While I was with my , now, ex-boyfriend, I kept logs of how I felt during our long distance relationship. It was filled with the ups and downs of what being in a long distance relationship between two continents was like and I thought it would be great to share once we finally came back to each other. We would be separated from each other by thousands of miles for nearly 8 months. I had already had one failed long distance relationship and I was absolutely terrified I would be experiencing my second.
I’m not going to share these logs. I deleted them. It brings back a lot of pain I am not ready to face right now. But instead, I thought that I would share at least what being in a long distance relationship (twice) was like. You can do what you want with my experiences, take it as a warning or take it with a grain of salt, but I wanted to put this out there for 0other people and also for me. (To keep things clear, most recent Ex: Ex 1. First ex: Ex 2.
In my opinion, the hardest part of long distance is goodbye. I’ve never felt words choke out of my mouth like they did when I had to say goodbye to my most recent ex. When he finally let go of my hand, I felt like my world crashed down around me.Saying goodbye is not easy and it doesn’t get easier. I would visit my first boyfriend every 2-3 months and it hurt like a bitch every time. I kept thinking, “Its going to get easier, its going to get easier.” And it never did. I wish sometimes I could have seen my most recent boyfriend, but at other times I was very glad I didn’t.
Skype is an amazing invention, but keeping it at a minimum of once a week makes it much sweeter. That way, you actually have something to talk about. Nothing sucks more than staring at a screen with having absolutely nothing to say. Yes, seeing their face is nice and all, but sometimes it makes the missing worse. Texting is also awesome, but again I was really thankful that he and I were on wildly different time zones. That way I felt like we were both having our own experiences and we weren’t texting each other while going on about our day. Instead, Ex 1 and I texted when we woke up and before we went to bed for about 20 minutes and then had to say goodbye.
I was with Ex 2 for 5 years before he finally left for school and we had never spent a moment a part from each other except for being on different campuses when he was in high school and I in middle school. When he went to college while I was in high school, the whole world shifted. I had never been this far away from him before for so long. With Ex 1, we spent every winter and summer break apart from each other for months and weeks at a time, so distance wasn’t foreign to us when we parted on our separate journeys. That being said, it didn’t make it any easier.
Maturity levels also played a lot into our relationship. I have grown significantly as person between when I was dating Ex 2 vs. dating Ex 1. And this may be just advice in general, but there is a huge difference between a high school and a college relationship. My relationship with Ex 1 was just a more mature relationship in general. I think if we had survived the distance, and I really wish we had, it would have made us stronger as a couple. We were tackling really difficult things a part and if we had stayed together, we would have been stronger than ever.
Something that actually made us feel more together was when we played video games together. Even something as simple as Words with Friends made me feel like we were doing something together, and when we played Civilization V together for hours on end, it made me feel like he was really there with me. We also were a gamer couple to begin with, but if you and your partner weren’t, it might be fun to try it anyway. Although Civilization V is a little pricey, you can find plenty of cheap coplayer games on Steam or even free MMOs online to play together.
One of the other hardest parts of a LDR is the fact that you don’t witness how much each other change. Both he and I were going through some really life altering changes from our own study abroad experiences, and many times this would make us butt heads and get into disagreements when we had never fought before. Be prepared for this, but understand why it happens so forgiveness (if needed) can be immediate. As a couple, you’re keenly aware of when one goes through a change and you’re most likely there to witness it. When you’re away, you don’t see it at all.
Communication about how you are feeling is key. You have to let each other know how you’re doing; tell them the ups and the downs. If you hide how much the distance is hurting you, like I did in my first relationship, then it will tear it a part from the inside out. If you feel like you’re falling out of love with that person, tell them. If you feel like things are going better than expected, tell them. Keeping each other clued in about how you’re feeling as a whole about the relationship is incredibly important.
I don’t believe in taking breaks, but I know a lot of couples who do. I witnessed most couples who “took a break” (meaning they still were together but saw people on the side) break up in the end and end up with the people they saw on the side. I know couples who have taken breaks who have been just fine. I don’t believe in it because it just didn’t make any sense. I didn’t have any interest in seeing anyone else and I felt like if my Ex 1 saw anyone else, even if we were on a break, I would still get tremendously hurt.
Last but not least, your mental health comes first before the relationship. I wish I had ended my first relationship earlier because I spiraled down into horrendous separation anxiety and depression and that LDR is what caused me to have my first panic attack at prom. When the idea of ending a relationship starts to take a weight off your shoulders, its time to take a break or end it. I am not sure if my depression and anxiety were worse because of my most recent LDR, but they certainly didn’t help. Take care of yourself.
In the wise words of Rupaul Charles: “If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?”
Amen Ru, Amen.
Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?