My fiancé lives 2,000 miles away. We get to see each other twice a year for two weeks at a shot. My separation from him causes my heart to ache, but there are blessings as well.
Our time apart has strengthened us in ways we never expected. It has required that we exercise and expand our communication skills in ways which simply wouldn’t have happened if we lived near one another. It has tested the strength of our friendship, expanded our ability to think creatively, and confirmed our love for one another.
In two years, my fiancé will finish his education. Thanks to where he lives and the school he attends, he will be able to secure not just a job, but a good one. He’ll have the opportunity to pursue graduate level studies and have the satisfaction of knowing that he can support his own family with his skills. It’s a long wait, but in the end, it will be worth it.
In the meantime, here’s my own advice on long-distance relationships:
1. Mark the milestones. It helps if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Break your time apart into easy to handle blocks, and celebrate when you’re half-way through or there’s only a week left.
2. Find friends. Even if they don’t entirely understand your situation, a good friend can do a lot towards helping you keep your time apart in perspective.
3. Communicate. Few things build communication skills as well as distance. Set aside some time each day to write, phone, Skype, or Facetime with your significant other.
4. Find things you can share long distance. My fiancé and I read books together. Sometimes he reads to me, other times I read to him. Sometimes we both read separately, then discuss what we’ve read. However we choose to do it, knowing that the other is absorbing the same thoughts and ideas can go a long way toward building a sense of connectedness.
5. Learn to date. Dating via Skype or Facetime is easier than you might imagine… if you’re willing to think creatively. Get dressed up, light some candles, and share a nice supper together. Watch the same ballgame on TV or the same shows on Netflix and text each other as you do.
In the end, separation from your significant other isn’t easy. It tests the strength of your relationship and your commitment to one another. But when used properly, the distance can build up rather than destroy. I have chosen the former.