Take it from someone whose relationship consists mainly of Skype calls, texting and instant messaging: long distance relationships suck.
All the fancy technology is supposed to be great for keeping in touch, but it certainly has its limits. It can be difficult to appreciate the romance as I gaze lovingly at a pixelated image that is supposed to be my boyfriend, and cuddling with my cell phone as I fall asleep each night leaves something to be desired.
Long-distance relationships have a long list of challenges, the least of which is technical difficulties. The whole point of having a relationship with someone is that you want to be together. In a long-distance relationship you can only be together when you visit each other, and we all know that’s not always easy. Being a student makes it even more difficult; we have class during the week, homework on weekends and not very much money to spend on traveling. If you’re both in school, neither one of you is going to have it easy trying to find time to visit.
So, if you’re like me, you argue about it. Here’s what happens: I offer to go visit him, but he doesn’t have anywhere for me to stay. So I invite him to visit me, but we’re both busy, and it’s a long drive. I end up thinking he doesn’t want to put in the effort to come visit, and he thinks I’m being selfish. Eventually we work it out, and he comes to visit me. I’ve gotten what I want and I’m actually going to see him. I couldn’t be more excited, and I want everything to be perfect. We’ve been looking forward to seeing each other, and this is all the time we get together for a while, so we better make it count. Yeah. No pressure. It’s never as good as I expect it to be, but the time together is the easy part. It’s the reason we try to make this work.
The time apart is the hardest. A long distance relationship means you’re lonely a lot of the time. You talk on the phone as much as possible and you try to video chat, but as I’ve said, technology has its shortcomings. After a bad day, sometimes all you need is a hug, and your distant significant other can’t give that to you. Or maybe they had a bad day, and you want to hold them, but you can’t. If they’re happy about something, you want to celebrate with them, but texting them a smiley face just isn’t going to cut it. Internet that is too slow and cell phones with bad reception seem trivial, but it can be the most frustrating thing when you rely on them to keep up your relationship. It’s hard to get what you need out of a relationship when you can’t together, so often times you find yourself lonely and disappointed. Depressing much?
You know the worst part? At this point, you probably won’t break up. If your relationship was serious enough that you decided to try long distance, chances are you’re not going to just end it now. Your friends hear you complain about how hard it is, so they tell you to break up. Easy for them to say. You’ve put in the effort to make your relationship last this long; you’re going to make it work, damn it! It seems like a waste to give up now. Not to mention that you probably care a lot about your significant other, despite how frustrating it is being apart. If you didn’t, being away from them probably wouldn’t be nearly as difficult. So you’re stuck hoping that the possibility of a future together is worth all the pain while you’re not together. A bit melodramatic, but that seems to characterize the young and in love.
So my suggestion is don’t even start. Save yourself the drama and the frustration and the disagreements over whose turn it is to visit and just don’t get into a long distance relationship. If you aren’t getting what you want, it’s not worth it. And if a partner made of pixels and cuddling with a cell phone is what you want, well, long distance relationships may just work for you.