The good, the bad, and the growth of long distance relationships.
When J first started the process of pursuing a job back in South Carolina, my heart sunk. I had watched friends go through long-distance relationships and swore up and down that was not the life for me. I remember telling J that during a period of time where he was doing a lot of travelling and we were going for long stretches without seeing each other that “I did not sign up for a long-distance relationship!” Little did I know, within a year that’s exactly what we would be doing.
Our long-distance isn’t as far as some. I feel a little sheepish acting as an authority on long-distance when I know so many who are states and states apart, or even in separate countries. I’m really thankful that he is just one state away and close enough for weekend trips, but sometimes I think the constant saying-hello-just-to-say-goodbye feels harder than one long goodbye.
Over the next week, I am going to share what has been good about long distance, what has been bad about long distance, and what I have learned from long distance. I hope you will read along! If you have been or are currently in a long distance relationship, I would love for you to share about your experience in the comments!
I’m going to start by sharing what has been good about long-distance, because honestly there have been many things to be thankful for!
Missing each other.
It’s crazy, but missing each other has been one of the greatest gifts of long-distance! J & I process our emotions very differently, and while I can spend a whole day crying about pre-missing him, he really needs space and distance to feel those feelings. He has vocalized several times how helpful and clarifying it has been for him to have to say goodbye and experience separation to learn that he does miss me.
Long-distance has been incredible as far as helping us learn to communicate well. When watching a movie in silence or doing meaningless activities together isn’t an option and all you can do is talk, you get really good at talking. This period of long-distance has led to many hard questions and LONG conversations. We have worked through nitty-gritty conflict and stayed up way too late trying to get to the bottom of things, and it has been so worth it.
Appreciating the time we have.
This is something that I did not do well when we first entered into long-distance (I’ll share more in the “growth” post), but now that we have worked through it I am so grateful. It’s easy to take quality time for granted when you get it all the time, but when you have to wait for it you learn to soak up every second! It pushes you to keep short accounts with each other and resolve things quickly so that the limited quality time isn’t tainted with hurt feelings and conflict. Little things we used to do several times a week like watch a movie or make dinner together are so special now and I’m grateful for my newfound appreciation for J’s company!
During this season, we have both had to invest in our own communities and become our own person outside of one another. This was hard for me when we had both been a part of the same community for years and I suddenly had to be my own player instead of being part of a package deal. I know I have grown in confidence because of this, and I think J’s confidence in me has also grown!
Seeing a new side of one another.
Something that I have really surprisingly enjoyed from this long-distance experience is getting to see J from a new angle and finding out new things about him as we walk through this together. There are strengths I didn’t realize he had and I have been so proud as I watch them realized, and there are also areas where I have been so pleasantly surprised to see him reach out to my strengths and rely on me. We really get to see what we have to offer one another and how we are able to support each other through transition and through this season.
There are 5 really good things we have been able to experience through long-distance, but I’ll share 5 not-so-good things with you in the next post. Stay tuned!