You don’t always have a choice about whether you’ll end up in a long-distance relationship—that decision might be dictated by a job transfer, the military, or other circumstances. But sometimes, you do have a choice: You’re thinking about accepting an opportunity that’s in another state or country, or you’re just beginning to fall for someone who happens to live far away.
For those who do have a choice, that choice can be overwhelming. One way to break it down is to make a good old-fashioned “pros and cons” list. Today, I’ll look at the upside to being in a long-distance relationship.
You’ll have independence. In many ways, people in long-distance relationships get the combined benefits of being single and of being a couple. You’ll have lots of time and freedom to devote to work or school, to maintaining friendships, and to exploring your own interests and hobbies–but you also have the support and companionship of a partner you can visit or talk to on the phone.
You can pursue an opportunity. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and cope with the distance for a while if it means a brighter future for both of you. An example might be pursuing a specific degree at an out-of-state institution or accepting a temporary work reassignment that will lead to a promotion. In these cases, it’s good to have an end date in mind; this will help you both remember that it’s a temporary situation that will lead to a long-term improvement.
It will show how well you and your partner communicate. In an in-person relationship, there are so many ways to spend time together without actually talking—going to a movie, seeing a concert or a play, watching TV. When you’re long-distance, you’re forced to have conversations over the phone or webcam if you want to interact, and this can help you learn a lot about your compatibility, your shared values, and even how much fun you have together when there’s not a third-party source of entertainment.
It’ll test your relationship—in a good way. People in long-distance relationships can learn a lot about their partners in a short time: how the two of you deal with stress; how well you trust each other and whether that trust is vaild. It can teach you a lot about the strength and endurance of your relationship.
It forces you to take things slow. Not everyone needs this, but some of us have the tendency to commit to a relationship before we know what we’re really getting into. Being long-distance naturally puts off those big steps like moving in together, so you have more time to see if the other person is truly a good fit for you.
It helps you appreciate each other. It’s hard to take someone for granted when you only get to see each other once every few months—and this sense of appreciation, I’ve found, carries over to when you’re finally together again. And, it’ll make the “honeymoon period” last longer.
Even though long-distance relationships are hard, some of these “pros” are really important. If you can find ways to make it work, you’ll come out the other side with a deeper understanding of each other, and a greater appreciation for your relationship.