“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
For the entire time I’ve been in college, this quote has pretty much defined the romantic side of my life. I’ve been in a relationship for a little over 18 months, and I’m almost positive I’ve spent more time away from my boyfriend than I have with him.
Nick and I started dating about a month after we graduated from high school (and how we got together is a story for another time). Originally,we planned on our relationship being only a summer fling, but we grew to really love being together, and decided to stay together as I headed over 200 miles away to Iowa. We knew it was going to be hard, and that was actually one of the reasons we didn’t originally intend to keep dating after summer break ended.
I vividly remember when we both decided to stay together. I already knew that I wanted more out of the relationship than just a quick fling, but I didn’t want to pressure Nick into something I wasn’t sure he was interested in. One day, while we were hanging out at his house, he pulled up the calendar on his phone and asked what weekends would work best for him to visit me at school. The emotions that rushed through me were indescribable. It was such a relief to know that he felt the same way about me as I did about him.
I’m not going to lie to you; it’s never been easy. And I know it’s not going to ever get any easier. Skype calls and texting can only go so far. But our relationship has grown to be stronger, and I know that it will continue to become better as we go.
Many students come into college in the same relationships they ended high school with, and, unfortunately, many don’t make it. Listening to one of the counselors at school talk during orientation, I remember she said there was always an increase in relationship/break-up counseling around the fourth week of the semester because that was always when long-distance relationships ended. Nick and I promised each other that we wouldn’t become another statistic.
The most common reactions I’ve encountered when I tell people that my boyfriend doesn’t go to school at Iowa is, “you’d be happier if you weren’t doing that to yourself,” and, “you’re not going to have as much fun if you’re tied down.” It’s frustrating, but there are certain stereotypes that do come with being in an LDR. You just have to learn how to brush these comments off, because, if you choose to be in any kind of healthy relationship, you are just as happy and having just as much fun as everyone else.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons about relationships in the past year-and-a-half. Relationships require trust, strength and communication. I know it sounds like a stupid lecture to be talking about that, but if you’re not willing to give a little extra in all of these, an LDR just isn’t right for you.
LDRs require a lot of talking, whether it be over Skype or through texting or over the phone. You talk about your day, something that frustrated you, something that made you happy, your accomplishments, etc. Even just doing your own thing and sitting in silence while Skyping, which sometimes happens during my Skype calls with Nick, becomes enough, because at least you’re spending time with them.
Even through all the pitfalls of LDRs, there is something important to look forward to: seeing your significant other. There is nothing else in the world like the first hug after being apart for two months. It’s indescribable, and makes everything you’ve been through worth it. After finally seeing Nick as he walks toward my residence hall, suitcase in tow, I can’t help but run up to him and give him a big hug; it’s a reflex now.
So, yeah, I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder.