History in the Making

The Truth of Long Distance Relationships

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…
The Truth of

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?
Until tomorrow,
The Historian!
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0 thoughts on “The Truth of Long Distance Relationships”

  • “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.” Story of my life last year. We have been apart for only one year, but it truly has been the longest year of my life. Now we finally moved together, and I’m enjoying each minute of it. I wish you a lot of courage for the upcoming months and hope that you guys manage to be together soon!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! Being that we’ve been long distance for over four years (probably looking at six-ish total), it’s really our “normal”, but sometimes it is just tough. However, I do love that when we are together that is our only focus! We don’t have the regular, everyday life distractions that we might otherwise have. Congratulations on the move!!!

      • Yes, after moving together, it was sometimes hard at first to be together while having to focus on other things, and sharing also boring moments or annoying chores, and see each other in the rush of the week, etc. Before, when we saw each other, we had each other’s full attention! Now we need to share, haha. There are good and bad for every kind of relationships!

  • I can definitely relate to this. I have gone about 3 months now since seeing my love gone. Its hard but I am realizing it gets easier and easier the deeper our relationship gets.
    Love pasts the test of time.

  • Long Distance relationships are hard work but they are so worth it! The strength of your relationship and the trust, love and loyalty you have for each other will be so worth it!

  • I was in a long-distance relationship for a little more than a year after a few year of a long-distance friendship… It was hard, especially the goodbyes, but we made it work and we now happily live together! It was an adapation, but everything was worth it… I don’t understand people who try to discourage you… Love is love, no matter the distance. Yes, LDR have their challenges but every relationship does!

  • I took my first non-relationship related holiday from work for the first time just a couple of months ago! It was the first time i’ve ever done that in the 3 years we’ve been together!

  • We did a long distance relationship for two years (between the UK and Japan.) The time difference can be a bit of a killer. 🙁
    I LOVED my job in Japan and wanted to stay for one more year…but I don’ think our relationship would have survived another year apart. It all worked out in the end, but I wouldn’t want to go through that again.
    I hated it when people told me that it’d never work.I knew it *might* not last, but if we’re up for giving it a go, why do people get so judgemental about it!? And why do so many people try to discourage you!? Folks can be really insensitive about long distance love.

  • My wife and I lived on sperate continents while I was deployed for several months at a time prior to getting married. At first it was brutal, but in time, like you, we were able to change our frame of reference. Several weeks apart became easily bareable. However, now that we’ve been married and live together, we’re back to facing the “challenge” of spending a weekend apart again. Fair warning just in case…

  • I really enjoyed this and can totally relate to all of it. Im currently in a long distance relationship, we are 8 hours drive apart however with different work schedules, kids and limited disposable income, we usually go 3 to 6 months between visits. I blog about our relationship if you’re interested ??

  • I am also very bad at long distance. I used to be bad in a very different way (the “after a few weeks I sort of forgot I was still in a relationship” way, if you catch my drift). But that was much younger me, who had much less invested in any given relationship… although that’s probably closer to what people think of when they list reasons long distance doesn’t work. Now I’m just bad at functioning without my partner nearby, to bounce off of when I’m spinning out over details or lean on when life hits below the belt.
    And that’s why I don’t understand my friends who get excited when their partner goes out of town. Like time away from the person you love most is a vacation… wut?

  • I actually was in a long distance relationship ! It was really far, since he was German, to meet I had to take the train (it was almost 6h sometimes). But as you said since we were students, we had more time to see each other ! ?

  • I dated several men in the military before I met and married my hubs. Two words for you…overseas deployment.
    I think it just comes down to the individual. Some people can handle the absentee SO better than others.
    All that experience helps me cope now though when the hubs has business trips. Oh, so you’ll be gone four whole days. Wow, I’ll try to maintain. LOL

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