Though cliches typically elicit an eye-roll from me, the phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder” has been my life motto for the past two years.
I started dating my boyfriend during my junior year of high school. I was aware that we wanted to travel different paths after graduation, but I wondered if we would get to transition to long distance. I figured we may as well cross that bridge if, or when, we got there.
Since then, my boyfriend and I have been together for about four years. Two of these have been long distance while I attend NAU, and while he serves in the Marine Corps.
Weirdly enough, being apart for half our relationship definitely worked in our favor and made our commitment to each other stronger.
Not everyone is able to be as successful in this kind of relationship. Fortunately for me, I handle being independent very well, which makes being in a long-distance relationship a bit easier. I fill up my time with extracurriculars, two on-campus jobs, extra credits for early graduation and spending time with my roommates and friends.
I’ve found that distracting myself through being busy has helped my mental health tremendously.
When I wasn’t distracting myself, I would start using that time to dwell on my situation and compare it to others who are able to see their significant other everyday. I’ve realized that the second I look at other couples is the beginning of a downward slope of dread and bitterness.
The only way I see it being possible to survive a long-term, long-distance relationship is to always have the next reunion date as the light at the end of the tunnel. Combining this with keeping busy will ensure that the period apart from one another flies by.
Being apart from my boyfriend for six months at a time makes seeing him again feel like a scene out of a movie, in the best possible way. It reminds me that if we had the privilege of being together everyday, I might not be able to put my feelings into perspective without the same hardships or struggles that our relationship has overcome.
Taking time for yourself is a great way to reignite romantic feelings in your significant other, which may seem like backward logic. It mostly comes down to having the time and ability to be self-reflective and to know what to fully invest in.
In my relationship, getting to spend my college years apart from my boyfriend has taught me a lot about my own self-development, and I’m grateful for our time apart as much as I am for our time together.