cr: our friend, Miko
Mark and I co-wrote this piece and would like to share with you what we have learned so far from being in a long distance relationship. It’s been two months since we were hugging in a parking lot, both crying as I drove away (yes, it was very much like a movie). Then we saw each other hours later because Mark left his wallet at my house. By then, I had already accepted that I wouldn’t be seeing him for however long and could barely look at him as we hugged for the last time. I didn’t want to burst out in tears again.
Mallory – I didn’t even realize it when I started writing this post, but it’s been two months since Mark and I last saw each other in person. It’s been an extremely difficult past two months, because we are the type of people who love being with each other every second of the everyday. Some will say that it’s insane to always want to be together; why do you need to always see that person when you’re already a couple? But to me, why not? Why is it wrong to always want to be with my best friend? To do everything together, to share everything with each other, to miss each other even when we’ve only been apart for a few hours?
Mark – Being in a long distance relationship is very difficult. Everyday I wake up it’s hard not to be around Mallory, not being able to be driven by her because she drives me everywhere, and not being able to see her smiling face.
These two months apart has taught us a great deal about being in a relationship and we’ve both grown so much as people and as a couple. We’ve both become more patient and more understanding, but there are times when frustration and longing trumps patience and understanding. Those are the times when things can get a little bumpy, but we know what our goals are and we know what we’re working towards. Those little bumps are what help us become stronger and more understanding of each other.
The second you doubt your relationship is the second things will get tougher. You think, “Will we make it? I don’t know how our we’ll survive this distance.” Having those doubts already in your mind will make it hard to overcome the distance. Maybe you’ll keep questioning, is it worth it or maybe you’ll ask yourself, if your love is strong enough. Thoughts like those can be troublesome. When observing other relationships around us, that doubt can be a bad character in your love story, throwing difficulties in your way. For us, we’ve never once thought any negative thought about our relationship, because we know that our goals are to be with each other, to travel with each other, to have a life with each other. Thinking of each other makes us work harder everyday, no matter how exhausted we are.
You both have to put in a lot of work into your relationship. There are times when one person will seem to be doing more: being more interested, being more open with their feelings, updating more often, and the list could go on and on, but you have to make sure that the work you’re both putting in is balanced. One person can’t be doing everything because it’ll seem like the other person isn’t interested or isn’t working towards the relationship. Since you’re not always there to know what the other person is doing, it can be difficult about what to update the other person. They may want to hear more or less than you’re telling them. It’ll be difficult finding that balance and you’ll have to overcome some hurdles on the way to that balance, but it’ll be worth it. You have to make sure you’re open and understanding of what one partner wants from the other. Be sure to talk about it, so both people can understand what they would like each person to be talking about or what they want the other person to be doing. It’s much easier that way than yelling in circles at each other.
To be in a long distance relationship takes commitment and the ability to be open minded to learning new things and to be patient. We feel that one of the biggest things we’ve learned was to stop mixing reality with what people around you are saying or what the media is saying. People have a perception that in a long distant relationship, it has to go this way because a movie said so or your friend said this. What we learned is to stop making reasonably high expectations because you will only be let down. Take the person you are with and accept them, be appreciative because reality is better than what the media makes it or what other people make it. Because in reality, love is real, you can actually feel it: the happiness, the butterflies, the warmth. You fell in love with your partner for a reason and that reason should be what drives you to love everyday.
Half the time, whether over video chat or in person, we’re making weird faces at each other.
We love our Hangout sessions because we get to be ourselves with each other just like we would do if we were together. We’ll have dancing and lip syncing sessions, random face making, or we’ll talk actually about our days and what we’ve been up to. We were able to watch Modern Family together, the other day, and it was fun for us to be able to do things like that together. We were able to laugh and cry (I know you got teary eyed, Mark) during the episodes. Thank goodness for technology.
Overall, we see these past two months as a great learning experience for the two of us. We’re so proud of how far we’ve come and we can’t wait until the day we can be together again. It’ll be extra special for us when we see each other. It’ll be like a new spark in our relationship. It’s even more exciting that we have an exact date to look forward to now. We’re always working towards that day, thinking of how excited and happy we’ll be when we get to see each other again (I’m so excited for this airport reunion!).
What are your thoughts on long distance relationships? What are some of the lessons that you learned?