Having been in a long-distance relationship for about two years, I can attest to the fact that
missing your partner sucks. It doesn't matter if you're 1,000 miles apart or just live across town from each other. You can turn attention to other people, or pour yourself into work, school, or your hobbies. You can close the gap with phone calls, texts, sexts, and FaceTime sessions. But it's still not the same as having your boo by your side.
Often, folks who haven't had to be apart from their partner for long stretches of time don't realize just how physical a romantic relationship can be — and that's not just sexual part. Yes, it's the cuddling and the hand-holding. But it's also the warm hugs to reward you at the end of a long work week. It's kind scalp massages when you have a headache. It's someone to tangle your legs with as you read on the couch and someone to gently help you wash up in the shower.
Here are eight women and non-binary folks on what it feels like to miss a partner — sometimes sweet, sometimes agonizing, and always a reminder how deep their love for their partner runs.
Obviously, missing my boyfriend isn't fun — it genuinely makes me feel a little bummed, sad, and lonely — but there's a silver lining: It's a warm, fuzzy reminder that my feelings for him are deep. In other words, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
— Hannah, 26
My partner and I were long-distance for a period of time and that was honestly the hardest thing in the world. When someone is such an important part of your life and goals and future, there’s such a sense of emptiness when they’re not physically there. I felt a sense of loneliness that no phone call or FaceTime chat could completely fix. We’re both non-binary and while we were long-distance, we both lived in pretty conservative areas: me in Holland, Michigan and Mason, Ohio and my partner in Central Square, NY. It’s a lot harder to feel like your identities are valid as a queer person when your partner isn’t there standing by you.
— Mar, 23
I was in an LDR for 10 months and while I missed my partner very much, it’s true that distance makes the heart grow fonder — not to be cheesy! I also felt grateful, in a way, that I had someone that I was missing whom I loved so much.
— Lauren, 21
This is something that has gotten easier with time, but when I first started dating my partner, we would do long-distance for a month at a time. It would feel like my entire body was physically aching. I would cry all the time and have no clue what I was even crying about. I’d wear his sweater because it smelled like him and reread old messages he’d sent me — the whole nine yards. I became a total cliché, but I didn’t care. The flip side: Every time we were reunited I was so happy I felt like my white blood cells were going to explode! This is something, IMO, the rom-coms and romance novels and fairytales get right.
— Iman, 24
When my boyfriend and I were long-distance, I slept holding a pillow because I missed him in bed with me. I also wore his shirts so I could smell him. It's so real when you can't touch your partner!
— Chelsea, 22
Missing her is — at once — both a sorrowful, morose experience and a joyful reminder that you have someone so wonderful in your life. It is a feeling that is hollow and empty, yet full and warm... Oxytocin, serotonin, and more literally change my brain, sending a warm happy feeling through me. This I understand. What remains mysterious to me, though, is how when miles apart, even the slightest thought of that joke she laughed at can trigger the same chemical response. Magic.
— Chris, 25
Missing my wife, feels like being stuck in time. There's just so much time. And it's moving so slowly. I might have so much to do and should [probably] take advantage of not having any distractions. But I procrastinate, because I'm less productive and less of a 'doer' without her. Missing my wife is like having something stuck in my shoe. I can still walk, but I'm not as comfortable as I could be.
— Leah, 38
Being in a long-distance relationship means missing my SO is a part of our relationship. You don’t realize you can physically ache from not having them in your presence, at first. You assume it’s bad food, a hangover, PMS even. It’s not. It’s that you love this person so much, that they left a physical imprint in your life that can only be filled by their presence. Sometimes missing [my partner] makes our relationship stronger. We journal about our lives and give each other recaps of our days. If we were together all the time, I think we’d take these details for granted.
— Stephanie, 21
While missing your partner may really bring you down, it's important to hold onto the things that make you miss them. It's what can pull you through the hard times and what makes closing that distance feel so much sweeter.