Thursday, February 7, 2013

Long Distance Relationships

I have never been in a relationship with a guy that I go to school with, or a guy that lives in my state for the matter. Let alone someone that lives near enough that I can see them everyday. The one relationship I was in was long distance.  For me, it was always nice to now that someone out there cared for me, and I didn't care about the distance. Although it would have been nice to be able to go to a movie with him, or snuggle on the couch on a cold day, or in my case... be able to talk to him more often. Perhaps it was our lack of communication, which should have been a red flag from the start, but he was physically ill at the time, that ended our relationship. Or maybe it was a combination of that, and the 2000 miles between us. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for us if we'd lived closer together, but the only thing I can do at this point is move on. 

I met (let's just call him Charlie) online back when I was in middle school, and we started dating a year after we met. I had always had the dream that someday we could actually be together at the same place, although how little we actually spoke made it seem unlikely already, but I have always been a dreamer. Not all long distance relationships start online, it could be someone that lived nearby and moved away, but you decided to stay together. Or it could be someone that's overseas serving our country. No matter what the situation, the feelings you have for them are just the same as you'd have if you were actually there with them.

While my online romance with Charlie ended badly, as well as many other online relationships I know about, but that doesn't mean it's always going to end like that. Someone I know is now engaged to a guy she met on MySpace several years ago after meeting face to face. Just remember to play it safe if you plan to meet someone you've never met face to face. Video chat with them so you can see for sure who they are, meet in a public place, and don't go alone. People aren't always who they say they are, and going alone can be potentially dangerous. Although this isn't always the case, it's always nice to know beforehand who they really are, and a friend with you just to be sure.

In any relationship, communication and trust are most important. Talk with them online, through text, and over the phone as often as you can. Modern technology gives us so many ways to stay connected with the people we care about. Both people need to make an effort to make time talk to the other person in order for it to work. If either of you don't have easy access to Internet or a phone, write letters if possible (getting a letter is more special then getting an instant message or even an email to start with), and try to email once in a while. But if both people have easy access to technology there's little reason you shouldn't be able to communicate almost daily, even if it's just for a few minutes. You don't need to talk 24/7, not even close distance couples communicate all day- every day, you each have lives and other things to do. But going for weeks , or in my case months, without any communication puts even more strain on a relationship.

As months would go by without a single message from Charlie, I started to have a few doubts and a few suspicions. Perhaps he may have even had a few about me. And the fact that he wouldn't get online for months at a time made it impossible to talk with him about it. When he did come online I didn't want to get in an argument, so I just pushed it aside. He would tell me that he couldn't be on because of his medical condition, which may have been true. If you start having any doubts, try calmly talking with them about whats bothering you. Don't point the blame at them, just tell them how you feel, and use the words "I feel..." to avoid serious conflict. But remember, all relationships are going to have some kind of argument. If anything turns into an argument, try to work it out. If they won't take anything you say into consideration, or they are rude to you, whether it be in a short or long distance relationship, it's time to call it off.

If both people are willing to put an equal amount of effort into the relationship, and the trust and communication are there, you can have a lasting relationship, no matter how far you are. When the time comes that you can be closer together, take that chance. If you truly love each other, it will all be worth it in the end. It's never easy, no relationship is easy. There will always be struggles, ups and downs. But there's also the happy times. Distance doesn't have to ruin your relationship... It can even make it stronger in the end. <3

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