The story never gets old: A girl meets a boy. They fall head over heels in love to realize later on one is bound to leave somewhere far.
My story, however, comes with a little twist. I traveled nearly 6,000 miles from home to get lost in thick Indonesian jungles with a person living in my hometown. Yet, moving to France in just a month after we return from the trip.
While I desperately wished to quit my job, pack my bags I couldn’t. Saying immediate good-bye forever at that point would have torn my heart apart as well. So I opted for that type of relationships I never believed could work — long-distance relationship (LDR).
Two years fast-forward, we are still together. We are still in love and I now have two homes in two different countries where I spend equal amount of time.
There’s one important most thing I need to tell you upfront: Long-distance relationships suck. You may eventually discover some positive aspects, but on your “bad days” you will curse each mile separating you.
Yet, if you ask me, “Is it actually worth to get into LDR?”
Absolutely. Every. Single. (Pun intended). Minute.
If you found yourself at the point when you need to decide whether love on the distance is possible for you, here are some important things I have learned the hard way.
1. You got a free ticket for an emotional non-stop roller-coaster ride.
I have always thought of myself as a big girl who doesn’t cry. The first month of LDR turned me into a total weepie.
It’s not that we weren’t doing “good”. It’s just due to complete novelty of the situation; I have experienced a vast variety of feelings from deep, depressive sadness to anger, joy, anxiety, enthusiasm and everything in between.
If you think it gets better in time, sorry, it doesn’t.
You will still have “good days” when you do your daily chores, feel excited about something, have fun times with friends. And there would be bad days. Terribly wrong days full of self-pity, heart-wrenching loneliness and drilling pain.
When you are together, your joy and happiness can’t be tamed. When you are apart, your sadness grows to the size of your personal universe.
2. You will become really creative in filling up your time.
To avoid the sadness consuming me, I started to get creative with keeping my brains occupied most of the day. I took language classes, learnt to cook a few dozens of new dishes, started biking regularly into the countryside, worked long hours, started a blog, revived some long-forgotten friendships, de-cluttered my flat, gave away my clothes and did some charity projects.
My partner started learning to play the guitar, learned to skate, became a pro-chess player, continued to study another language and make new friends and useful professional connections in his new home country.
Now you get the point, you will have a lot of “waiting” time you will need to productively waste unless you don’t want to be a sad girl all the time.
3. You will have a lot of tough choices to make.
Let’s start with some relatively simple questions both of you will need to answer honestly: “Where is this all heading?” and “What’s next?”; “How do you see our future together?” and “How can we close the distance?”
Add to the above developing the ultimate visiting schedule, shared expenses and financial planning, plus questions from all sort of random folks asking when/why don’t you get married or dump him.
4. Your friends’ may not be as supportive as you think.
If they are not in LDR as well, they won’t get all of your woes and complains 75 percent of the times. They will sound as sympathetic and compassionate as they can, but deep down inside you know they don’t understand your feelings.
Some would be much worse, asking seemingly hilarious questions like: “Does your boyfriend even exist?”, “How do you cope with the physical aspect of being in relationships?” and “Maybe you should date someone else?”.
Right. And than a cat becomes a dog.
5. In time, you develop an odd feeling of sureness.
Your relationships are definitely not about sex. You are rather friends without benefits when you are not together. If that’s not true love, why would each if you bother to sustain this whole thing?
You are very honest with your partner and can share anything in person or online — fears, dreams, hopes, pain, insecurities. Suddenly, “jealousy” becomes an empty word for you as you grow a thousand per cent sure in your partner.
6. You will make it till the end.
I have never believed long-distance relationships work. I was proved wrong.
You will make it through. You can be a happy couple even if you don’t share one zip code.
If it is your person, you will survive everything together and make it through all the future couple struggles and life difficulties.
You can read more stories of life and travel at Elena’s blog or check out the latest pictures at @elenastravelgram
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