Long-distance relationships are better than their reputation

The extra effort to make it work can build hugely fulfilling relationships

A guy is lying in bed, holding his phone like he’s on a video call, and smiling.
Out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind. PHOTO: cottonbro / Pexels

By: Reece Avila

Long distance relationships are actually quite pleasant. Before you throw hands, no I’m not bitter and neither am I trying to avoid my partner — we’ve been together for almost five years, one of which was long-distance. I’ve gotten used to the instant doubt and curiosity every time I tell people we did long-distance. Most are apprehensive at the thought of being apart from someone they love, and are doubtful that people can remain committed. 

Long-distance relationships shouldn’t be frowned upon or be the deal breaker of a perfectly good and healthy relationship. I’m not saying that all long-distance relationships work. It takes a lot of commitment, compromise, and maturity to make it work. I know how freaking hard it is. The lack of physicality can be a painful experience when you or your partner are going through some form of conflict, and can add a barrier to building trust. Long distance relationships might not be worth it for some. 

I speak for the merits of long-distance because I’ve been there. My partner was still in Canada when we were doing long-distance but there was a three hour time difference! He was in Toronto and I was in Vancouver, which is well beyond the realm of a weekend visit. I consider that pretty substantial. I had to constantly hear from friends and family that it might not work out.

Being in a long-distance relationship put a lot of things in perspective for me. Imagine being in a relationship where your connection is still palpable even after months of physically not being together. 

Maintaining any relationship takes great effort, and long-distance is no exemption. But long distance builds a bond more heavily rooted in trust and commitment. Because you can’t rely solely on your physical chemistry, you get to know your partner at a deeper, more emotional, level. You build trust by working out conflicts through communication, compromise, and genuine support. It feels great to know that someone out there willingly prioritizes staying connected with you despite being miles away. 

Long distance relationships can also be more conducive of independence and character development. The distance really develops your individual ability to grow independently of your significant other. Being able to focus on your own studies, career, and working towards your goals — while not unheard of in traditional relationships — is certainly accentuated by the distance. In turn, you also learn to respect your partner’s time, and the effort they make to achieve their own goals. Most importantly, you learn to find your own happiness without having to rely on your partner.

The time you spend apart also makes the times you do spend together truly valuable. You anticipate the days you finally get to be together. When you finally see them, even the smallest moments become special. Food starts tasting better, you laugh and smile easier, and you cherish the days that you’re in their presence. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. 

If you think you’ve found someone who’s worth it and you’re both willing to make it work give it a chance. Long distance relationships take effort, but can also be rewarding. If your relationship can survive the test of time and distance, then surely you can withstand anything.