First of all, as you can probably tell from the title of this piece, I’m not here to idealise long distance love. I’m not going to be the angel on your shoulder, or the friend who always agrees with you or tells you what you want to hear. Neither am I here to tell you that the challenges of long distance relationships are so immense that getting together with someone who lives miles away is pointless.
What I am here to say is that, yes, there are challenges that all couples who live far apart will have to face. But I will also remind you that these challenges are totally surmountable.
First and foremost, I don’t want you thinking that a long distance love will be all sunshine and sweetness. It won’t be. People will either say it is sunshine and sweetness and “hardly any different than being with somebody in an ordinary relationship – honey, I wish I could see my boyfriend less,” or they will tell you that you’re wasting your time. As always, the real answer lies in the middle. There will be challenges – ones different than those faced by “regular” couples – but it’s really up to you to take a look at what they are before deciding if they can be overcome.
Communication is a big challenge you’ll encounter because you can’t speak to your partner face-to-face. You can’t meet up with them at your place and discuss any issues you have. Instead, you have to rely on technology that sometimes isn’t always so reliable (how many times does Skype have to disconnect?), as well as guess their tone in text messages when they start writing in monosyllables.
It’s challenging, and for some people it can be exhausting, especially when you don’t hear from your partner for a few hours. What can make things worse is when you plan to speak – for example on video chat – but they have to cancel. It can leave you upset and wondering why, but due to time differences, this will happen.
You just won’t be able to chat as much as you’d like sometimes. There will be occasions when “real life” sabotages your plans to chat. Dealing with this comes down to how good you both are at communicating, as well as time management and organizing and making plans in general.
2. You might grow apart
When you live together with your partner, it generally follows that you grow together. When you live far away from one another, does this mean that you inevitably grow apart?
It’s not inevitable – but it is possible, and this is one of the challenges you’ll face. In a long-distance relationship, it’s super important that you maintain your own individual identities, but you need to strike the right balance between your life away from your modes of communication and your life with your partner.
To make sure you guys don’t grow apart, you need to involve them in your life and activities as much as possible. Send pictures and videos, and always chat about the things that are happening to you. Otherwise, you really will start to feel the distance.
3. Lack of presence
Their voice will act as a comforter of sorts when you feel down, but it’s not the same as their physical presence being right beside you. And this is one of the biggest challenges of long distance relationships – overcoming the lack of a tangible presence.
When you want to hug them, either from joy or sadness, you won’t be able to. And many people say this is a huge deal breaker for them.
4. It can leave you depressed
At first, there is only joy and happiness. You feel as though you’ve met the One and you can’t believe it. You know there is distance between you, but for now you’re focused on all the good things.
How long this joy and happiness lasts depends on many subjective and objective variables. For some, the happy fantasy in their head eventually gives way to the sad reality that their situation is not ideal. At first, they were totally okay with the fact that their partner lives so far away, but now they’re not. They need them here.
This can cause depression, but it can also cause bitterness and frustration which can manifest itself in your conversations. It’s a challenge that’s hard to overcome, especially when the other person can’t reach out and hold you.
These are just some of the challenges of long-distance relationships. There are more, but with a little perseverance and dedication to making things work, they are not reasons to avoid getting involved this way. Anything can be overcome with enough focus.