What they don’t tell you about long distance relationships

6 August 2018

long distance relationship

If there is one thing people will never tire of repeating about long distance relationships, it’s the incessant plaints that they never work, they’re too hard and they never end well.

I won’t fill you with hopes and make you dream  that against all odds, all couples will remain together when far away from each other. Some cases fail the distance test and the two people break up.. which isn’t wrong either.

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However, if there is anything I have learned from my short experience, or even from seeing friends go through several months of not seeing their significant other, some things are necessary to have a healthy long distance relationship and guarantee its survival.

The most important factor is mutual agreement that you want it to work and last. What good is it going through several months away from each other if one of you is in it for the long run and the other believes it’s going to hit a dead end?

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This is the case in most relationships, ‘domestic’ or ‘international’ ones. If you genuinely believe from the onset that distance will eventually lead to your doom, then there is no point in trying to make it work.

I am, in no way claiming that this is the only thing that keeps a couple together when separated by distance. Nonetheless, it is of utmost importance in order for the rest of the steps to actually work.

Try to compare it to the baking of a cake; You can clearly taste the difference between a chocolate cake concocted out of sheer boredom and a well-crafted, three-tier, rainbow cake baked with love and devotion. Motivation changes the flavour.

If you’re just baking a cake for the sake of doing it, or because your children won’t stop harassing you over the fact that there are no sweets in the house, it won’t taste as scrumptious as the one you would bake on a day when you wake up in the morning and crave the smell of freshly baked goods and want it to invade your house.

Am I making any sense or has this analogy thrown you completely off the wagon? I was talking about relationships, and now I’ve made you hungry. My apologies.

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My point remains the same, however. Motivation is key to anything in life, especially when it comes to relationships. In this case, it isn’t ‘the taste’ you’re chasing, it’s a possible future with the other person.

Before your urgency to shut down on commitment tingles, let me explain. When I talk about futures with significant others, I don’t necessarily mean for you to start a nuclear family, with roast chicken in the middle of the dinner table every night.

I’m sorry, I’ll stop talking about food.

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I essentially mean that one should not hop on the long-distance relationship band-wagon if one does not see themselves spending a significant period of their life with their SO.

Sooooo, if the answer to the question ‘Are they worth it?’ Is not an immediate, overt, ‘YES,’ then do not even bother giving it a shot. It would be unfair to the both of you.

You can’t expect to make a long-distance relationship work if you decide to ‘go with the flow’ and ‘see where this goes.’ Are you kidding me? This doesn’t even work when both of you are in the same country, let alone miles apart.

Finally, with some parting words from a stranger on the internet, one thing you should think of doing before getting yourself into any kind of relationship, is practice honest and frequent communication.

The most toxic thing people encourage others to do is to not be honest with their partners about what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, or even what they want. ‘If they truly love you, they will know.’ Pardon my French, but what a load of bull.

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You’re telling me that loving someone will automatically give me supernatural powers to know everything they want in life? The dream. Maybe I should have foreseen some of my exes’ need to break-up with me to see other people. That would have saved me a lot of trouble and heartbreak.

All in all, dear readers, communication and trust are essential points to build the strong foundations a relationship needs to stand and last. If you are both committed to making things work, if you are both willing to see to it that your relationship lasts for the long haul, then you’re already on the right track.

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This entry was written by Youmna El Halabi for Virgin Radio Lebanon and Laughing Might Help, edited by Elige Abou Youness, August 6, 2018.