Going the distance: Navigating long-distance relationships on Valentine’s Day

Feb. 8, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

“So, you’re in a long-distance relationship. That’s rough. Good luck with that!”


First off, no one says “yipes.” But, to my main point: peers often meet your “tragic” predicament in this way–with a loosely fitted “thank-goodness-I’m-not-you” grimace and a whole lot of pessimism. Very seldom do those going the distance encounter a chipper optimist who might nod vigorously, saying, “Yeah, man, keep up the good fight.” For those who may not be in a long-distance relationship or remain skeptical about such a daunting fate, please take a second to humor me. Long-distance relationships aren’t meant to be these stigmatized and discouraged hindrances; they are beautiful challenges and admirable demonstrations of devotion.


Sure, this kind of commitment isn’t for everyone, but neither are other alternative relationships (e.g. open ones). And sure, our human urges may cause us to toss and turn in bed, wishing we had our number-one cuddle buddy. All relationships necessitate effort, work and communication in order to sustain them. It isn’t your fault you met that  someone at a less-than-convenient time in each other’s lives. Remember: you didn’t choose the strug life; the strug life chose you. And that’s just the universe, being a typical asshole. You can’t help but hear the dialogue unfurl in your mind: “Oh, you finally found someone you can share love and trust? Here’s an ocean and some land to put between you both! Enjoy!”


Typical asshole, indeed.


All sad stuff aside, long-distance relationships have their perks, too. This Valentine’s Day, let’s reflect on the good things in the long haul. You’ve got a love that’s so precious, so enduring that you both know it’s worth keeping even if you’ll miss the handholding, the love-making and the kisses, among innumerable things.


You’ve got your independence. You won’t be stifled by the lack of personal space, nor be conflicted about not having enough “me time.” Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, without feeling guilty that you didn’t invite your other half is pretty fantastic.


Through missing them, you’ll realize your capacity for truly caring about someone. With this wonderful thing we’ve got here called Teh Interwebz, you’ll relay quick messages wishing the other a good day and sending reminders that you love and miss him or her (you’ve also got that trusty webcam!). You’ll be each other’s cheerleader, encouraging your lover to keep working hard and to know that you’ll always be there for him or her, despite the distance. It will make you happy to know that you make someone happy, too.


It takes strength to hold on to something you believe in, especially when we’re faced with pessimism wearing the veneer of “being realistic.” There are the small things that make long-distance relationships worth it, and this Valentine’s Day, I want you to remind yourself of these things. Think of the lasting memories that unfailingly make you smile, what made you fall head over heels for this person and how you’ve grown as a couple and as individuals, because you should know that your significant other is doing the same. Congratulations on fighting the good fight, and have a Valentine’s Day as beautiful as your challenge.

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