Boy meets girl. They go crazy over each other, knowing one of them is leaving town in less than a month (or a week, or a day!). The story never gets old.
The dreadful day approaches. They’re at the airport, time is running low. There are tears, sloppy kisses and endless promises that they will get through it no matter what! One leaves. One stays. But know this: “dating” in no way prepares you for a long-distance relationship. It is a different kind of ball game altogether.
Before moving to France to be with my partner, I spent over a year living in a limbo of visa paperwork, lonesome nights lying awake, and carefully crossing out days left until we met again.
Now, I need to put it in bold: long-distance relationships seriously suck!
Below are 14 things no one will tell you about being in a long-distance relationship, except for someone who has already done it.
1. Congrats! You’ve got a free ticket to an emotional roller-coaster ride!
Some days will be fine. You’ll just do all the usual stuff — go to work, catch up with friends for drinks, walk your dog and work out every day to look fit when you finally meet again.
But there will be terrible days too. Days when you don’t want to get out of bed or do anything meaningful — except for embracing your pain and loneliness. Days when you seriously question your decision: “Is it worth it? Why am I doing this?”
You’ll go from moments of tremendous joy together to hopelessly depressing thoughts on the night before your departure: “Will I survive another separation? I’m not sure how many more times my heart can be torn apart until it finally breaks!”
2. There will be a lot of tough choices to make
So where are we heading? How do we see our future together? Should I leave everything and move to you? Is it worth it? Who will come and visit? When?
Get used to the endless swirl of complicated questions you both need to answer honestly.
3. Your laptop is your real significant other
At least for now.
You will fall asleep with your beloved’s face on the screen. The first thing you’ll grab in the morning is your laptop to check if they’ve already sent you a sweet “Morning, sunshine!” email. You’ll put your laptop next to your plate so you can have dinner together.
You’ll also get to know all the latest video, chat and photo exchange apps, all designed for couples who are apart.
4. Time will be your main enemy
When you are together, you’ll savor each and every moment. You’ll plan to do all those amazing super-romantic couple things, or simply enjoy the warmth of actual hugs as long as possible. Yet, you will never get enough time.
But once apart again, you’ll simply wish the clock ran faster: “Is it Friday already? So, there’s just 24 days left until I visit. Can I please wake up on day X?”
5. You will get more creative trying to fill up your time
Always wanted to learn French? How about play tennis, enroll in a Japanese cooking class, or master ink drawing? This is a high time to find new hobbies and try new things. Keep your mind engaged and let it focus on learning new skills. Besides, isn’t it an awesome way to impress your partner when you finally catch up again?
6. There will be all sort of memory triggers that will cause you to randomly cry
I thought I was emotionally strong. I was proved wrong. Numerous times.
7. It won’t get easier in time
Even if you think you can get used to being apart and are now stoically waiting for when things get easier, they won’t. No matter how long you are in a long-distance relationship, you always miss your significant other like crazy.
Revisit points #1 and #6 and accept that.
8. You learn to live in a twisted reality
They’re never there, but they’re all yours. You spend too much time inside your head replaying all those sweet moments spent together, having all those daydreams and conversations.
That’s odd. I know.
9. Your friends won’t be as supportive as you expect
“OMG! So you’re like one year into a long-distance relationship? How do you cope with, you know … desire?”
“Does your boyfriend even exist?”
“Why don’t you find someone else to date?”
Why can’t a cat become a dog?
10. Long distance feels heavy
Your partner won’t be around every time you desperately need them, not on one of those “bad days” when you are one step away from a yet another mental breakdown. Not on those days when you fail and need more support that any sweet words on Skype can convey. Eventually, you learn to cope with a lot of things on your own, and you grow stronger and more mature in the process.
11. Finding the time to visit is complicated
You won’t be able to come and visit each and every weekend or month as you originally intended to. You still have different and conflicting commitments holding you back. (Or else you’d be sitting next to each other already, right?) And unless booked months in advance flights cost a pretty penny and get insanely expensive during holidays and vacation seasons. Exactly, those times when you are most likely to be able to visit.
12. When you finally meet again, you just pick up just where you’ve finished
When you are together again, it seems like those ugly weeks apart never existed. Like you finally pressed “Play” and started living your perfect life again. At least until it’s time to go back home.
13. Eventually, you develop this odd feeling of sureness
You will begin to consider that if you are not soul mates, why would both of you bother so much? Your relationship are definitely not about sex. Rather, you are like friends without benefits most of the time. You can talk over anything — hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities. Jealousy is just an empty word as you grow absolutely confident in your partner and yourself.
14. You know if you both see this through to the end, your relationship will survive anything
As a couple you will develop this invisible, bulletproof bond. It will carry you through all sort of arguments and life difficulties. After all, if you survive the long-distance thing, everything else from then on will seem easily manageable!
Featured photo credit: Hearth symbol in sunset via shutterstock.com