Long distance is hard for any couple. It’s tough to navigate differences in time zones and commitment levels and for many, distance can be a deal breaker. It’s definitely not for everybody and for the longest time I thought I couldn’t do it either. But, after just a month of dating my S.O., we agreed to do long distance and here is how we did it.
Find my Significant Other
In sixth grade, I fell head over heels for a boy in my Social Studies class. Looking back at it, I have no idea why. He was a chubby, immature, dumb boy who was the bane of our teacher’s existence. But for some odd reason, the stars aligned and we figured out that we liked each other. For a month, we exchanged emails (emails!) to talk to each other.
Move to Another Country (and break his heart)
Then, I found out that my dad was being reassigned to Japan for his job and I would be moving continents away. Being the pragmatic thinker, I knew that I was not about to do long distance for the 3 years I was gone. So, I broke up with him. I sent him the most ruthless email I could create and didn’t think of him again while I was in Japan.
After those 3 years, we moved back to California and I went back to my local high school for 10th grade. In my small suburb, everyone goes to the same elementary, middle, and high school. It was great to see all of my old friends and not have to go through the process of making new friends again. But this also meant I would be at school with him.
Break His Heart (Again)
As a hopeless lover, he offered to help me in class since I was readjusting to American schooling. As a pragmatist, I kept him around to get answers to quizzes and homework. It was clear that I was just using him, but the more we spent time together, the more he wanted to help. Eventually, he tried to asked me to a dance and I turned him down.
Start Talking Again
Fast forward another 2 years in which we barely exchanged a word, he asked me to sign his yearbook before we graduated. This spurred us to start talking again. We joked about our immature younger selves, my ruthless using of him and his heart break. A month after graduation, he asked me to go to San Francisco with him.
We already knew we were going to colleges on opposite sides of the nation, him at UPenn and me at USC, so starting something one month before college was a risky decision. As we got closer and discovered how many interest we had in common, we realized that we had something worth staying together for. I dropped my practical thinking for his optimism.
Whether you’re long distance or right across the street from one another, making promises and keeping them is critical. This was particularly hard for me. My S.O. was a straight arrow that did not party, drink or do drugs. Adjusting to college, especially at USC, infamous for its party culture, I had difficulties keeping those same promises.
Another key for a relationship is maintaining great communication. Though we couldn’t talk face to face for almost the entire year, we did our best with Skype, texts and Snapchats (no emails this time!). Despite only a 3 hour time difference, it meant that both of us had to sacrifice sleep to spend time together.
Pro tip: Know when you’re going to visit
We agreed to see each other during our longer breaks and planned our days when times got tough. If you don’t plan, you can easily fall into something I call “limbo”. With nothing to look forward to, it can feel as if the relationship is teetering through an uncertain period. When will you see each other next? How invested is the other in us?
Live Happily Ever After
Over a year later, we’re still figuring out all the kinks in our relationship. I don’t love long distance, but it has its perks as well. We’re more independent because we can’t just spend all our time together. Each date is more special since we only see each other a few times a year. At the end, distance is what you make of it.