Point: Long-distance relationships are worth it
Before college, I thought long-distance relationships were stupid. Why would you tie yourself down to someone you never see? Why give up exploring your college years? I held these judgments until I accidentally fell in love a few months before my freshman year. I realize that when I say “accidentally fell in love” it sounds disgusting, and I am sorry, but it truly was an accident as I fought to not care about this person enough to go long distance. I failed, or so I thought.
To start at something basic, long distance is reliant on going on trips to see each other. This can cause problems as far as finding the money to be able to actually see your significant other; it involves a lot of ramen-eating and taking on extra shifts, but having something to look forward to is such a nice way to motivate yourself through grueling semesters. It has allowed me to travel to places I may have never gone before while also creating a sort of self-reliance. I have at times traveled for 23 hours (going one way and alone) in a combination of planes and buses to see my person, and in so doing I have developed a confidence in my ability to fend for myself.
The main reason for entering a long-distance relationship is that the two of you are truly best friends. Not just that you get along well, not that you enjoy spending time together. That when you are with them; you laugh until you can’t breathe, you can be yourself without feeling self-conscious, that you both love each other not just for the good things but that you love their flaws, and they love yours. This is what makes it all worth it. Having someone you can text at any time of the day and share your life with, uninhibited. This is not to say that being long distance with someone is easy, it can feel terribly hard at times, but many of the best things in life require you to go through some challenging times. You have to be willing to fight for what you have, to listen to what you can do better and express honestly and calmly when there is something you need to be different. Without open communication, without patience, things will crumble.
This brings me to the biggest point, what everyone nags you about when you decide to enter a long-distance relationship: “Think of everything you are giving up.” But what are you giving up, really? Most people tell me I need to “play the field” and to get the real “college experience,” which somehow translates to sleeping with an array of different people. I have weighed the opportunity cost of continuing my relationship versus ending it to get “the experience.” Quite simply, I do not have a desire to end things out of the want to be with other people. Having sex with someone you really, truly care about simply cannot compare to sex without the same emotion, at least for me. That’s right, I’m talking about “making love.” It may sound icky, but if I have the option to sleep with someone who loves me, who respects me and whom I feel a deep connection with, why would I throw that away to “play the field?” This is not to say that there is anything wrong with dating around, it is obviously a necessity to eventually form a meaningful relationship (if that is what is right for you). However, when given the choice between remaining in love or ending it with the goal of sleeping with more people, there is a clear choice for me. Going to college without having to worry about navigating dating has allowed me to form close quality friendships without the struggle of balancing my love life. To me, those bonds are the real “college experience.”
At the end of the day, it is all about net happiness. Does remaining with your significant other (even through long distance) bring you more joy than the alternative? Does their connection to your life consistently bring you joy? If the answer is yes, it is worth it. Worth feeling lonely at times, worth excessive trip planning, worth the ups and downs. Just worth it.