There has never been a time when long distance relationships have been so prevalent, and so accessible. We travel, we go to college, we get summer jobs in different cities. We meet people we fall in love with, then move apart. But rather than seeing physical difference as a deterrent, we view it as an obstacle. We’ve adapted, trading in love letters and tortured hours waiting for the phone to ring for constant transatlantic messaging, face-timing, and plane tickets. LDRs are so much more common, and so much easier, than they’ve ever been before.
And yet they’re still difficult, and people still don’t really talk about them. We feel ashamed to admit that we spent three hours last night video chatting, while our friends brag about an expensive dinner out with their significant other. We pretend that it’s always fine, that we hardly ever miss each other, just so we don’t have to listen to another lecture on how LDRs never work and are doomed to fail. So there are a lot of things that us LDR-ers just don’t talk about. But we SHOULD talk about them, because they’re a part of our daily lives and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. We should be proud of being strong enough to survive being apart from people we love. Let’s start sharing our experiences, and being seriously honest about what long distance love actually entails. Here’s a start, with 10 things that no one will tell you about being in a long distance relationship:
1. You’re going to be BROKE. Plane tickets. Posting excessive gifts to make up for the time apart. Blowing all your money when you finally see each other, just to make up for lost time. You thought you’d save money from fewer dates. You were so, so wrong.
2. Your laptop is your real significant other. It doesn’t matter how much you disliked texting before, or if you weren’t a fan of Facebook, because being in an LDR means you are suddenly a little too dependent on all forms of technology and internet-related activities. You will fall asleep cradling your laptop, and experience minor anxiety at the thought of being away from your phone. You will quickly become one of those girls you always rolled your eyes at, constantly attached to some kind of screen, because you have NOTHING ELSE.
3. But you’ll also become an expert on the latest messaging/calling apps. This one particularly applies for my relationship-across-countries homies, because being in an LDR means you are up to date on everything from Viber to Avocado. You lament the poor connectivity of Viber, and pray that one day Facetime won’t drain your data plan. Every new app that promises better messaging, cooler functionality, and anything to help you communicate with your significant other will be downloaded in seconds. But a few days later you’ll probably just revert back to Whatsapp.
4. You might become a bit of a slob. Sorry, but if you’re the type of person who dresses up to attract the opposite sex, get prepared for sweatpant city. Your boyfriend/girlfriend can’t see you, you’re not out to get laid, and you’ll slowly stop giving a crap about what you look like. Until Skype time. Then it’s sweatpants on the bottom, make-up and cute tee up top.
5. Sometimes, being apart from your significant other is AWESOME. Never feel bad for enjoying alone time. If you’re in an LDR, you get the independence of being single with the comfort of a relationship. No-one mentions the fact that the alone time that comes as part of an LDR can actually be really fun. You can go to the gym, you can go out, you can spend hours watching TV. Yes, obviously, you can still do those things if your BF/GF is in the vicinity, but you might have to check in first, or you may feel bad about saying no to hanging out. Being in an LDR means you always have space whenever you need it. SCORE.
6. Arguments suck. When you’re physically together during an argument, things pretty much have to get resolved. When you’re in an LDR, however, you can drag that stuff out for DAYS. You can ignore texts and refuse to video chat. You can go to bed angry and stew in your rage and it can be SO hard to sort things out.
7. You often feel like you’re missing out. Not missing out on the sex and all that jazz, but missing out on the food, and the movies, and all the fun activities couples do together. That new restaurant you’re dying to try? Nope, not until your significant other gets a train/plane ticket. LDRs mean no go-to dinner/movie/gallery partner. Damnit.
8. You’ll become a LOT more open-minded when it comes to relationships. You’ll realize that relationships aren’t so black and white, and won’t be able to criticise your friends’ dating choices so harshly, because you’re suddenly very aware that your choices are completely irrational and impractical. But you do it for love. Aww. You’ll also have to open yourself up to new things you never thought you’d do. *cough* Sexy skype times *cough*
9. Reunions are often awkward. And it’s always SO frustrating, because you love each other and there’s never any weird pauses over the phone. But no matter what you do, the first half an hour or so of reuniting after a long period apart feels so weird and stilted. It’s okay, it will pass. Still so weird though.
10. You will go through the most intense highs and lows. You will love them more intensely than you thought possible, you will miss them to a point you never thought you could endure. You will cry tears of happiness when you see them at the airport, then cry all the way home when you leave. LDRs are whirlwinds of emotions. They’re wonderful and horrible and we all know that rationally, they’re not the best idea. But we do them anyway, because love makes us crazy and crazy feels good sometimes. And sometimes, it all works out okay. Better than okay, actually. No-one ever seems to mention the LDRs that actually last, but honestly, they do exist.