They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. However, some would argue otherwise as they grapple with the delicate nature of long distance relationships. A lot of people make a sincere effort at maintaining romance over distance while others choose to not even attempt it. The level of dedication, communication, and patience required is overwhelming to some, while the level of trust, honesty, and faith needed is not possible for others. The prospect of sustaining healthy romance miles apart is a troubling one for many, a daunting task not meant for the fickle and faint hearted.
I was in two long distance relationships—relationships that ended for two different reasons, both of which related to distance.
The first ended because we didn’t see each other often enough. I was attending college at the University of Idaho and she was back home in Zimbabwe. Not knowing when we’d see each other again put strain on our relationship. It only made sense to end it before one of us did something that would hurt the other.
The second relationship ended because she felt she didn’t love me enough to put that much work into the relationship anymore. “I still have love for you,” she said, “but I’m not in love with you anymore.”
Those two relationships taught me some valuable things about long distance romance. The first lesson was that you have to make an effort to see each other. It gives you something to look forward to and it allows you to reset the clock that counts down to when you’ll see each other again. It doesn’t have to be once a week or once every month; it just has to be often enough to revitalize the relationship’s energy and the bond you share.
The second lesson, and probably the most important, was that they can only work if the two people involved are deeply and sincerely committed to each other. People who are great together can competently navigate through the many obstacles they encounter. A couple that communicates well, has trust and faith in each other, and is unconditionally committed to their relationship, will survive the many miles, borders, and time zones that separate them. If one person is weaker than the other, less committed, or apprehensive about going all in, then everything falls apart—trust, communication, honesty and all the other virtues that matter in love. This isn’t just a lesson for long distance relationships alone. Without trust, communication, commitment, and honesty, you could live next door to each other and your relationship would fall apart.
Someone once said, “Distance is to love like wind is to fire, it extinguishes the small and kindles the great!” To those that feel they have something real, special, and worth it, my best advice to you is that you shouldn’t fear distance, you should embrace it. Wouldn’t you rather be with someone that lives 3000 miles away but they are great for you, than be with someone who lives three blocks down and they aren’t?