Can your relationship go the distance? Surviving the LDR.
Illustration by: Maia Boakye
If I’m being blunt, there is no doubt that being in a long distance relationship sucks.
It’s hard being miles away from your significant other and only being able to see them every couple of weeks (or longer). Although they can be difficult at times, there are also ways to make the distance easier and to keep your relationship on track while being apart.
Is this worth it?
If you are currently struggling with a long distance relationship, or you are debating whether or not you should continue it, the best thing to do is to ask yourself if it’s worth it. In most cases, long distance relationships typically struggle when one person is willing to make it work and the other person is doubting the success of the relationship. It’s important to evaluate whether or not you truly see a future in your relationship. If both of you feel confident in the success of your relationship because you believe it is going to be worth it in the end -- chances are you will be better off than couples who are insecure.
Eboni Morgan from Toronto is in a relationship with her boyfriend who lives in New York and they have been together for 2 and a half years. She says that her relationship is worth the distance. “The love we have for each other is extremely strong,” said Morgan. “I couldn’t imagine being with someone else, or knowing someone else the way I know him.” Deciding whether or not a relationship is going to be ‘worth it’ is a hard question to ask yourself and your significant other. It only has 2 answers: you are either going to break up, or you won’t. It’s a hard decision to make and even think about, but it’s something you should decide before the other person moves away- otherwise it is going to be harder in the long run. Nicole Brumley was dating her now ex boyfriend for 2 years in Jamaica but when she moved to Canada her relationship quickly ended. They both initially wanted to make it work. “What made the relationship worth it at first was the way he used to make me laugh,” said Brumley. “He was a genuinely nice guy but I wasn’t comfortable being that far away. It was just frustrating.” Brumley also said that the foundation of your relationship is crucial, especially when it comes to long distance. “I think it’s so important to have a strong foundation in a relationship before tackling long distance,” said Brumley.
The yin and the yang A relationship, whether long distance or not, is consistent of two people who love each other and truly want to make it work, regardless of distance. However, just because a relationship that is miles apart works, doesn’t mean there aren’t any flaws. Relationships in general are hard work, but long distance relationships take more time and effort. Tania Halteh and her boyfriend have been in a relationship since the end of June 2016, and he lives in Long Island New York while she lives in Toronto. She says that her relationship is worth it. “You know the butterflies you get when you first kiss, that happens every time I see him. I become a little girl again with the silliest smile on my face and I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” said Halteh. While she appreciates her long distance relationship, she faces obstacles as well. “The most frustrating thing is arguing over text, FaceTime or whatever it may be. Firstly, not everything comes out right.” said Halteh. “Secondly, when we fight over the phone we have the option to hang up whenever we want. We don’t have the opportunity to sit down and talk about it.” Halteh said that long distance relationships can be more sensitive than non -long distance relationships. "It's important to remember that everything in a long distance relationship is intensified,” said Halteh. When things are good, they’re good. But when it’s bad, it’s horrible.” Stanley Valon lives in Toronto, and his significant other of 2 and a half years lives in Calgary, Alberta. Valon said that he finds it rewarding seeing them after an extended period of time. Besides the obvious reason of distance, Valon does have struggles as well. “The price of airfare, and not being able to see or make arrangements with your significant other spontaneously,” said Valon.
Insecure and distant? Most relationships have their fair share of insecurities, but long distance intensifies this fear and requires a lot of trust in your relationship. You need to trust that your significant other isn’t cheating on you, and that you can live separate lives and still make the relationship work. Alexandar Cheah lives in Canada, and was dating his girlfriend, who lived in Switzerland for 1 year and 10 months. He said that they were both social butterflies, so it was really hard to maintain trust. “I was about to enter university, where there’s a whole community of other girls there,” and this worried my girlfriend,” said Cheah. “It’s hard being on the other side of the world while your partner is potentially being hit on by prospecting suitors." Morgan said that it is really important to have trust in your relationship, and having this trust makes her secure in her relationship. “We talk about everything, and we’re very honest. The reality is, you don’t know if your partner is cheating, but you just have to trust in your love, relationship and that person,” said Morgan. Marina Amanova describes herself to be an insecure person. She has been dating her boyfriend who lives in Waterloo for a little over 3 years, and she currently lives in North York. She said that overthinking is an issue that she deals with. “As long as you know each other’s boundaries, I think everything can work out," said Amanova.
How can you make your LDR survive? Any relationship, whether it is past or present, close or distant, is a learning experience. It helps you learn a lot about yourself, people, and what you can take away from it for future relationships. Morgan believes that the best thing you can do in a long distance relationship is to communicate. Communication is KEY. “You have to express your feelings with one another. We also talk daily as much as possible, and we keep each other posted on what’s happening in each others lives,” said Morgan. Amanova said it is important to let your partner know about what issues you are having. “Everyone goes through rough patches in their relationship, and it may seem hard now but it does get better. It got easier when we established our comfort zones as well,” said Amanova. Halteh said it is important to plan visits ahead so it gives you something to look forward to. “FaceTime dates also work for us, we schedule a time that works for us. Also, schedule your visits 6 months to a year in advance, so you can create a rough plan of what to stick to,” said Halteh.
How to make distance exciting Without being able to be constantly physically be close to one another, it can be hard to find things to do that don’t require you physically being together. Valon said something that makes the time go by easier is to of course text, and call each other on the phone. “Gifts are sent via postal, or ordered on Amazon to send directly to their address,” said Valon. A fun idea is to pre-write letters to give to your significant other when you see them, and then while they are away they have several letters to open. “I gave my boyfriend a set of 10 pre-written letters. I titled each for a specific day, or emotion he may have. Like, ‘open when you’re upset’, or ‘when you need a laugh’,” said Halteh. “The purpose of these letters is for your partner to find comfort when you are unavailable. I think it’s a sweet and intimate way to express your feelings and it definitely works.” Morgan said that her and her boyfriend watch Netflix together and talk or text on the phone about what’s happening. “It’s really funny when you get to hear their reactions to certain things in the show, makes the distance suck a little less,” said Morgan.
The verdict While relationships that are long distance do suck for the most part, it pays off when you are with someone you truly love and want to be with. An LDR is not something that is impossible, it just takes a little more effort, a little extra time, a lot of trust, and two people who genuinely think that it is going to work out. It takes confidence and patience until you see each other again. While long distance relationships aren’t for everyone- there are so many ways that you can make it work and it can be a really great experience. Are you willing to go the distance?