The majority of people who are in a long distance relationship want to know the secrets of how to survive the distance. You come across many blog posts (including my own!) and YouTube videos from long distance couples giving advice on how to make a long distance relationship work. We all work toward the same goal: to get rid of the separation.
However, no one ever discusses what happens after you conquer long distance. Is it truly happily ever after?
There are a million things you do not miss about long distance. There is not a feeling in the world like the heartbreaking (stamping and wrenching) goodbye at train stations. There would be tears leading up to the event, which would mean that our time together was tainted by the impending departure.
The train journey that, a mere two days earlier, was the most exciting feeling in the world, was now the worst. You’re surrounded by people who are happy to be on their travels while you are trying not to cry while sitting next to a complete stranger.
Seeing each other then reverts to doing life alone again. And the countdown to the day that you would be together again would begin. You would have to get on with work, seeing family and friends, but a big part of your life was always missing. The few weeks you got to share out of the whole year became the highlight weeks.
Finally embarking on a normal life together was completely surreal.
Having only been used to the feeling of time running out, it takes a while to shake the feeling that the time you have is precious, that it wouldn’t be forever.
Doing long distance has made me appreciate all the little things in life, from food shopping and cooking together, to waking up next to one another in bed. Yet it still felt like this was too good to be true.
As a result of only being used to having a small amount of time together, I pretty much never want to be apart. It’s scary how quickly after the initial period you get used to spending a lot of time together. 3 months in, I can’t imagine going back to long distance – I can barely go 4 days now, let alone 4 weeks without seeing him – how did I do it?!
But it is a shock to the system. No longer having to say, “He is only here for two days,”.
As much as it’s the best thing in the world, it also takes some adjusting to. Especially if you’re both transitioning in other parts of your life too.
Being geographically close should be a good thing because research says that it is mundane talking rather than grand gestures which make relationships strong.
But a study in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships from Ohio State University found that out of 180 long distance couples who moved closer, 114 of them stayed together, but 66 split up. Two thirds of them in the first 3 months.
Most people missed something about their long-distance arrangement: the freedom, the novelty value, and a special sort of closeness they’d felt.
They were also four times more likely to notice a new negative quality in their partner than a positive one, usually laziness and immaturity. Jealousy, funnily enough became more common.
In a long distance relationship, you avoid bickering because the time you have is so precious, but when you’re closer, time is less of a premium so you can bicker to your heart’s content.
Readjusting to normal life to include your other half may have it’s challenges, especially becoming tolerant of their everyday needs. You learn things about each other which you never knew – and have to get used to their habits in the long term.
Despite us all hoping for the best, this can either make or break the relationship.
It’s been interesting adjusting and we’ll see what the future holds, but I am so grateful for the amount I really appreciate time together. Long distance for me was definitely worth it.
After all, after the pain, long phone calls and inconvenience you’ve been through, it only seems right to deserve a happy ending.