How Distance and Relationships Work

I have been with my boyfriend for just about 3.5 years. I love him very much and we’re in this for the long haul. We met in college while we both worked at the same pizza place (I was the counter girl, he was a delivery driver). We spent an amazing 6 months living just minutes from each other. And then we graduated. I moved back home, he stayed nearby school for his job. And we’ve been apart ever since.

I never truly consider us to be in a “long distance relationship.” In my mind long distance meant 5, 6, 7+ hours apart. Long distance meant across the country or in different time zones. Those people had it tough. Those relationships are hard. But for Greg and me? We were just in different states. We saw each other most weekends. We weren’t long distance.

But we aren’t close distance either. And that can wear thin. I have friends who get to see their significant other 5 or more times a week. They cook dinner together after work on a Monday. They go to sporting events on a Wednesday night. They watch Netflix and drink wine on a Tuesday. They kiss their boyfriend goodbye as they leave for work on a Friday morning. Seeing each other and spending time with one another is never an issue.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that is true, for a time. Because Greg and I have such limited time together (he works Saturdays, so the only day off we have together is Sundays and we also live 2+ hours from each other) we really truly savor every moment we get together. We try to make every Sunday feel special. A walk through the park is a sweet moment. A trip to Home Depot is a fun excursion. Making dinner together is a novelty. Browsing the new arrivals at J.Crew is memorable. Because we get to do all these things together.

Spending time apart has taught Greg and me how important we truly are to one another. No relationship is easy and we’ve had our growing pains. We’ve gone through hard times. But in the end we know how important we are to one another so we continue to make the distance work.

But as we start to close in our 4 years together, the distance is starting to wear on me. Yes, the time we spend together is special because it is limited, but after 3 years of limits, I would like some freedom. The freedom to come home to him at the end of a bad day. The freedom to feel his presence next to me on the couch. The freedom to go to a baseball game on a Thursday night. The freedom to makes plans on a Sunday morning with girlfriends and still be able to hang out with him on Sunday night.

Absence does make the heart grow fonder. But there comes a point when your heart can’t take anymore absence. It needs presence. I’m there. I’m at the point where I crave presence all the time. And I know he does too. But due to extenuating circumstances we can’t be together yet. So we keep trudging along through the distance because it’s the only thing we can do.

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did you deal with it?

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3 thoughts on “How Distance and Relationships Work

  1. I loved reading your post about every little moment together being something truly special because I feel the same way. I’ve been in an LDR for just over 2 years (Canada to England). I didn’t mind distance at all for the first year, but this second year it has become harder and harder being apart because we know how wonderful it feels to be together. I think planning the closing the distance date makes it easier; we started planning on closing the distance a year ago and it is finally coming up in two months time. I’m getting super impatient but at least I know it’s coming. The kinda sucky thing is even when I move there we will still mostly just see each-other on weekends and will still have to go weeks and even months without seeing each-other at times because of my man’s job. But it will still be way better than having an ocean between us!

    Do you know when you and your man will be able to close the distance?

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment and for reading my post. Being in 2 different continents must be so difficult! I get frustrated just being 2+ hours apart. Right now there are some things that are out of our control that prohibits us from setting our “closing the distance” date. We are hoping to move in together within the next year, but we have to wait for a few other things to work themselves out before we can really set a specific time frame. The ambiguity is killing me but at least I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel eventually!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3.5 half years and we met in college too! This is the second time around we’re in a long distance situation. I studied abroad before and now I’m working my 2nd of 2 years abroad. We are in it for the long haul too, but I agree the distance can wear thin any relationship. It’s hard for me not to feel guilty sometimes, after all it’s been my decision both times to go abroad. My bf is really supportive and he knows I’ll grow a lot from my experiences and he’ll fall more in love with me b/c of it. But spending almost a year apart is really hard. The day to day is so important and we love living together and miss it a lot. We both want to make it through the next year and I really hope we do. Making time for each other and making the other person feel included in each other’s life has been so essential for making it work. Best of luck to you and your sweetheart!

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