Persevering in the Face of Long Distance

      This summer I experienced being in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of nine months. As this was my first time doing the whole long distance thing, it was not until the summer actually began that I realized I would be putting  much more effort, energy, and time into the relationship now that we were not at school. Over the past few months, I have been able to learn more about myself, my patterns, and communication; I truly think that being in this relationship has expanded my communication ability and taught me about human connection.

      The first thing I learned is that my having intermittent anxiety would prove to affect both my thoughts about the relationship and the relationship itself. There would be many times where I felt overwhelmed or anxious solely because we had not spoken in a few hours, and from there, my anxiety would take over; I ended up being able to open up about this to my boyfriend, and that was the key to making everything easier for myself. Being aware of my feelings also served as a gateway for me learning about various mechanisms for both coping when I had a wave of anxiety and dealing with the long-term stress. Being honest about what was going on in my head made it easier for me to be more calm, and also helped my boyfriend to understand-from there, he could try to help. Ultimately, instead of bottling up these feelings and feeling crazy, I took a leap and was honest, which-if your significant other cares for you and the relationship-will almost always be the answer.

      Something else I learned this summer is that the manner in which we communicate is so, so important. Texting does NOT cut it; we cannot see each other's faces, emotions, expressions, and this serves to be harmful when we expect each other to understand and give  thoughtful responses. Being able to facetime, see my boyfriend's face, and hear his voice was always so much better than a back and forth text conversation; furthermore, he and I are not huge texters, so if we texted a few times a day and then facetimed at the end of the day, we always had a ton to talk about and it was great to just rehash the events of our days.

      The most important lesson I learned from this long distance relationship is that appreciating the time spent together is essential. Going from seeing each other every day to every few weeks was very off-putting and generally difficult at first. However, I soon realized that it was only true that the time spent apart made the  days together each month all the more special. Every little thing became huge, and I looked forward to four days as if it were a month. 

As much as I hate to admit it, (because of course long distance is not ideal at all) being in this long distance relationship taught me more than I ever thought would be possible, and I truly think I know myself better than ever. 

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