Long distance relationships- everyone has thoughts on them. “They never work,” “why try?”, “my partner and I were long distance for X years”. I do not believe that there is an across the board answer to “are they good or bad”, I think it depends on both individuals and the couple. Some people can make them work for decades, others can only go a few months before it’s too much. In any case, today I’m going to share my thoughts on long distance relationships! But first, I have to make a confession…
Hello! I am the Historian, and I am terrible at long distance relationships. This is odd, given that I am sitting in the Seattle airport as I write this on the way home from visiting M. I should clarify what I mean by terrible. I am awful when one of us has to leave at the end of a trip. If you walked by right now, you would see a tired, red eyed girl that has a kleenex in her sleeve, going through all of her pictures and memories to make sure she doesn’t forget. It’s inherently sad to me, to be split up again after being apart for so long. Aside from the first 3ish months of our relationship, we’ve been long distance for over four years now (Hopefully next year that will change!), so any time is wonderful. For the first two years, M was in the Salt Lake City, and has since been in Seattle.
Being an Adult Makes It Difficult
It’s fairly easy to set up trips when you are a student- as long as it doesn’t fall during an exam/lab and you have someone who can take notes for you, you can travel when you want. Having an adult, regular hours job with responsibilities and limited vacation time means that I can’t grab random seat sales whenever it strikes my fancy. Sure, I could add a day onto a long weekend but then you are paying quite a bit more for your flight. (But seriously, is anything in adulthood easy and straightforward? I think not *ahem* car insurance, vitamins, organising anything…)
The Majority of Vacations are for My Relationship
Other than my Banff trip in May, all of my holidays are to see M. I wouldn’t have it any other way, he’s my best friend so of course I’m going to go to see him or visit somewhere new with him. However, please don’t be offended if I don’t take you up on an offer for a girl’s weekend trip somewhere! It’s not that I don’t want to go, it’s that I have limited money and time and seeing M is my first priority. I do have to admit, M got the terrible end of that deal- Winnipeg is fun and there is a lot to do but it’s not the most exciting place in the world, and it’s fairly isolated! Still, our vacations are for each other and it works for us.
Calls are Important to Me
I typically don’t out several nights in a row, because it means that I can’t call M for however many days. (Also, because I stick to my 10pm bedtime because I need my sleep, but that is a different story.) People often give me flack for this, but I don’t criticise you making time for your partner in the same city: why am I somehow insane for making time to talk with M? I understand that people might not understand, but a little bit of compassion (or even just not saying anything) would go a long way!
My Frame of Reference is Different From Yours
I’m not going to lie, I’m not great at being sympathetic when people are upset when their spouse is going away for a week or two- I have gone five months without seeing M in person, so to me two weeks is literally nothing. I do try my best to be understanding and recognise that every couple has a different normal, but that sometimes wears thin. I know several couples who are within 2-4 hours of driving distance, and it can be frustrating when they complain about having to wait until the weekend to see them. Instead of complaining, focus on the fact that if you wanted, you can in fact jump in a car and see them in a reasonable point of view. If I do know you, and you think I’m being a jerk about your short-term separation, please feel free to tell me but also remember my long distance context!
Have you been in a long distance relationship?