I never imagined that I would be in a long-distance relationship. I knew from others how difficult they were (my friend was doing a cross-continental relationship with her now-husband when I met Greg), and living in such a populated area like Boston always made me foolishly believe that there were so many options I was bound to find someone on my back doorstep.
But being in one has shown me how difficult it really is.
On a good weekend, Greg and I get a full 48 hours together. But the majority of that time is spent doing homework. We first got together before either of us was in school, so we happily planned trips, excursions, and events every weekend. And because we weren’t as busy and had more free time and energy, we were always up for a new adventure. Now, I don’t plan trips or events anymore, and going out can be a huge production. We have to schedule every hour, every minute, and every second of our time together.
Such a demanding schedule isn’t necessarily conducive to love. We can’t connect as easily as other couples who live together or have similar schedules can. Many semesters when we’ve been apart, work and our classes have overlapped in such a way that we don’t connect from 8 am until 10 pm. I can’t make Greg dinner on Wednesday night when he’s worked late, and Greg can’t take me out to a movie on a Thursday. Our schedules leave us drained, and between work, school, and traveling to each other, at the end of every week, all we want to do is rest.
Because we can’t rely on the things that couples who live together can do every day, Greg and I have to work that much harder to keep our love alive. We rely on texts, phone calls, emails, and spontaneous gifts to show that the love is there and stronger than ever, and that we’re always here for each other, no matter what. But being apart with ever-changing schedules and limited access to each other means that we have to plan everything, including every gift. And even the best planning oftentimes goes awry.
However, planning our displays of love has added another layer to our relationship. We can’t do anything without thinking it through, and because we’re not always together, we have plenty of time to determine how best to display our love. As a result, our displays are more thoughtful, meaningful, and unique than they would be if we could see each other more often.
While it would be wonderful to be able to do smaller displays of love more regularly (i.e. doing laundry or going grocery shopping for Greg), ours are special, because they can’t be done every day.
man in a blue tshirt stands next to woman in a blue blouse