One student’s experience and advice for being in a long-distance relationship
I have been in a long-distance relationship for the past year, and believe me when I say, I am happier than ever.
It all started two summers ago, when I went to visit my family in Beirut, Lebanon. I promised myself one thing as I arrived at the Rafic Hariri airport: no summer crush whatsoever. I was determined not to give in to the first handsome, charming Lebanese guy I met. For a little while, I stuck to my promise and enjoyed the sun, food and time with my family.
Two weeks later, I realized the promise I had made to myself was a hoax, and maybe love is just one of those things a person has no control over. That summer in Beirut taught me that love happens when you least expect it and in the most unpredictable ways.
I was sitting in a coffee shop with my cousin, casually sipping a vanilla-hazelnut latte, when a six-foot-tall guy, seemingly in his early 20s, walked over to our table. Slightly tanned, fit and sporting a beard, he asked if he could sit with us in the most polite, gentle manner.
After speaking with him for less than 10 minutes, it was obvious to me that he possessed the three traits I admire most in a man: he was courageous, down to earth and kind.
In that moment, I knew I had to give him a chance and overcome my long-distance relationship fears. The traits I saw in him, as simple as they may seem, are the hardest qualities to find in a man my age.
So here I am today, in a healthy long-distance relationship with a trustworthy man who never fails to put a smile on my face. I don’t see him often, and when I do, saying goodbye feels like a stab to the heart—but with effort and commitment, we make it work.
For anyone currently facing the challenges of a long-distance relationship, here are some tips my boyfriend and I use to overcome the difficulties of living in different time zones.
We send each other a text message every two hours
If we are not in class, writing an exam or sleeping, we send each other a text every two hours. No matter how short or unromantic the message, it doesn’t matter — What matters is that we are thinking about each other.
We listen to each other. Whether he’s interested or not, when I call my boyfriend after a long day to talk about my assignments, he still listens carefully and shares his thoughts and opinions. This is something I admire. We always make an effort to show interest in the other person’s day, no matter how small or insignificant the details are.
We send pictures of everything
Whether it’s a picture of my lunch or a selfie while he’s brushing his teeth, visuals are the closest thing we have to reality. We use them until we run out of storage.
We pay attention to small details
A long-distance relationship needs to be handled with much more attention to detail than a normal one. Although I truly do trust him, all it takes is one misleading video on Snapchat to get me asking questions. When I’m not around him, questions and assumptions seem to naturally bubble up. I believe that’s just part of the long-distance package. To minimize this, we do not forget to charge our phones and check in. We always try to be as clear and straightforward with one another as possible.
We make sure our visits are as long as possible
We are both students on tight budgets, so needless to say, we can’t afford an overseas plane ticket every month. For that reason, we stay as long as possible when we visit each other. It gives us more time to make up for all the date nights and outings we missed during the year.
We are optimistic
Don’t compare yourself to other couples. Don’t count the days until the next time you meet, because the more you dwell on it, the longer it will seem. Most importantly, don’t lose hope. Love from both ends of the rope isn’t something you find everyday. So if you and your partner share that love, even when you’re miles apart, cherish it.
Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth