Every time I explain to someone that I currently reside in Australia whilst my boyfriend, James, lives in New Zealand, I’m greeted with puzzling looks and questions like, “but isn’t that hard?”
The short answer: yes and no.
James and I have been doing the distance on and off for around a year and a half. The first year of our relationship was long-distance, the second I moved back to Auckland for a year, and I’m back in Brisbane now where we have found ourselves yet again in a long distance situation.
Our first year was definitely the toughest. When you’re in that honeymoon phase of a new relationship, it’s really the only time that you can get away with being totally obsessed with each other. James and I didn’t really have that luxury, only during the few times that I visited him or he visited me. Like any relationship, there are definitely pros and cons to long distance, and I know both of us had our reserves when we first decided to start dating.
Our first reservation was this: is this relationship worth the hassle/sadness/expense? Long distance relationships require more effort, more emotional stability, and I’d definitely say if you’re in a LDR already, you should invest in a frequent flyer points scheme – it gets expensive. It’s hard. No matter how long we’ve been doing this, I always cry at the airport. Though all these things are true, they can all be managed appropriately and an LDR can make for a seriously awesome relationship, especially if you’re two people who enjoy their independence.
Skype is obvious. Though James and I don’t spend as much time on Skype as we used to, we try to end our day with at least fifteen minutes each day of quality face time. If we get too busy, a phone call is easy, and throughout the day we like to communicate via the app “Couple”. We try to include each other in our lives as much as possible, for instance, if he goes to a music festival he’ll send video snippets, or if I check out a new coffee shop I’ll send pictures. It’s just about making the small efforts to include them in your life as much as possible.
Another reservation we had was whether our relationship would actually last. James and I had been friends for years before we decided to date, but distance tends to break people. My theory is, if the relationship is weak to begin with, you’re going to go through hell. Long distance requires an immense amount of trust and genuine love for the other person, and if you can honestly say you have that in your relationship, then I’d say just go for it. If not, maybe reconsider. It’s never going to be easy, but if you have a strong foundation you will find the distance doesn’t really mean much.
If I had to evaluate my relationship, though, I’d say James and I have built an even stronger relationship than we began with. Long distance forces you to actively communicate and get to know each other properly, and James and I have one of the most solid relationships that I’ve ever known. He’s made me realise that long distance doesn’t have to be bad – it can actually bring two people closer, despite the ocean between us.