Being in a long-distance relationship(LDR) is an unforgettable experience, and it will absolutely change you. Whether you come out of it successfully, having closed the distance or gotten married, or end up parting and going your separate ways, the experience will stick with you for the rest of your life.
When I met the guy that I am now married to, there were more than seven thousand miles between us. Despite the distance, I knew there was something special about him, and I decided he was worth pursuing a long distance relationship with. Neither of us had been in an LDR before, but we went all in and were lucky enough to make it work for us, changing and growing along the way. Here are some of the ways that being in a long distance relationship changed me for the better.
1. It made me more independent.
When I look back on my previous relationships, I feel like some of them happened just because I craved being in a relationship. I wanted the feeling of being close to someone, of being held by them and feeling loved, even if deep down I knew that it was by the wrong person. Being in a long-distance relationship changed that.
I learned to be more independent, because even though I had a partner that I loved very much, he was across the globe and wasn’t there to hold me when I was hurting. I learned to cope with problems on my own, and to not be afraid of being alone. Yes, I still craved my boyfriend’s love and attention, but I became strong enough to get by with the little that you get from an LDR.
2. It made me more patient.
The most frustrating thing about being in a long-distance relationship is that they tend to progress really slowly – especially physically. Things probably won’t happen when you want them to. My significant other and I weren’t able to have our first kiss until after we’d been in a relationship for almost eight months! After months of staring at his face over Skype, I was so ready for that kiss!
Being in an LDR forced me to be more patient, something that I didn’t really consider myself to be before. I learned that sometimes, you really do have to wait for things, but that it just makes them that much sweeter when you finally get them. That first kiss at the airport was easily the most unforgettable kiss of my life, even if I had to wait for what felt like forever to get it.
3. It taught me to be thrifty.
Another big obstacle of long-distance relationships is the cost. There’s no two ways about it–if your long distance-relationship is going to work, you have to be prepared to spend money. Sending packages across the world, saving up for plane tickets, making sure you always have credits on your phone to call your sweetheart, these things add up.
While preparing to make my move across the world, I had to seriously cut back on expenses. I gave up my weekly sushi dinners, found a cheaper phone plan, and even got rid of my car and started taking the bus everywhere so that I could save money on gas, parking, and car insurance. It made a huge difference–I was able to save up enough in just half a year to live off of for almost a year without working once I arrived in the Philippines!
4. It taught me to see beyond the physical aspect of a relationship.
I’m not going to lie, his looks were the first thing that grabbed my attention. How could it not be, when we met on Facebook! However, while physical attraction may have been one of the initial factors in deciding to get to know the guy that I would end up marrying better, being in an LDR forced me to go beyond the physical.
There’s no hand holding, kissing, cuddling, and definitely no sex(although you can always have a bit of fun over the webcam, wink wink) when your partner lives thousands of miles away from you. But this actually gives your relationship an advantage. I was able to get to know my guy on a super intimate level emotionally, all those hours of Skype calls means you spend a lot of time talking. We were able to gain a deeper connection than I’d ever felt in any past relationships–despite the fact we’d never met in person.
5. It made me appreciate my relationship more.
It may be cliche, but it is so true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you learn to truly appreciate the small things that you have together. Those long chats on Skype about your childhoods, teaching each other about your respective cultures, holding your guy’s shirt close while he sleeps on the other side of the world–these will mean more to you than any extravagant gifts or fancy dinners that your ex took you out to.
Once we were finally together, I appreciated our relationship on a whole new level. I valued every moment that we shared, no matter what we were doing. I appreciated simple things like sitting down to a home cooked meal together, holding hands while walking through the mall and falling asleep next to him. I knew that what we had was special and worth all efforts that we had to go through in order to be together.
Being in a long-distance relationship was incredibly difficult. I cried myself to sleep many nights because I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t be with the man that I loved. We stuck it out together, though, and both of us came out stronger for doing it. The trials of being in an LDR changed us and made us grow, and we know that since we were able to get through it, we can do anything together.