It is not a secret that relationships are hard and take a lot of work. Constant communication really helps when times get tough, but nothing is better than sharing experiences with someone you love. I personally feel like the effort doubles when you are apart from your significant other. However, I also believe that being in an LDR gives a couple an opportunity to get to know each other better because all you can do is talk. Scheduling time to catch up and just feel present is important in any relationship, and nothing feels better than to know that you are heard! This is especially true when both parties of the relationship are on the same page and feel equally heard and valued.
As someone who has been in an LDR and survived, I remember how exciting it would be after a long day at school to go home so that I could get on the computer to speak to my boyfriend. I will forever cherish the time that we spent together, but I sometimes wonder whether I should have been more careful with my time.
Here is how to maintain your identity when you’re in an LDR — and why that’s so important.
I will give you a quick backstory so you understand what I mean: My boyfriend and I met at the end of grade 10 in Canada and started dating that summer. The reason why I had moved to Canada was because my father was a diplomat at the time, so I knew that my time in Canada was short (up to four years). Regardless, we dated that summer and all through grade 11, but that summer of grade 11 would be my last as I would be moving back to my country because my dad had found another job opportunity. Although we were both skeptical, we embarked on a long-distance relationship despite what seemed to be common sense to everyone else.
So I moved back to my country, Angola, and along with the large distance, there was a six-hour time difference. Because we were both in our last year of high school, the best times (at least we thought at first) to talk to each other would be when I woke up and after class. Yes, during those precious moments when I was just about to venture into the real world, I would wake up early to speak to him before school as he went to bed. Then after school, I would run home so that I could speak to him before he went to school.
Although it took some time (and a much-appreciated intervention from my mother), that plan only lasted so long. Although a relationship has to be cherished and be constantly worked on, so do you! It is very important to also schedule time for yourself. It is so easy in an LDR to schedule most of the free time you have available on them. But you have to spend time on yourself as well. Make it a priority: Find a hobby. Exercise. Get pampered. Do all of the above at the same time if you want to.
Also, in my case, I had just moved back to my country and barely knew anyone. So it was an opportunity to make new friends and rediscover my identity — this was my country, and I was seeing it with the eyes of a teenager now. The possibilities were endless! So once I realized what I was making myself miss out on, I was able to have some of the most amazing experiences (such as skydiving and going on road trips, just to name a few) without jeopardizing my relationship. In fact, it was the opposite case because there wasn’t the stress of having to speak to him rather than just going with the flow of things.
In the end, you have to realize that you have the benefit of having the comfort of a (hopefully) loving and trusting relationship plus the life experience that led you to this long distance.
All in all, it is important to have an identity in a relationship and have some time to yourself. Also, if you think about it, you will soon run out of things to talk about if that’s all you do. Ha! Of course, I am mentioning this because I made the mistakes in the beginning — and maybe a bit after. So trust me on this!
The main thing that I want you to take from my experience is that a relationship is made of two people that bring different things to the relationship. Hence, what makes every relationship special and unique. At the end of the day, you are apart physically but together in making sure this relationship works, so make sure to enjoy your alone time. What lead you or your partner to move apart is going to mold you in some sort of way, so you better make it worthwhile!
Let me know adventures you’ve gone on while in a long-distance relationship. What did your partner think of it? Have you had a chance to maybe do it again but now with them?
Ci is in her early 20s and lives abroad as a university student. She writes about student life, relationships, beauty, finance and health with her two sisters on their website, dielleci.com.