Long Distance: Is it Worth It?
September means the end of summer AND the end of summer romances…or maybe you’re separated from your long time sweetie because of school. Either way, the question becomes: what now? Is a long distance relationship worth it? If this is the question running through your mind, here are some things to consider:
Can you be where you are? Not only can a long distance relationship be tough on the relationship, it can also be tough on your personal life outside of the relationship. If you spend so much time and energy trying to keep in touch with your bf/gf and stay immersed in their world, it’s easy to miss out on your world. And especially if you’re the one going off to school, making a new life for yourself is important. If you’re really good at balancing things, and think you can stay in touch while at the same time remaining present in your own life…then this is less of a concern.
What is the end goal? Yes, you can’t expect to know “the one” immediately (especially when you’re young). But if you are going to put forth the effort be in a long distance relationship, you should definitely be thinking long term. Is your bf/gf someone that you see yourself with down the road? Or are they someone you love and care about deeply but just don’t really see a future with? (Or don’t see a happy future with….) If you don’t think there’s a good chance you could end up with the person you’re dating, going the distance just may not be worth it.
Does it make more sense to reconnect? Even if you do see yourself with someone long term, sometimes it makes more sense to plan to reconnect later. If you guys are going to be far apart for a long time and feel like you have some growing and exploring to do on your own, there is nothing wrong with planning to take a break. Sometimes you just have to do your own thing, and focus on yourself for a while. Then, you can come back to a relationship that’s stronger and more solid.
Can you trust each other? Trust is big in any relationship, but especially in long distance ones. There are going to be times when you’re not going to have a lot of time to talk, or when your bf/gf will be hanging out with other girls/guys. If you don’t completely trust each other then you’re going to drive yourselves crazy worrying about temptation. If your partner being faithful is a big concern, a long distance relationship is going to be that much harder.
Will it cause more harm than good? Related to the idea of reconnecting, it’s important to consider if going for a long distance relationship could do more harm than good. Do you think it will make you fight more? Will you be resentful of all the time you have to spend staying in touch? Are you going to bitter because you feel like you’re missing out on having a full life where you are? If trying to stay in a relationship is actually going to ruin your relationship, then having something long distance is completely counter productive.
If you really care about the person you’re being separated from, and can see yourself with them long term, then it’s probably worth giving a long distance relationship a shot. Realistically, you may not know the answers to many of the above questions until you’ve in a long distance relationship with your bf/gf. There’s nothing wrong with attempting to go the distance, and then reassessing a month or two down the road to see if it’s really the best idea.
Have you ever done the long distance thing? Did it work out for you or ultimately end up dooming the relationship? Tell us your story in the comments!
Amber Madison has been writing about sex, love, and relationships since college (she went to Tufts University) when she wrote for her school newspaper's sex ed column. Since graduating, she's published two books: Hooking Up: A Girl's All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality and Talking Sex With Your Kids and has been quoted in a ton of different media outlets from Seventeen magazine to MTV to NPR. Have a question for Amber? Send us an email!