An Open Letter to Anyone Struggling With Distance in Their Relationship

“Time together, there’s just never quite enough.

When we’re apart, what ever are you thinking of?

What will it take to make or break this hint of love?

So tell me, darling, do you wish we’d fall in love?

All the time.”

Relationships are wonderful things. Relationships (when they’re with the right one) are a constant source of companionship, support, and an additional steady stream of happiness. Relationships have highs, lows, and everything in between that make them the most beautiful chaos to walk through, hand-in-hand. I make it no secret that I am almost overly in love with my husband and marriage, and somehow fall more in love with those both each and every day. It also is a well-established fact that my relationship is currently a long distance one for the time being.

Mushy gushy bullsh*t aside, I’m going to just go ahead and state the obvious now to get that out of the way: distance is absolutely terrible. It sucks. A lot. And pretty regularly. Constantly having hundreds of miles between my very best friend and I is obviously NOT the way I wanted to spend my life or our time “together”. Speaking from a personal point of view, some of the clichés you hear about it are true; it does make the heart grow fonder, it does give you a reason to love harder, yada yada yada. But this post isn’t about that stuff right now. I’m going to be that friend (as I so often am) that doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you NEED to hear instead. Distance has the ability to challenge everything you thought you had figured out. It can bring out the very best and the very worst in people, making or breaking any and everything in its path. It rekindles the strong and extinguishes the weak. It can try you in ways you hadn’t thought possible, and could very well alter your perception of relationships going forward (your own, as well as those around you). It doesn’t discriminate based on age, height or weight. You won’t have it any easier depending on where you’re from or where you’re (physically) going. You aren’t doomed going into it based on your home life or demographic. No, distance has nothing to do with any of those things and has everything to do with the individuals involved.

As with most things you take on in life, you set the tone of your relationship – long distance or otherwise – going into it. Especially in situations such as this, attitude is everything and will have a great effect on the outcome of your relationship overall. Is that saying that having a positive outlook on your situation guarantees it to be a breeze? Not at all! There will be bad days – sometimes a lot of bad days. There will be days that you don’t want to do anything but stay in your bed binge-watching whatever catches your eye on Netflix. There will be times that you can’t bring yourself to stare at your phone screen any longer, despite that being your main (and sometimes only) means of communication. There will be instances that you become downright angry – at your significant other, at the miles between you, at the world in general. Especially when being surrounded by countless happy couples in person; the ones that get to physically touch, kiss, and hug all over their loved ones. But at the end of the day – yes, including those downright awful ones – you have to remind yourself why you’re in the situation you are.

You both felt – believed – that your relationship was strong enough to make it through this.

Let’s backtrack for a moment, shall we?

How did we get here? More often than not – or at least, in my case and those like it – we are already well established in these relationships before making them span several states (or sometimes countries). I had already invested years of my life into Tim and our overall time together before he’d even considered joining the Marine Corps. I was well past the point of return and far too in love with him and what we have together to allow some time away from each other threaten that. Besides, people do long distance all the time. How bad could it really be? (So bad on several occasions. But I had no idea at the time.) Anyone that agrees to at least attempt a relationship of this nature obviously knows what they have is something special and something worth working for.

What do I do now? On the especially emotionally charged days, it may seem like the “easy way out” to just call it quits, throw in the towel, find something closer to home. The time away is just too painful. Spending holidays and milestones alone? Forget it about it. And FaceTime/Skype dates can’t ever possibly compare to being swept off your feet and taken out in person, am I right? In one word, no. It’s much easier said than done, of course, but it’s so important to remind yourself why you’re in this situation in the first place. You loved that other person so much that you agreed to days, weeks, or months spent apart in exchange for a weekend together twice or three times a year. And why would anyone do that??? Because there isn’t another individual on this planet that will ever compare to what you already have. Is it ideal? Probably not right now (if you’re going through anything similar). But no hug/kiss/touch/smile from anyone else in the world will ever compare to the one you admire from afar now. Quality > convenience, my friends. Would it be easier to find someone in my immediate area? I’m sure by someone else’s standards. But would it be worth throwing away what I have now and run the risk of never finding that anywhere else ever again? Worth starting all over, potentially getting my heartbroken over and over again by choosing the “what if’s” over the stability I have now, no matter how far? Absolutely not. You willingly went into a long distance relationship for one reason and one reason alone (predominantly): because you loved the person on the other end more than you were willing to live without. It is of vital importance to remind yourself of that fact pretty regularly to keep that light at the end of the tunnel somewhat in sight.

 Nothing in this world worth having will ever come easy, and long distance relationships are no exception – but it’s the toughest things in life that usually end up being the most rewarding. I love Tim more than every night spent in our bed alone, more than every “first” in our marriage spent in different states (and occasionally without contact altogether), and every moment spent admiring his sweet smile and goofy laugh through my iPhone screen. Being with him and only being able to enjoy his playing with my hair that immediately puts me to sleep only a handful of times in the past almost year, countless hours spent in foreign airports or trapped in cars making lengthy trips, and knowing that at the end of it all, I have the one whom my soul loves in my heart, even if not in my arms, is worth a million times more than anything anyone else in this world would be able to give me. Giving up is the easiest thing in the world; braving the storm is what takes courage. Find comfort in the fact that every night spent alone brings you another day closer to the next you’ll be with them again. Every countdown completed, plane ticket purchased, and every smile on his face brought on by me through FaceTime makes it that much worth it. Nothing in this world allows you to relive your first kiss (or a feeling rather equivalent) quite like long distance, as unforgiving and unrelenting as it is. And you will never hold someone as tightly as you do when you say goodbye – that is, until your next precious reunion. It hasn’t been easy and likely won’t ever be, but there’s no one else I would ever go through this for.

Keep calm; you’re another day closer and another day stronger!

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Anyone Struggling With Distance in Their Relationship

  1. arihudson29 says:

    Oh man. I love this. My hubbys been training for his 3rd deployment and has been gone a lot. After doing this twice already with him, I almost feel like it’s easier him being on a deployment than never really knowing when he will be home or for how long with all these trainings and field ops and at sea periods 😩

    Like

    • jessmlawry says:

      It definitely isn’t the easiest, but you are one tough chick! I’m just getting into this whole realm, but these are the things I have to remind myself of on the hard days to get through! I’ll keep you & yours in my prayers, girl! I don’t say it to be cliche, but things will get better. I have no doubt. These kinds of things and the lifestyle that comes with it will never be “ideal”, but they are always so worth it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • arihudson29 says:

        I couldn’t agree more! I’ll be thinking of you as well!! I’m 3 years into this with this man (he’s been in for almost 8) and we’ve done a deployment each year! He’s gone a lot but we got this!

        Like

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