Just the thought of a long distance relationship is enough to make many young professional wince at the idea of trying to incorporate phone calls, Skype sessions, weekend visits and in some cases different time zones into their already hectic schedule. After all, us YPs are selfish with our time and one of the best parts of being in a relationship in the first place is the comfort and convenience of having someone there, right?
Long distance relationships take two forms; they either begin as long distance relationships or are forced to become long distance when one of the partners moves away for work, school or personal reasons.
For many YPs, sustaining a long distance relationship can be a source of heartache and stress. Toronto psychotherapist, relationship expert, and fellow YP Nicole McCance sees many clients who seek her help due to the anxiety that comes with having a significant other (SO) live in a different country. “Long distance relationships are hard and often come with this heavy longing, missing feeling that sits in the pit of your stomach, only to be dissolved when you are reunited with your partner some time in the future,” she said.
We have seen our own YP friends distracted at group dinners or events, either glued to their smart phones in a constant banter with their long distance lover or cutting nights short to run home for a Skype session. We have seen the sadness in their eyes at couple-heavy group dinners and know that they wished their own SO were there instead of the token single person sitting across from them.
“Individuals in long distance relationships tend to be very focused on the future. They expect to be happier when they get to see their partner again, counting down the days. However, I often notice that they put their life on hold as a result and miss out on life right now,” said McCance. We couldn’t agree more.
From our personal experience, the best part of being in a long distance relationship is the time and freedom it gives you to do your own thing. It is easy to get caught up in a relationship and put your own life on the back burner as a result. On the other hand, when you are single, countless nights spent out on the town in an attempt to meet potential dates, lovers and spouses may take away from those few extra hours of work you could have done at home, or a solid brainstorming session with your business partner. A long distance relationship offers the best of both worlds and can therefore facilitate optimum productivity. But even if your work schedule allows for the luxury of free time, take that time for yourself.
“I find that talking to your long distance mate too often can make it harder and keeping yourself busy in your own city is important,” said McCance. “Your life is likely going to feel like it is lacking because your heart may be with your significant other, but by taking care of yourself, whether its working out, joining a book club, or surrounding yourself with your friends, will help.”
Being away from them makes you appreciate and miss your SO. You are excited to see one another and as a result, you truly get to experience the best of one another when you do, free from the stresses and schedules of everyday life. The weekends spent together are usually passionate, activity-filled and argument-free. Just as being single for prolonged periods of time makes you appreciate and embrace love when it is finally found, the same can be said for a long distance relationship.
Not to be negative, but another benefit of the long distance relationship is that if you do break up, you won’t have to worry about running into the other person among the ever-tiny young professional circles in any given city. You will be able to move on faster and hopefully gain quick closure post-breakup because your former SO was not a part of your life on a full-time basis anyway. The shock to the system and typical readjustment of one’s life is not nearly as intense.
But say you don’t break up. The end result and expectation is that you will one day share your lives together. Words of caution: just because you think you’ve met the SO of your dreams and begin your union in a long distance relationship that flourishes, it doesn’t mean things will continue to sail smoothly once you eventually reunite to live your life together on a daily basis. We’ve seen plenty of non long distance YP relationships sour when the pair moves in together and they realize that they simply don’t work together in every day life. Twenty brilliant weekends together a year doesn’t necessarily mean you could even live 20 straight days in the real world together.
It usually assumed that if you do plan on making the move to a new city that you will live with your SO right away, however premature or length of dating period. This leads to problems, especially for the person willing to uproot their lives and move to the city of their SO without the security offered by cohabitation. Although it may be a tough pill to swallow, in reality this can make the transition from long distance to full-on relationship a little easier, especially if the relationship started off long distance in the first place. Just make sure you are true to your heart and your feelings toward the other person, because you may blame and resent the other person if the relationship dissolves.
According McCance, the best thing to do while in the long distance relationship is to give yourself all the love that you would hope your SO would provide if they were in your physical presence and stop waiting to be in the other’s arms to be happy.