By: Dani Kessel
Before I married my partner, we spent three and a half years in long distance. We were told a million times over that our relationship would fail because “long distance never works.” We are living proof that isn’t entirely true though. Long distance is hard. It isn’t for the faint of heart. But, just like any other relationship dynamic, people grow and adapt to make things work. There are many positive internal changes you make when entering into a long distance relationship.
You learn to communicate effectively.
Being apart from each other means you have to make the most of your communication. Coordinating schedules, planning visits, arranging romantic and intimate time, and explicitly expressing your needs are all things you get in the habit of doing. When you speak, you are more inclined to have meaningful conversations. This skill translates well into all other relationships in your life.
You become more comfortable doing things alone.
In a monogamous long distance relationship, you don’t have a significant other to go with to the movies or dinner or out on the town. You might be able to go with friends, but often you are left to do things alone. Yes, it may be awkward at first. You get used to being by yourself though. For me, this boosted my self-confidence and made me less dependent on my partner for validation.
You appreciate the moments you share.
Moments together are even more precious when you live in different places than your partner. Long distance teaches you to value quality time in any form. You can be laying in bed together or out on date night, but every second counts. This is something that regular couples don’t always value in the same way. Long distance may be hard, but it adds extra value to time.
You develop a sense of trust with your instincts and your partner.
You don’t get to know where your partner is and what they are doing all the time. This might be true of regular relationships too, but it is even more prominent in long distance relationships. When in this relationship dynamic, you learn how to sense/read the subtext in text messages, phone calls, and video chats. This increased connection with your instincts helps you trust yourself. If you want a functional long distance relationship, you also have to trust your partner. The trust of your instincts and partner become symbiotic, building each other up.
You discover more about your interests, hobbies, passions, etc.
We’ve all heard about the people who lose themselves when they enter into a relationship. In long distance relationships, you have an overwhelming amount of time to fill. You don’t get to be with your partner casually like you can in person. Instead, you are allowed the chance to try new things or delve more into the interests you already have. Long distance mostly prevents you from melting into the personality of your partner. You get the unique opportunity of focusing more on yourself.
Though long distance relationships may be difficult, there are many personal and interpersonal benefits that come from the changed dynamic. My relationship let me grow into a stronger individual with confidence, communication skills, trust, a deeper appreciation for the little things, and a wide variety of interests. I don’t believe this would have been possible if it weren’t for the physical distance between my partner and I. If you’re considering entering into a long distance relationship, don’t let the naysayers get to you. Ponder all the benefits, challenges, and really evaluate whether it is something you’d like to commit to. It might not be easy, but it can be well worth it.
If you have been through a long distance relationship, what other changes did you make? Did you find the relationship dynamic to be more difficult or rewarding? Was it an overall valuable experience for you? Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering it? Please tell us in the comments section below!