Anything or anyone you care about is worth the work. Is it easy? Rarely, if ever. I’ve known plenty of people in long-distance relationships–from married friends who had to be apart for work reasons to pals who met someone from another state online—and there are always ups and downs. You have all the normal relationship pressures (finding time for each other, communicating, worrying about your future together) but with the added stress of distance and leading separate lives. Many, many people make it work, but it takes a lot of communication and patience.
You also have to be very attentive to the other person’s needs, sometimes even more so than when they’re in the same room. It is easy to get too busy and forget to call or be online to chat, or whatever. Insecurities creep in (what is he/she doing? Do they still want to be with me? Are they cheating on me?) which can lead to stress, tension, and fights. And then there’s the loneliness factor, particularly if you’re in a strange place for work or school and away from your loved ones. You have to make the effort to keep regular contact, and pay attention to your significant other’s moods and needs.
There is one advantage to a long-distance relationship that I have noticed: it eliminates a lot of doubt. Being with someone long-distance (and I mean really being with them, not like IMing once in a while or talking on the phone once a month) is such a commitment that the people who make it work are usually completely certain about their feelings for each other. If you have any doubts about your long-distance beau, you may want to evaluate whether or not it’s worth it. Because the longer you are involved, and the longer you are apart, the harder it will get. Honestly, I marvel at how some of my friends can do it. I’ve known people whose spouse was 3,000 miles away for work or grad school for an extended period of time. I wondered how they didn’t drift apart. But they love each other, and they knew they would be physically in the same space in the future. Often it meant spending the extra money on travel, or staying up late to talk after work or school–all things that can add stress. But they made it work, and knowing the other person was there, even hundreds or thousands of miles away, made their lives better.
Also, these days with IM, gchat, Facebook, Skype, etc., I think it’s a bit easier. Certainly Skype is a huge boon for any long-distance situation (be it friend, family, or significant other) since you can actually see and talk to the person. I’ve never Skype-dated anyone, but I think it could also make it harder sometimes. You know, being able to see and hear them but not actually reach out and touch them.
Again, if you love and care for someone enough, you’ll make anything work. Both parties have to be fully committed to making the relationship grow and work. The old chestnut of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is only partially true. Absence can also be a real pain in the ass.
Anyone have any long-distance relationship experiences to share?