August 2011. A true break-up “Big Bang”. Five spoonfuls of tears, three cups of despair and a hysteria icing. Not a particularly enjoyable sight, if you ask me. The reason for this explosion was neither unfaithfulness nor lies: The sole reason for this tragedy in one act was the fear of a long-distance relationship that “um, y’ know, can never work“. All close friends of both devastated protagonists could look forward to a great time. Absolutely not.
Do not get me wrong. Break-ups are probably a good idea if the relationship is stuck in a rut and the partners cannot be bothered to change it. However, going to college in a foreign country is something completely different: If you try hard, it can even prove to be more enjoyable than the “normal stereotype” when, say, you live in the same city.
Of course. By no means do I mean to say that being in a long-distance relationship is easy. It surely means a lot of lonely nights, a slight Skype addiction and – in some cases – perhaps even temptation one needs to resist. You can see it as a challenge: either it will kill the relationship right away (proving that it had never been a particularly strong relationship anyway), or it will strengthen it. That which does not kill us…
To put it differently: If you both truly care and are willing to dedicate time to sustaining the relationship, to sacrifice some comfort, subdue your passions and trust each other entirely, then your relationship does stand a chance. Your reunions may become less frequent, yet much merrier as you will learn a) to cherish every second that you were given and b) to live your life with your significant other to the fullest.
The issue of long-distance relationships is, as I have already hinted above, extremely relevant for university students. Chances are you have already met someone special at high school, but you were accepted to different colleges. In that case you are facing two options: The Bing Bang break-up, or “the Skype approach”. Let me tell you two stories concerning these two choices – and you make your pick.
Story number one: My college classmate Lyn* was in a relationship for 4 years. Then she received an offer from a Dutch university and suddenly, she and her love would had been more than 700 km apart. They rather broke up and stopped calling (and writing to) each other. Once she arrived here, she fell head over heels in love with another guy, Adrian*. They hit it off right away. In three weeks Lyn woke up to reality she didn´t really enjoy: Her “sweetheart” was not only leading a rather incompatible life with hers, but did not see any merit in concepts such as “secrets” or “faithfulness”. To cut a long story short, she broke up with him and ended up at the school psychologist´s office. Two weeks ago she told me she was dropping out of the programme and going back home. And don´t get me started on the venereal disease she contracted…
Story number two: My former debate team-mate and a great friend of mine, Martin*, has been in (happy) a long-distance relationship (the same one) for more than three years now. Despite there being 12 timezones separating him and his girlfriend Elisabeth*, this couple manages to keep their relationship alive and enjoy every second of it. Both excel at what they study and are on their way to pursue a Master. This time, however, in the same city.
At the end of the day, I believe it is trust that counts: Without it, you are never going to make it. But if you really love each other and the relationship is based on more than just sex, than no distance is a true obstacle. You can have your love grow like a flower (or a banana..or bigotry? – video 2:03) or cut off any connection and pray for Time to heal your wounds…
PS: Edited by my boyfriend. Via e-mail.
* Names were changed.