Distance — what a memory! Not my fondest one, but definitely one I would never trade a second for.

Jared and I met 11 years ago when he would come up to my hometown in western New York to visit his grandparents for the summer. He was 14, and I was 15. Raised in Louisiana, Jared was very much (and still is) a Southern boy. He knows how to lay on the charm. At the time, I had almost no interest, but he knew from the minute he met me one Sunday morning at church that I was the One. Talk about divine intervention. To learn a little more about Jared and I, visit my site here.

Jared and I finally ended the distance March 4, 2016, (WAHOO!!) when I uprooted my entire life and moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Shreveport, Louisiana. You’re probably thinking I know all there is to know about this boy. I mean, we’ve known each other for 11 years. Let me tell you, I was in for the biggest surprise of my life! Talking almost daily via text only begins to skim the nature and life of the person you love. No matter how long you’ve known your long-distance love, there are just some things you can’t learn when you’re in an LDR. The following points are some things I’m learning that I could have never learned while in my long-distance relationship.

Daily Life

Jared, Cash and I in April 2016 a month after the big move. Photo by AVaughn Photography.

Jared, Cash and I in April 2016 a month after the big move. Photo by AVaughn Photography.

One of the best parts about long-distance relationships is when you finally get to see your significant other. You plan out a fun time together, and everything is just perfect. But that isn’t real life. You can’t see what their diet is on a daily basis; what foods they actually like to eat; what time they like to eat; what time they start settling down to go to bed; what TV shows they watch; how much they are on their phone; how easy or difficult they are to wake up in the morning; how long their showers are; whether or not they talk, kick or do weird things in their sleep; how much laundry they have; how much they “squirrel.” You get where I’m going. None of this comes from personal experience (I love you, Jared!).

All of the above is true with any relationship. Once you are physically with someone, you’re going to learn a lot of new things. The distance just allows us to put on our best behavior until we actually close the gap. Then stuff gets real.

How You Will Handle Each Other’s Ups and Downs — In Person

Anyone in a long-distance relationship knows that the highs are really high and the lows are really low. There were probably countless times when Jared wanted to shut off his phone because I’d drive him nuts with my insecure moments or rampages about ending the distance now. Equally so, there were also times when I would wake up to the sweetest texts in the middle of the night about how much he loves me and couldn’t wait to start our lives together.

Back in our distance days, we didn’t really get to experience really good and really bad days together. If Jared had a rough day at work, I would have never known if he didn’t text me or call me. We always relied on our phones to convey our feelings. Because our relationship was mainly via text, we had the power to limit access into each other’s personal lives and show only the side we wanted one another to see.

One of the hardest things I think Jared and I are facing right now is my homesickness. Originally, we had discussed moving back to western New York because that was where I grew up, and he had family there. It made sense for both of us. Ultimately, I ended up in Louisiana, where he grew up. I’ve been struggling with homesickness recently, as it is nowhere as easy to drive up to New York for a weekend as it was when I was living in the D.C. area. Jared knew from the minute I decided to move to him that it would be hard for me. I love that he doesn’t try to downplay my sadness or tell me I’m complaining. He realizes it’s hard for me and encourages me to do things that make me happy. Understanding is such an important aspect in a relationship, and if you’re going to want it to work while you’re together, understanding is key (especially if one of you uproots your life).

Their Family Dynamic

On my first trip to Louisiana in October 2013, Jared made me dive right in by meeting his mom. I was beyond nervous. When I first introduced myself, she kind of had an idea of who I was, but as soon as I mentioned I lived in D.C., she said, “Oh, you’re the D.C. girl!” I knew then that Jared was close to his mom and that he actually talked to her about me. This was incredibly important to me, as I am extremely close to my family, and I wanted to be accepted by his.

Until I actually moved, I didn’t really know what to expect with his family. Distance doesn’t allow you to feel how the family really interacts with one another. It doesn’t give you a clue on how they’ll make you feel when you’re the newbie at family events. It doesn’t tell you whether or not their family will check in on you when they know you’ve made a huge life change to be with their loved one.

The Power of Their Presence

I think this one is the most important and what makes it all worth it for me. There are days since I’ve moved here, especially lately, where I’ve felt so lonely and like I’m doing this alone. But that all disappears as soon as we are together. I feel such peace knowing wherever I am with Jared is home. That is something I would have never learned over a text or phone call. There are times when I wake up in the morning next to him and just thank God for giving me him. Eleven years and 1,300 miles apart means everything and nothing at the same time.

Although I’m 100 percent positive that I haven’t even begun to learn everything about Jared since being together, those are the large things that I could have never learned while in our long-distance relationship. Learning all you can and communicating as much as possible through your distance is crucial to keeping your relationship alive. But don’t worry too much! If you can make it through the distance to actually being together, you’ve accomplished so much more than other long-distance couples!

What fears do you have when it comes to ending the distance in your relationship? I’d love to chat and tell you more about my long-distance relationship and how we successfully closed the gap. Inspiration and encouragement are the two things that got me through, so I’d love to be of help!

Written by Brittany Davies
Brittany is a 26-year-old western New York native. She graduated with her master's in integrated marketing communications in 2012 and moved to the Washington, D.C. suburbs to start her career. In March 2016, she moved again but this time to the place her heart really wanted to be! Now a resident of Shreveport, Louisiana, Brittany and her long-distance love, Jared (who is a firefighter!), live together with their furbaby, Cash. Learn more about Brittany’s adventures through her blog, britdavies.wordpress.com, and through her Instagram, @bdavies227.

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