By Molly Ryan
After searching for the right person, you finally find them. They make you happy and you’ve never felt so comfortable around someone before. Suddenly, you are separated by miles and miles. You are asking yourself questions such as, “How do I make this relationship work?” “Will it survive?”
Long-distance relationships can last. They can be successful as long as you and your partner take the proper steps to preserve your endless love for each other.
Here is the backstory to my experience being in a long distance relationship: My boyfriend and I started dating when we were 15 years old;I was a junior in high school and he was a sophomore. Now, I am a freshman in college and he is a senior in high school. When I left for college, we had been dating for almost two years.
When I started dating Eli, I never knew we would be together for this long. As our relationship progressed, I started to realize how happy and comfortable he made me. The first time I even thought about college, I knew I wanted to go away from home, but I also knew I still wanted to be with him.
I will tell you that for the past eight months that we have been doing long-distance, it has not been easy. I missed out on his senior night for football and lacrosse, and we couldn’t celebrate our two-year anniversary together. Not to mention arguments that were fueled by the underlying frustration about how much we missed each other.
The first step we took for our long-distance relationship was sitting down and agreeing that we wanted to stay together. Everyone’s situation is different, so in my particular case, I was going to be two and a half hours away from him.
We talked about how we were going to stay together and make it work, no matter how hard it was going to be. I was about to go from seeing him multiple times a week to seeing him not even once a month. I said to Eli, “How are we going to do this?”
STEP ONE: MAKE SURE YOU WANT TO BE WITH THEM
Any type of relationship will not work if both people don’t want to be committed. Sit down with your partner and agree or disagree to pursue the connection you have. A couple of months before I left for college, I had a talk with my boyfriend. We talked about how we wanted to stay together and how we would make that work. Some couples may not stay together, and that is totally normal. These types of relationships are not easy at all. But it is worth it to try.
STEP TWO: ESTABLISH YOUR TRUST
Trust is a huge aspect of relationships. In my case, my boyfriend and I already had massive amounts of trust in each other because of how long we had been together when I left for college. We both knew I was going to be in college and would end up hanging out with different people, no matter their gender. Every relationship is different, but for us, we are both perfectly fine with each other hanging out with other people.
There should be no reason not to trust your person.
Whenever either of us goes out, we let each other know where we are going and share our locations. Sharing our location lets each other know that we feel safe with where we both are. Being in college, whenever I am alone it is nice to know he has my location just in case anything ever happened.
STEP THREE: COMMUNICATE HEAVILY
Communication is very similar to trust. In my eyes, communication is simple. If something is on your mind and it has to do with a specific someone, let them know. You should feel comfortable talking it out with your partner and resolving whatever is weighing you down. It can be harder for some people, but trust that your partner will listen to whatever is going on and help you. Communication is key.
You and your partner are about to be apart from one another. Chances are you are going to argue here and there. Most of our arguments start because we miss each other so much.
STEP FOUR: ALWAYS REASSURE ONE ANOTHER
Doubts, jealousy and insecurities are three traits that a long-distance relationship will bring on. This is simply because there is a distance between you both, and you probably won’t see each other in person for a long time. My boyfriend and I usually go about three weeks to a month without seeing each other. Some couples can see each other more, but in my case, my boyfriend is extremely busy with work, school and sports, so it’s hard for him to come to visit me.
I would recommend verbal reassurance more than every once and a while to any couple. Tell your partner that you love them and that you appreciate them. Go out of your way to compliment them. Simply ask them about their day.
Long-distance relationships surely aren’t the easiest in the book, but they can be rewarding. I can’t even explain how much distance between my boyfriend and I makes seeing each other ten times more special. I remember the first time I saw him after I left, which was in October. We went about a month and a half without seeing each other. When we finally broke the distance, seeing him was so special.You have to have a positive mindset and look forward to seeing your partner.
STEP FIVE: PUT IN EFFORT IN EVERY ASPECT
Effort is one of the most important tools in most aspects of life. Make sure you and your partner are both putting in 110% of your effort.
Some ways to add in extra effort is prioritizing your partner. Something that worked for us was making time a couple times a week to call each other. Put aside time for each other, it really works. Another way to show you are putting in extra effort is to surprise your partner once and a while with a little gift, or even going to see them, like my boyfriend did.
In November of 2022, I turned 18. I was super excited for my birthday but also extremely sad because I couldn’t see my family and boyfriend on my special day. I ended up having a great birthday. A couple days after, which was the weekend, my boyfriend surprised me at school with the help of my roommate and parents. I knew my parents were coming up that weekend, but little did I know that they were also bringing Eli up with them.
That surprise is something I will always cherish throughout our whole relationship. Do things for each other that let the other know that you truly care for them.
Long distance relationships are definitely not easy, but in the end, they are worth it. Focus on these five steps with your significant other during your time apart, and trust that it will work out.