Recently I went out to lunch with an old friend and between catching up and devouring our BLT wraps we talked about college. I love gushing about my college experience because I am so taken with my incredible school. Conversation turned to my boyfriend and I’s relationship.
Chris and I started dating right before our senior year of high school and throughout the year we avoided the college talk for as long as possible. He was set on Iowa State and I on University of Illinois and really we didn’t know where our relationship was going to stand once we left for school.
I figured the worst that could happen was it wouldn’t work out. I would rather stay in the relationship and realize that we weren’t cut out for distance than break up and regret it while wondering if we would have made it afterall. Chris had the same stance so that was that.
The first few weeks were terrible. We went from seeing each other daily to having to figure out how to communicate effectively through technology. There were miscommunications, breakdowns, and moments of hopelessness. But in the end it was worth it. We learned how to navigate the distance and how to say what we meant without miscommunications.
We are better communicators.
After a year of communicating through technology, it turns out we are communication pros now. After learning how to decipher what the other person meant when we weren’t able to use any visual cues, now all we need are visual cues and maybe a word or two and we instantly are on the same page.
We have more jokes.
We had to try harder to make the other person laugh, because when we were 381 miles apart sometimes it felt like there wasn’t much to laugh about. Now we have a ton of stupid jokes that nobody else would think are funny, but to us they are hysterical and that’s all that really matters.
We have a new appreciation for each other.
Time together was rare and special, so we didn’t waste it. With that new understanding of how important the other is, we still don’t let time together go to waste. Before we could sit together in the same room playing on our phones in silence for half an hour. Now time together is spent focusing on each other.
We are more supportive.
We weren’t having shared experiences anymore, but instead we were sharing lots of stories about our new experiences. Hearing about Chris’s new friends, I could either be jealous that he was with them and not me or I could be excited for him even though I wished I was there, too. The distance taught me how important it is to support him and be his biggest fan.
We trust each other.
When you have no real way of knowing what your significant other is, you have to have an extreme amount of trust. Trust that they aren’t lying to you, and trust that they are being faithful. We trusted each other fully and still do. Fully trusting each other required a leap of faith, but once we took the leap we were all in and never looked back.
We are best friends.
The distance helped us shift into a more serious relationship and transform from just a couple to best friends, too. Plenty of my friends thought that I was crazy for going into my freshman year in a long distance relationship, but I was optimistic. It turns out that optimism worked in my favor because not only did Chris and I survive the distance, but we thrived. We understand each other, we laugh obnoxiously whenever we are together, and we are very secure in our relationship.
I can wholeheartedly say that our year of long distance is one of the best things to ever happen to us. Couples in long distance relationships have to try harder than couples who are always together. Now that the distance is non-existent we still try just as hard as we had to when there were 381 miles between us and that’s why I think we have such a successful, happy, and healthy relationship.