When I got a job overseas, my boyfriend and I decided to stick it out and commit to a long-distance relationship. Unlike many couples in this scenario, we actually managed to make it through and we’re still together to this day. However, I kinda wish things had gone differently. Here’s why I don’t recommend LDRs.
You’ll start to resent each other. It’s so ironic, but eventually you start to blame your loneliness on the person you’re desperately missing. Phone calls become more and more monosyllabic and irritable, and eventually you just argue all the time. When all you really want is to be in each other’s arms again, you somehow find yourselves wanting nothing to do with each other.
The amount of sadness involved takes a serious toll on your mental health. No matter how ecstatic and happy you are when you get to see each other, the pain of saying goodbye again will always outweigh it. The feeling that all your moments together are temporary and the time apart is real life will crush you, and it starts to make the relationship itself seem tragic rather than joyful and worthwhile.
There’s no configuration that can make it easier. There are open relationships, closed relationships, temporarily suspended relationships, and probably countless other options, but none of them are painless. Open relationships work for some people but they definitely have their downsides. Closed relationships bring up all kinds of anxieties and temptations. And temporarily suspended relationships are just a gray area waiting to prey upon your worst fears. Long-distance relationships are agony most of the time, and there’s just no way around it.
It’s a constant roller-coaster. Just talking on the phone with your significant other will feel like a major emotional event. Every time you talk, your feelings be all over the place. You’ll either be crazy in love or angry and distant. One minute you’re saying how much you love each other, the next you’re shouting that you want to break up. There is no middle ground. After awhile, it becomes exhausting.
Sex is a factor. Even if you’re in an open relationship and therefore able to have as much sex as you want, it’s very difficult to not be able to have sex with your partner when you want to. And even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, having sex with your partner after weeks or months apart will feel disjointed and uncomfortable, and it will take awhile for you to get comfortable with each other again.
No matter how many times you say “I love you,” there will always be doubt. When it comes down to it, one or both of you decided to live apart, and because of that, your love will always be somewhat in question. A lot of people have separation anxiety with their partners, and the fact that one of you decided to be apart will always hurt. You’ll always wonder if there is an imbalance in how much you love each other, if you love the other person more and if they actually love you at all.
Your heart will never be totally in or out. You can declare your undying love for each other as you say goodbye, but once you’re apart, all bets are off. Emotionally, you won’t be able to feel completely committed to your partner or completely separate. Long distance relationships are a kind of romantic purgatory that is actually worse than hell.
There is no one person who can make you happy. The world is a big place with many, many people in it, and no matter how certain you may be that your partner is “The One,” there will always be at least several other people in the world about whom you could feel exactly the same. In the end, it kind of makes sense to end a relationship on the logistical grounds of being so far apart and find one of the many other compatible people who exist elsewhere.
There’s too much pressure on the moments you do get to spend together. While every reunion may start out feeling like actual heaven, it soon becomes painfully obvious that there’s just too much weight being placed on every second. Every word, every glance, every tiny touch takes on a huge significance, and it’s no wonder this often leads to unnecessary fights and unhappiness during the times you’re supposed to be happiest.
The question “what if?” will destroy you even when you’re back together. Yes, the world is a big place with many lovely people in it who you could probably live happily ever after with. And no matter how much you love your partner and your life together once you’ve survived your long distance relationship, you will always wonder how your life might have been different if you’d broken up.
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