Let’s be honest: long-distance dating can be such a bummer.
I can’t imagine anyone in a long-distance relationship waking up in the morning and declaring, “I’m so pumped the love of my life is so far away right now!”
(And if you do, I would highly suggest calling it quits immediately.)
When you play your cards right with the relationship gods, you’re rewarded with someone special, and it’s fantastic.
Except, of course, when you’re required to live painfully far away from each other.
It becomes even more tiresome when your friends accuse your relationship of being “imaginary,” since there's usually very little physical evidence to back up your partner's actual existence.
Or, maybe, your friends are just a bunch of smartasses (like mine). Either way, long-distance dating can really screw with your emotions.
How did the long-distance lovers of previous generations maintain any sanity without all of today’s technology-based communication? Seriously, no cell phones? No social media? No Skype?
As someone currently in a long-distance relationship, I get severe indigestion just thinking about it. There are a lot of helpful methods in place today to keep your far-away love thriving.
As a matter of fact, plenty of couples have successfully solved their long-distance dating equations, leading to some remarkably strong relationships.
The countdown leading up to your next visit with your partner is the main motivation that keeps you going, which, I might add, shows a superior level of patience.
Falling in love with someone way outside your zip code takes a ton of commitment, communication and love.
Because of this, the two of you ironically end up feeling exceptionally close, sometimes even more so than couples in "normal" relationships.
That said, long-distance dating is never easy.
Whether your partner lives three hours away, three states away or travels overseas for extended periods of time, there is a continuous cloud of anxiety that never seems to dissipate.
To those who've never taken the long-distance leap, the idea of being fully committed to someone you don’t see very often just sounds crazy (which is probably why it makes you crazy).
If you’re feeling the pressure from being in a long-distance relationship, the truth is, you’ve probably been forced to embrace your inner crazy person at one point or another.
It’s okay; you’re definitely not alone.
Sure, you love your partner with everything you have and would give up your right arm to make the relationship work.
For the most part, you’re flying high on cloud nine; you’ve found the most perfect human on the planet and no amount of time or distance apart will convince you otherwise.
Nevertheless, you’re only human. You’re guaranteed times when you break down into an irrational, anxiety-ridden shell of your former self, and it’s not cute.
The silver lining? When your sanity decides to go skydiving without a parachute, the signs are pretty blatant, giving you the cue that it's time get yourself in check.
Inevitably, this is what may happen:
1. Your Rational Thinking Goes MIA.
Yep, your logical mind is now in a serious, committed relationship with that douchebag known as “worst-case scenario,” and it’s toxic as hell.
Where is that phone call I was supposed to receive an hour ago? What about that text? Why haven’t I gotten an email? Are we even still dating? Did he die?!
Your brain's newfound coping mechanism is to go straight into panic mode and conjure up the most ridiculous scenarios to explain the lack of communication.
Although totally involuntary, it's actually pretty obnoxious when you allow yourself to replace any sort of rational thought process with the “what if” game.
By that point, however, you’re already beating down the door into crazy town and there’s no turning back.
You force yourself into believing all types of absurd scenarios, simply because you've bundled up all your worry into a giant ball of delusional thinking.
*Cue tears and emotional eating.*
You work yourself up so much that you feel your only shot at mental composure is some Valium. Still, you’d probably just end up the zombified version of an overdramatic lunatic.
Aha, but then, a phone call! What were you so worried about anyway? (Oh, right, everything.)
How to keep this check: You love your partner more than anything and naturally, you’re going to worry. But first, just take a deep breath.
Try an embarrassing little exercise a close friend of mine created while my boyfriend was overseas. Write down a tally mark for every time you let your mind go crazy. Seeing them add up on paper will snap you back into reality super quickly.
(However, it may lead you to legitimately question your sanity.)
2. All Social Media Activity Becomes The Stuff Of Nightmares.
Oh hell no, he did not just like that girl’s selfie on Facebook. Yeah, he did, and you’re 600 miles away, feeling totally helpless.
Damn you, social media.
As if you’re not already feeling a little insecure from all your time away from each other, your partner appears to be taking an interest in everyone else’s business online instead of your very important relationship (according to your delusional brain).
When the two of you are apart for so long, it’s perfectly reasonable to use social media as a way to “check in.”
Unfortunately, when you mistakenly use it to gauge the level of debauchery your partner is getting into while you’re not around, it becomes an issue.
When you’re doing the whole long-distance thing, you want to believe your partner’s only activities include eating, sleeping and missing you.
Obviously, this isn’t the case and from time to time, your partner's innocent posts online spark an unfounded case of paranoia.
Against your better judgment, you analyze your partner’s trail of social media activity the way an investigator traces evidence back to a crime scene.
You scroll through Facebook, nervously chewing your bottom lip like a dog ripping apart rawhide. (How attractive!) Not only is this useless and time-consuming, but it’s also the behavior of a jilted ex-lover, which you are not.
How to keep this in check: Look, we’ve all done this before (just own it). The best alternative is to realize your partner's Facebook motives don’t stem from being sketchy, but rather stem from being bored.
What else are they supposed to do without you around?
Also, you totally trust your partner, right? So cut that sh*t out.
3. You Read Between The Lines For No Reason.
“I miss you so much! Call me later if you can?” “K.”
“K?” What the hell does that mean? Does he even want to talk later? Why is there no sense of agony from missing me?!
Reading way too much into simple conversations with your long-distance lover will drive you completely off the deep end.
The problem is, trying to convey any significant meaning through text, email or social media messaging is totally pointless.
Any intended emotion behind an online message often becomes wrongly construed, which, unsurprisingly, leads to miscommunication and arguing.
How to keep this in check: I’ve learned the hard way that if you feel the need to discuss a serious topic with your long-distance partner, do not do it over the Internet.
All it does is lead to an even bigger argument, and fighting from a distance is completely awful. (Literally, it's the worst).
Odds are, whatever you need to get off your chest can wait until you’re face-to-face or on the phone.
More importantly, take any online comments at face value. If you’re seriously concerned with the meaning behind one of your partner’s messages, say it! Honesty really is the best policy, people.
Throwing a fit solves nothing, and your long-distance relationship is seriously doomed if you possess the communication skills of a toddler (just sayin’).
Lastly, having one of your sensible best friends around to shamelessly point out every time you're acting like a lunatic works pretty well, too.
There’s no doubt about it: Long-distance dating can be pretty damn tough. You’ll have moments when you’re being completely unreasonable, and so will your partner.
The true test is determining whether or not the two of you are able to work through these challenges and learn from them moving forward.
I’m happy to report, it will get easier.
The best part?
When you realize your long-distance partner is the one you want to spend forever with, all the stress from being apart becomes temporary, and every second that passes is one second closer to finally starting your life together.
And that makes you a little less crazy.