It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . LDRs are complicated that way, but are they worth it? Yes. And here’s why and what to be cautious of.
You know those friends who coupled up, are always together, and are so clingy and never more than two inches apart? Yeah, that’s not your LDR friends. Being in a long distance relationship doesn’t allow two people to fall in love with the affection itself more than with that person’s personality and conversation.
If that was all that was there, then the relationship wouldn’t last the lengths of line between visits. There would be far too little substance with that lack of affection, and without enough substance, the perceived “love” soon fades with the time away from affection.
If there wasn’t anything deeper, then there would be problems with faithfulness and loyalty from the get-go. With affection at the relationship’s root, if you aren’t receiving any from your significant other, than you’re going to feel empty and hungry for it. Your loyalty is founded upon the root, and as you grow distant from the root, so the loyalty weakens. It’s hard to stay loyal and faithful to affection in a state of hunger, and it won’t last long either.
Therefore, for a long distance relationship that lasts beyond the initial crush stage will more likely be founded on something deeper, since it is willing to rely on skype and phone calls, text conversations, and maybe even letters or little packages between visits. It requires creativity and endurance and sacrifice by nature. Needless to say, these things are a roller coaster. You go through the stages of missing the person, looking forward to the person, seeing the person with all the built up excitement, letting the person go and saying a temporary goodbye, withdrawal, missing the person, and repeat.
Telling a LDR couple they’re not gonna make it isn’t going to do anything, because they’re too strong already to listen and lose hope.
Giving statistics of minorities of LDR’s that work out and lead to marriage are worthless to spout out, because remind me what percentage of relationships in general do that? (Approx. 10% of LDRs lead to marriage, and approx. 85% of relationships break up). Statistics can give us general information, but are useless when inflicting doubt upon a dedicated couple.
LDR’s are hard. And this isn’t to say there aren’t areas of risk of relationship stress. In fact, there are three large areas I want to cover.
This is essential. There needs to be trust between two trust-worthy individuals.
Especially if you are in college and have classes, homework, clubs, events, work, etc., you can’t be keeping tabs on that person, knowing their every interaction with every person at all times of day. You both are going to have guy and girl friends, and you can’t get unrealistically expect them not to have friends of the opposite sex, and yet you must be able to trust them to be faithful and loyal within these friendships when you aren’t around — which is most of the time.
You need to not have doubt. Trust.
And you must be willing to trust them reasonably.
If you are both strong apart, then how much stronger will you both be together.
Which leads to the next point . . .
The high comes when you finally see each other . . . and when you’re about to part again. Emotion highs make self-control harder.
This doesn’t mean you can’t experience the emotional highs and still maintain perfect self-control and not push your boundaries. It’ll be more tempting, and hard, and must be recognized. That is where your grand communication skills play a part in establishing boundaries that you won’t cross and how to help one another in those times of high emotion. It could be anything from what situations to avoid to an activity that you’ll channel it into, (such as making a scrapbook, going to an icecream parlor, cooking and experimenting with new recipes, etc.).
You’re going to suffer withdraw from your significant other naturally, but going too far with the intimacy will make the withdrawal ever worse.
Fantasy vs. Reality
Only seeing someone in person once in a while, you’re excited, you’re on an emotional high, you’re at your best. That’s good. However, this can risk creating an image of the person only at their best instead of their day to day. You need to be able to love one another at your worsts, day-to-day quirks, as well as best. This is hard with brief trips once in a while.
But that isn’t impossible. Week-long trips (if possible), more time with each other’s families and friends, in groups of different people, etc.
Just be wary and aware. An eagle eye can see subtle flags, but also hidden gifts. You never know if your significant other is a charm with children or patient beyond what is believably possible.
Overall, long distance relationships are a roller coaster, but . . .