Every couple should experience a long-distance relationship. Why? Because it has benefits that can make your relationship stronger and can bring couples to a better place with each other and with themselves. Though the modern generation might cringe at the thought of a long-distance relationship, as a person with first-hand experience, I have to say being in a relationship with miles between you is something worth trying.
Of course, I’m not saying taking long periods of time apart with no physical contact or hardly any communication is healthy, because it’s not. However, I do not believe distance is what causes relationships to fall apart. People cause them to fall apart.
When I was 14 I started dating a boy that I was on the rodeo team with. We saw each other on weekends or at rodeos and not much else. We were together almost four years. My second year of college I dated someone who lived 2,600 miles away. Though the distance nagged at my heart for weeks and weeks, once the day came that I got off the plane to greet him I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Two years ago I fell in love with a man who worked out of town for a month on and came home for a week at a time. To this day, I have never had more adventures or exposure to the world.
So, what does this pattern tell you? (Okay, yes, obviously these men didn’t all work out to be the lucky guy standing at the end of the isle.) Maybe they didn’t work out, but honestly, I wouldn’t go back and change anything. I learned an enormous amount about myself, my relationships and the kind of love I want to be in. If you want to know why I wouldn’t change a thing, I’ll tell you. I have 5 good reasons.
1. It built trust.
Being apart definitely exercises trust. Trust is the very foundation of being in an exclusive relationship and there is no better way to determine if you trust someone (or if you yourself are trustworthy) than to be apart for a good period of time.
2. It makes you appreciate being together.
I know for myself, I never took these guys for granted. I never wanted to waste a second arguing or getting mad over something petty. I missed waking up next to the person I loved so much, that when I got the chance to do so I felt like the luckiest person on the planet. Isn’t that what love should make you feel like? Incredibly lucky? Shouldn’t you cherish the person you are with and not take them for granted because you know they will still be there tomorrow? That’s what distance does. It makes you fall in love with the moments you are given instead of taking them for granted.
3. You get the chance to learn each other.
When you’re apart all you can do is talk to each other. You don’t have the opportunity to fill your time with lust or going out. You only get the chance to talk. This gives you the opportunity to know each other on a deeper level because your conversations have to get a little creative. In person, it’s easy to ask someone how their day went and then put on a movie or go grab dinner, but on the phone the silence is much harder to fill without words.
4. It gives you the chance to have an outside perspective.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the distance was the perspective I had of my relationship. Love can be very blind, but it’s a whole lot easier to see someone’s true self when they aren’t in front of you showing you everything they know you want to see. I had the ability to see my own flaws and insecurities as well as theirs. I could have the space I needed to think and the time I wanted to grow from any negative experiences we were going through, as all couples do. Not being right in front of the person I loved gave me the chance to see the relationship from a more logical point of view instead of an emotional one.
5. You grow as a team.
Being apart is not easy. Missing someone you can’t have within a short period of time can be very torturous, especially when you throw that trust test in the mix. You have communication obstacles, face loneliness, frustration with being apart and have to really learn to trust each other. Being apart takes a lot of reassurance and affirmation of where you stand. It requires patience, persistence, consistency, strength, communication and a little independence. Not everyone can handle that, which is okay. But, if you can handle the hurdles apart, you will be unstoppable together.