As I used the women’s restroom in the Cesar Chavez Student Center between classes, I saw the phrase “Don’t do a long distance relationship in college” written on the inside of the stall. I have heard this many times before but it particularly bothered me on this occasion as it was written as a warning to every girl who stepped in there. Long distance relationships constantly get a bad reputation, and I admit I used to think they could never work. I never thought I would be the person in a long distance relationship, but now I’m here to defend them.
I wish I could sit here and tell you it’s all roses and butterflies and I have no complaints, but that would be a huge lie. Honestly, it is not easy. I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve cried while being apart from my loved one. There are so many times when all I want to do after a long day is go home and be in the arms of the person I love the most. I want to be together for the good times and the bad times, but cannot be for either.
The goodbyes do not get easier, they get more difficult. The longer that goes on, the more sick of it you get. You miss each other more and more as the countdowns until the next time you get to see each other feel farther away than before. There will be times where you question if all the pain is worth it and I am here to tell you that it is, 100 percent.
Let me start by saying I have never been one to put that much effort into dating. In fact, I was always the single one while all of my friends were getting into serious relationships. When I met my boyfriend, I immediately knew he was special and unlike anyone I had ever met. We met while we were both on vacation in Cabo and were inseparable the rest of the trip. I had never felt so connected to a person upon just meeting them. Unfortunately, the vacation finally came to an end and I had to come back to San Francisco and he was going back to Los Angeles. I left Mexico not knowing if I would see him again, but we made it happen. We saw each other a couple of times before I came back for school. Then the hard part surfaced as we met at a crossroads. The phrase “long distance relationship” was something I had heard, but it was kind of a derogatory phrase that I didn’t want in my life. But for this person, I did want it. It was definitely an adjustment and continues to be a learning experience, but by far the best decision I have made.
With the right person, distance doesn’t matter. We are lucky enough to at least be in the same state, but a lot of people do it much further apart and still manage to make it work. There are over 7 million couples in the U.S. that consider themselves long distance. It is possible and I promise the positives outweigh the negatives.
Those countdowns I mentioned earlier are all worth it when you see that person’s face for the first time in weeks. Every time I see my boyfriend, my heart melts and I fall in love with him all over again. All of the little things you would normally take for granted put a smile on your face. Even eating Chick-fil-A together is special because you’re doing it together. Sitting in a room studying all day together is more enjoyable because you can look up from your desk and see the person you love. You cherish every moment together in a way you normally wouldn’t.
Every day you are apart you look forward to the nightly phone call to hear about each other’s day. You will learn the art of falling asleep with the phone placed just right so you don’t hang up and can wake up together and say good morning. You will share little stories that would mean nothing if you were to see each other every day.
It’s important to remind your partner why you are doing this, and what the end goal is. On the really hard days my boyfriend reminds me how important our education is for our future, and how all of the hard work will pay off. Knowing the distance will end for good once I graduate in May gives me that extra push. Some days, when I’m wishing we didn’t have to do this, I remind myself that we don’t and it’s our choice. I am lucky to have someone who is willing to endure this with me, someone who doesn’t just want to be with another person because it’s easier. That is even more special.
Long distance is not for everyone. It will test you in ways you didn’t know possible, but I encourage anyone considering it to give it a try. Letting someone out of your life who could potentially change it forever simply because of their area code is just living out of fear. Instead of everyone on a college campus warning you about long distance relationships, they should be warning you about settling for mediocre love.