Counterpoint: Long-distance relationships are not worth it
An age-old college question: Are long-distance relationships worth it? Should you turn your high school sweetheart into a long-distance bae? Should you spend your days planning expensive trips while using your nights to fall asleep to each other over video chat? No. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your love is strong enough to survive a period of being long distance.
I do admit that there are ways to successfully navigate a long-distance relationship, but they have nothing to do with love. They have everything to do with the relationship being a precise military operation. Live in different time zones? Better have dual clocks and weather locations going. Need to provide support after a long week? Time to break out your over-the-phone-therapy license. Only visiting for a three-day weekend? I hope you’ve appropriately scheduled to cram in the weeks-to-months worth of fun activities, romance and other couple stuff that has been slowly building up. It is exhausting at best and back-breaking, soul-crushing, anxiety-inducing work at best.
You know what else is terrible about long distance? The amount of little moments you miss out on. You can’t have regularly-scheduled date nights. You can’t form inside jokes. You can’t appreciate the way they run their hand across your shoulders when they walk by you. You can’t get a hug that lasts 10 minutes after you’re sure you failed the exam that counts for 50 percent of your grade. Physical affection, in all its forms, are vital to the health of a relationship. These little moments serve as pressure valves for all the negative things that happen in your life, and without them, you continually build and build until you’re beyond all of your breaking points and you don’t recognize the person you fell in love with. You become strangers in each other’s eyes, and you begin to wonder, “What the hell am I doing here?”
I’m not saying every long-distance relationship will fail. In fact, there are many that make it through whatever period they have away from each other and live happily ever after. But this isn’t the reality for most couples who enter into this situation. There need to be specific end dates to the long distance, you need to have open, constant, varied and honest forms of communication that accommodate for any situation. You have to let go of your ego and any jealousy or resentment that may build over the course of the time apart. If you’re able to navigate the seemingly countless pitfalls of a long-distance relationship, congratulations. Now you get to essentially start a new relationship. Oh, you thought being apart was the hardest part? Just wait until you have to come face to face with all the difficulties you had before, but now in person.
I get why we pursue long-distance relationships. We believe our love is stronger than any evidence presented, because evidence doesn’t matter when it’s your life. We believe ourselves to be the exception to the rule, the winner among a universe of losers at love. We hope that this will just be a hiccup in the love story that will be told to generations of our future family at every event because it was so groundbreaking and special. The cold, sad truth is that most of us will lose. We’ll lose bad. It’ll rip us apart and make us think love isn’t destined for our life. Happily, one relationship ending is not the end for you. It may be the end for something that will hold a special place in your heart for the rest of your life, but life will go on. Life will always be moving forward and being in a long-distance relationship will slow down the march of not only your life, but of that person you love so dearly. If you truly love them, you won’t let anything stand in the way of their happiness and success, including yourself.