“Why did it take you four hours to respond to my text?” Does this text sound familiar? If so, you probably count yourself among the ranks of long distance relationships. We find relationships tough enough when we live 10 miles from our lover, so who’s to say long distance relationships ever work out? If military spouses manage to survive with their other half living thousands of miles away, my mind believes your distanced relationship shan’t fizzle out like an abandoned soda can.
Let’s be real, harder things exist in the world than struggling to maintain a strong relationship with someone residing in another state. For instance, famine, war, disease, hunger and Chipotle running out of guac (again). I’m here to ensure you that everything will indeed be okay. You will wake up each morning and continue living your life. But for those who wake up each day with feelings of doubt and nervousness, know that you and many others sail in your same long distance boat. Y’all should form some kind of club, maybe.
Let go of the doubt and follow Femke Lang’s mantra. Lang, a recent FSU graduate, has been in a seven-year relationship—and five of those years have been long-distance. “I would say embrace being in a distance relationship. For most people you don’t have a choice so you might as well embrace it and grow yourself independently,” Lang said.
On a personal note, my boyfriend and I are semi-long distance. Just a hop, skip and a jump down the interstate and I’ll grace Colby with my presence. Our lack of seeing one another stems from hectic schedules, not mileage. If I’m broke and can’t afford to buy gas, that’s another reason too. But that’s beside the point.
Now, if you’re reading this and your relationship happens to be seven states away, quit glaring at my soul through the screen. Maintaining a bond with your significant other doesn’t need to be so mind-boggling. And this information wasn’t scoped out from hours of research or from my own personal expertise, but from common sense and real people dealing with LDR struggles.
Remember those trust exercises you and your friends performed in grade school? One friend retreated behind you, arms locked and loaded and you were told to fall backwards. For some folks, this exercise is easier said than done. A handful of people would quickly buckle their knees in an attempt to cut the exercise short due to a fear of falling back, while the others would willingly plunge directly into the arms of their partner. Did you connect with the former? Would you not descend back into your significant other’s arms? You’re screwed. Seriously.
A longterm relationship can’t succeed without trust, especially with hundreds of miles in between you. How do you expect your significant other to remain tied down if you send him 38 text messages threatening to dump him because he accidentally fell asleep for a mid-afternoon nap? Florida State University junior Jenny Capone maintained a relationship with her boyfriend who lived in Utah. Capone said, “If you don’t trust the person you’re dating, you drive yourself crazy…and consequently drive that person away by assuming they are acting a certain way when they probably aren’t.” Relationships already require trust, but without physically seeing your SO for months on end, trust trumps everything. Learn it, live it, love it.
Obviously not all long distance relationships will succeed. But just like other parts of life, you live and you learn. Embodying a mature persona benefits both parties in a relationship. Acknowledging arguments and tiffs require a special time and place might save a relationship. Aside from a possible rescue, maturity alerts you when the relationship simply won’t work.
Capone said, “The main thing I learned is that you should never change who you are to make a relationship work…because [my ex-boyfriend and I] were both doing completely different things with our lives we really didn’t have much in common.” Maturity within your LDR will require recognizing when you’re growing together and when you’re drifting apart people grow apart. Never chalk your failures up as a big L; instead focus on the lessons learned.
Ironically, the term “understanding” can easily become misconstrued. Such a simple word, yet sustains such a deep meaning. Understanding requires way more than the words, “Yes, I understand.” Understanding demands to be felt.
“We understand we’re young and have dreams and ambitions we’ve always worked to accomplish and its important to support each other in that journey no matter where it takes you,” said FSU senior Savannah Green, whose four-year relationship has survived over three years of long distance. Withholding an important understanding such as Greene and her significant other’s supports their relationship. They’re comfortable accepting their different schedules for the sake of remaining together.
Aside from trust, patience seems to ring true for most successful long distance relationships. “Patience is key because things can get really frustrating especially when you have to go long periods without each other,” Lang said. “Just try your hardest to remember what matters and the little things that get frustrating and that take a lot more patience are worth it in the end.”
Remember what your mom said? Patience is a virtue. It rarely comes naturally to everyone, but embracing a patient persona can help any relationship. Counting to 10 before responding shows an act of patience. To help close the distance, you need to drop the petty arguments that often arise in relationships. Yes, that means ditching the passive aggressive undertones and subtweets. With patience, your problems will prioritize themselves and you can focus on what matters.
Long distance relationships can work, but ultimately your fate lies in your hands. Through patience, maturity, trust and understanding, the miles between you and your significant other mean nothing but a simple number. If you’re not willing to work for a stronger and better relationship, kiss the mileage goodbye. But if you have a strong want to pursue a healthy relationship while living across coasts, consider yourself a strong and determined being. Kudos to all long-distance relationships. Keep doin’ you.