A long-distance relationship isn’t for the weak-willed. It’s not for the people who aren’t curious. And it’s not for the ones who refuse to heal.
To be in a relationship with somebody you can only see in the flesh a few times a year takes an undetermined amount of faith. It takes the belief that effort keeps love alive; that you and your partner are the only ones responsible for a relationship working or ending.
(Mind you, any relationship can teach you this, but long-distance relationships especially carry these lessons).
Here’s a few more lessons people in long-distance relationships will tell you:
1. Mindset and season are everything.
When you’re curious about what could be, you’re willing to change. When you’re open to healing, you have a higher ability and consciousness to see things from another perspective. And when you have a strong will for success, you’ll fight for what you believe in.
Because when I’m tempted to feel resentful about a behavior or word my partner shared, I can take a step back and train myself to reconsider my reaction. I’m only capable of this because I’m leaning in to curiosity, open to healing, and have the mental capacity to work toward relational success in that season.
2. The hype for communication is well deserved.
It’s communication accompanied with patience for another’s communication style that upholds a long-distance relationship.
3. It’s worth it.
Most couples who’ve experienced long-distance will say it’s worth it in a few circumstances like, 1) when you truly respect your partner, 2) when you have grace for mistakes, and 3) you both want what’s best for both of you.
Whether the relationship ends or lives on to be a forever relationship, it’s worth it because of the character building, the creative experiences, and the way it changes your mind on love.
4. The feeling of love isn’t something you can believe in and expect to carry you through your relationship.
Not after a long-distance one.
Love can feel like soft hugs and kisses on the forehead that make the pain go away when you’re in a relationship with somebody close by. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, the option to rely on physical displays of love that come naturally simply isn’t available.
5. Love becomes a logical choice entangled in the heart.
Long-distance changes your mind on love. It makes you want to fight for love. It makes you want to make sacrifices for the sake of curiosity and the sake of healing. It makes you want to love yourself better and hope your partner is doing the same.
Love is no longer only a feeling when you experience long-distance. It’s a daily choice to commit to your partner, despite temptations, despite your own ideas of what may be best, and despite the distance. You have faith that what you have is a good thing so you’re willing to continue.
There’s nothing else to rely on but choice. The choice to show up, the choice to trust, and the choice to be strong. You are not the same person after a long-distance relationship, and it’s a dang good thing.
6. It’s okay if you can’t choose to continue anymore for a time—or forever.
Choosing love can be difficult. We simply can’t choose sometimes, because there are many other choices we need to make for ourselves, for our families, and for our own livelihood. When you’re journeying with someone who understands this, it’s easier to navigate a relationship, but it’s also harder to say goodbye (if you have to).
Love is a choice. You can say “yes” or “no”, so long as you know you’re responsible for that choice, and you can move forward with the lessons and a changed heart on love.
Frankly, I’d rather see love as a choice than something that isn’t in my control. And, it’s usually the lasting relationships that would suggest this to be true.
You see this when you meet people who love God, too. They love God out of choice, and that’s the way He wanted it—otherwise love without choice isn’t love.
Long-distance changed my mind on love, and I’m glad it did.