Long distance relationships

Surviving A Long-Distance Relationship | Darling Magazine

Four years. That’s how long I was in a long-distance relationship with my now-husband, Spencer. Four whole years.

Throughout these years, I studied history in Boston while he studied engineering in Colorado. I spent my weekends at museums and at the beach, while he glided down mountains on his snowboard. We were interested in very different things, had completely different friends, and went months without seeing each other. How did we survive?

No matter how many people said that our relationship was destined to fail, it only became stronger with every passing year. Though my friends and family encouraged me to date other people and fully immerse myself in my life in Boston, I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else. A long distance relationship, despite the growing pains and nights of crying to my roommates, was the best thing that could have ever happened to us.

If you’re in this position right now, don’t lose hope. Here’s a few thoughts on how and why we made it work:

Our Independence Refined Us
As two very independent people, we were able to grow and develop our individual characters organically. Since we didn’t spend every waking hour together, as many college couples do, we had the advantages of singlehood to make new friends, travel to new places, and take time-intensive jobs. We knew it wouldn’t always be that way, so we took full advantage of it.

The Struggle Made Us Stronger
The challenges grew us in ways we never would have known had we lived in the same town. We had to fight for our relationship every single day, and because of that, we became intensely loyal to one another. Infidelity was out of the question. This was probably one of my greatest fears about going long-distance because we were constantly surrounded by really great people who, in all honesty, would have made great boyfriends/girlfriends. Whenever we considered this, though, no one ever measured up to what we already had. Our relationship had been built upon values we wouldn’t abandon: trust, loyalty, honesty, and respect. These values were so important to each of us that they led us to make a conscious choice, every single day, to invest in our relationship.

Communication—Our Greatest Weapon
When you’re in a long distance relationship, it is easy to let all of your most refined and developed communication skills fall to the wayside. Out of sight, out mind, right? Probably one of the major reasons why we succeeded was that we didn’t fall victim to this. We recognized the value in being able to communicate our feelings, our dreams and fears, and our day-to-day happenings in the best possible way, and committed ourselves to mastering this wholeheartedly.

We learned the in’s and out’s of our communication styles by trial and error. He isn’t as much of a talker, and I seem to have an endless amount of words. It took a long time to figure out what worked best for us, but I wouldn’t trade those growing pains for anything. Our marriage rests on a foundation of communication, and we are stronger today because of those years we spent experimenting and learning more about one another.

If you’re presented with a relationship that may become long distance, I’d challenge you to reflect on your character before calling it quits. Are you independent? Are you willing to commit? Will you face the challenges head on? One should never cower away from love because of fear. You might just lose the greatest treasure you’ll ever know.

Image via Oh Pioneer!



  1. Thank you for your article. Im actually in the middle of a heartbreak due to my LDR. Me and my boyfriend have been LD since day 1. We finally decided we would make the move together at the end of the month and he found out he was deploying for a year. I already knew he was going to be leaving for 8 months but we were hoping that we could live finally together for 3 months before he left. We’ve been together for 2 1/2 years and Im hitting on a wall if I could continue another full year without me with little contact. Your article really touched me and I don’t want to give up. I feel so confused at times but to see that you made it, makes my heart smile.

  2. I need some advice me and my boyfriend are in a long distance relationship, were are at two different colleges, one in Michigan and the other in Virginia. This is our first time being so far away from each other and we are having trouble communicating and i don’t know what to do, Its hard to work around each others schedules. I’m not ready to give up yet.

  3. This post is so perfect. Hitting a bit of a rocky patch after 3 years of LD and we have at least another year to go, and this has just summed up all of it. So inspiring to read your story x

  4. I’m currently in a long distance relationship with my fiancé. He is in Egypt and I’m in Michigan, USA. Everyday that we spend apart has been torture on my heart. It is without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We communicate every single day and believe me when I say the trust and love is there. His words are really what keep me going through this. This article was refreshing and great to read. I can’t wait to one day say that me and my husband survived a long distance relationship!

  5. I’m 19 and my boyfriend is living in a different country at the moment (for a year) the last couple of months have been hard since I’ve only saw him at Christmas, hearing your story has put a big smile on my face because I know he is the one for me and knowing there are couples out there like you makes me so positive!

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  7. This has to be by far one of the most straightforward and honest articles that I have read about long distance relationships. One thing that I really liked was that she touched on the subject of infidelity and how they overcame it. I would love to read about this experience from Spencer’s point of view as well. I’m sure it echoes what Anne wrote, but it’s always good to hear something like this from both sides. Great article!

  8. Completely agree! No one has ever summed it up so well! My now husband and I, also very independent, did long distance at separate colleges 3 states apart and although it completely sucked sometimes, it was invaluable time that allowed us to grow – having our own experiences and friendships outside of each other. Looking back, I can see all the ways that prepared us for life together – its just as easy to grow apart when you’re together if you don’t make the effort to stay connected. I saw friends in similar situations spend every day moping that they were apart, or sitting around waiting for scheduled phone calls and missing out on everything else. I wouldn’t recommend long distance exactly, but I would say if you find yourself there, don’t waste the growing opportunity!

  9. Yes yes! So true. Long distance was the best thing that ever happened to my husband and I! We learned to really connect emotionally through rich conversation–constantly learning lessons in communication. Plus the time we did have together was so so sweet (and somewhat magical because it was Savannah!). We only lived in the same place for a summer halfway into the relationship. I guess you really do just know when you know.

  10. Your words speak to me as I too survived a long distance relationship! My husband and I met and dated for a mere six weeks before he had to return to Ireland, we both had one more year of college. It was certainly a very challenging time, spending three years apart but as you say, completely worth it because he is my treasure. So glad you two were able to work through the though times and come out a stronger couple. Thanks for sharing and hopefully providing inspiration for others who might be struggling. Best wishes for many years of happiness!

  11. My fiancee and I were long distance for 18 months, and I agree completely about the importance of communication. Another thing that helped us is that we already knew that, as a couple, we had the goal of marriage before us. That gave us something to work toward. It also fostered trust between us which, for the nature of our relationship, was absolutely essential.

    For all the other long distance lovers, good luck! And try your hardest to discuss serious issues on the phone/over Skype. Texts and email leave a lot of room for interpretation, and it’s better if you can add your voice inflections and attitude to the conversations that matter.

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