The Ugly Truth about Long Distance Relationship

August 3, 2016

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, fighting for presence does.

It’s the lamest love story ever: She was talking to a boy that her mother was not too fond of and because of this, her mother found it necessary to hack her Twitter. Yes, I said hack. On her daughter’s Twitter, she searched the name of the son of an old friend who had recently moved back to the area. She then proceeded to follow the young man on her daughter’s Twitter after being impressed by the Bible verses and dedication to school professed on his page. A classic example of helicopter parenting. But after offering her daughter an outfit in exchange for direct messaging this mystery boy, the daughter became one outfit and one boyfriend richer.

So, it didn’t exactly happen like that.

There were months of dating, forcing the timid football player to hold her hand, and to kiss her on her couch. Needless to say, she was his first girlfriend, and he was clueless.

See, everything was perfect. It was just like she had always dreamed. That is, until August rolled around. Suddenly the 20 minute drive to one another’s houses turned into four and a half hour drives to each other’s dorm rooms. There were factors including roommates, sports, extracurricular activities, jobs, exams, class schedules, and homework that they had not accounted for. All of a sudden, it was not just about them anymore. It was about them and their 110 things to do each week. It was about juggling between wanting to see their families, hang out with their friends and recuperate from a stressful week, or make a four and a half our drive to see each other.

Absence makes the heart grow founder? Wrong. Absence makes you forget how much you enjoy being around each other. Absence makes your trust stretch so thin it almost becomes invisible. Absence makes communication become a chore. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? No. Absence makes the relationship grow immensely harder.

Here’s the ugly truth of long distance relationships according to Long Distance Relationship Statistics:

Long-distance relationship often times do not exceed four and a half months

Of all long-distance relationships 40% ends with a break-up

The average distance between long-distance partners is 125 miles.

The average number of times couples visited each other is usually around 1.5 times per month.

The average number of days between couples communicating with one another is 2.7 days.

So, this relationship struggled. Yet, the two pushed on. They trudged through the storms hand in hand. They worked to make sure they talked everyday. They prayed together. They built relationships with one another’s friends and families. They made each other a priority. They put in the work, because to them it was worth it.

That’s the truth about a long-distance relationship. If it is worth it, you will put in the work. You will pay for the gas. You will drive four and a half hours to watch them play a football game only to turn around and leave the next morning at 4 a.m. to make it back for exams. Your friends will call you crazy. Your milage on your cars will increase ten-fold. You will put in the work because it is worth it. And all the work you put in will make the reward so much sweeter.

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Working for presence in one another’s lives makes the heart grow fonder. Staying up until midnight on the phone with each other just to remind yourselves of the good times makes the heart grow fonder. Getting a handwritten letter in the middle of exam week makes the heart grow fonder. Care packages, football camp survival kits, pictures hung up on your dorm room walls — those make the heart grow fonder.

There’s a lot of ugly truth hidden behind these long-distance relationships. However, there’s a lot of beauty there, too. In the same way that long-term investments gain more interest or wine becomes more valuable, a relationship that has more obstacles than others transforms into wisdom and beauty.

I can speak from experience when I say the distance is worth it. Two and a half years have passed since my Twitter was hacked, and in return I gained an outfit and a boyfriend. My one piece of advice is fight for presence, for it is defeating absence and replacing it with presence that makes the heart grow fonder.

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