with. There have been times where we were both too busy to talk, and that is bound to happen every once and a while. Although we live in different states, we try not to overcompensate for the missed time. So if there are ever times when your boyfriend or girlfriend can’t FaceTime that night, don’t bombard him or her with endless calls or texts. If anything, most of my missed calls occur because he fell asleep doing last minute homework he procrastinated.
Stick It Out
According to Static Brain’s Long-Distance Relationship Statistics, most long-distance couples break up within four months after realizing it isn’t going to work out. In reality, that is such a small frame of time to attempt a long-distance relationship. For couples who really want to maintain a relationship like this, it is going to take more than four months to adjust to.
I am almost two years into my relationship and I can honestly say I still don’t know how to handle it. However, every time I see him waiting for me by baggage claim at the airport, I instantly know why I put myself through this.
If you really love the person you’re with, a long-distance relationship has the potential to work. I still cry every time I hug him goodbye, but I have come to terms with this for now. I know we won’t always have to live in this endless cycle of planning trips to see each other because one day I will live in the same state as him. This is just something to think about when entering a long-distance relationship because hopefully, it will not last forever.
Making time for your boyfriend or girlfriend can be hard enough in person, but when you’re only connected by a phone most of the time, you’re limited to what you can do.
There have been several occasions where I think to myself, I wish I could invite him over just to hang out or plan sporadic dates. Although I can’t do that, I think in a way, it is a blessing.
After being with him for as long as I have, I have yet to go through that stagnant period in a relationship. One of my close friends says she is getting bored of her relationship simply because they’re so used to seeing each other every week. On the other hand, every time we visit each other it’s a refreshing jolt from our usual routine. We know we have such a small window of time to see each other, which means we’re never together long enough to experience this boredom.
I calculated how much I visited my boyfriend last year, and the total came to 11 weeks. Instead of dwelling on how boring and predictable my relationship has become, I spend those 321 days away from him looking forward to my next visit.
Not to mention, I have checked several states off my list of places to visit since my relationship started.
Rather than view a long distance relationship as impossible, instead view it as an opportunity to travel and explore places you might never have seen yourself with someone you love.
Don’t discount a long-distance relationship because it works if you make it work. It isn’t like a group project where you say you did all the work, yet the other group members still put their names on it at the end of the day. You both have to be dedicated to this kind of relationship, and if you aren’t both going into this with the same mindset, you will end up being among those 40 percent of couples who end their long-distance relationship.