When I graduated from college, I knew that I’d not only be starting a new career, but I’d also be entering a new chapter of my relationship. When post-college plans brought me to a client services position in New York City and took my boyfriend of more than three years to a software development job in Boston, we entered into a long-distance relationship, confident that distance would have nothing on us.
While we were sure our relationship would last, we weren’t particularly excited to be living far away from one another. I knew I would miss the quick, five-minute walk to his apartment. I would miss cooking dinner together, getting a hug from him during a stressful time, and going on last-minute adventures together. While it’s hard to be geographically far from my boyfriend every day, we’ve found that there’s a silver lining to our long-distance relationship. Being away from each other has allowed us both to grow individually while strengthening our relationship in ways that we had never expected:
1. Being apart has encouraged us to foster our individuality
Ever since my boyfriend and I moved away from one another, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to build up our individual social lives with friendships, hobbies, and activities that offer us company and support. Since we aren’t always there for one another (at least, not in-person), we know it’s important to fill our days with people and activities that bring us joy.
Since moving to New York, I’ve used my extra free time to start a blog and a podcast. I’ve gotten together with many of my friends who live nearby. I joined a church, so I have a support system made up of people who share my beliefs, and I’m currently seeking out places where I can volunteer to mentor high school students.
While I’m becoming more and more involved in my community, my boyfriend has also involved himself in Boston. He’s gone out of his way to meet up with old friends as well as nurture new friendships. He’s joined the Freemasons and found a strong and supportive community at their events. While we miss each other a lot, we’re happy how being long-distance has fostered our individuality and reassured us that we can be independent people while also being in a relationship.
2. We have learned new and creative ways to communicate
My boyfriend and I are excellent at openly communicating with one another. However, busy work schedules and poor Wi-Fi connections haven’t always made it easy to talk. Therefore, being long-distance has encouraged us to communicate in new and creative ways. For example, we created a shared playlist on Spotify, and we add songs to it when we think of each other. It’s always exciting to find a new song in the playlist when I’m on my walk to work. It reminds me that he’s always thinking of me even when we’re not together.
The two of us also have a journal called “642 Things About You (That I Love)” that we fill out when we’re apart and trade off to one another when we’re together. The book is full of things that we love about each other that are as silly as how he randomly breaks out into dance moves and are as serious as how I’ve taken care of him when he has been sick. The book has been a great way to express my love for him and remind us of fun times together even when he’s not by my side. When it’s my turn to fill out certain pages, I read through what he’s written about me as a way to feel close to him in that moment.
3. We don’t waste a second when we’re together
When my boyfriend and I are in the same city, it feels like such a special occasion that we fill our days with fun activities as a way of valuing every second of our time together. On one occasion when he visited me in NYC, we brunched at a cozy cafe, went to a concert, ate dinner in the park, and got dessert at one of our favorite bakeries. We packed our day full of fun activities to share with one another. When I visit him in Boston, he usually plans out a special dinner for the two of us at a surprise location that he knows we’ll love.
Being apart has made us experts at cramming a month’s worth of fun into one weekend together. It’s also given us the opportunity to cherish our time together more than ever and reinforce the joy that we share in our relationship.
While being in a long-distance relationship can be hard, I try to remind myself that there is a silver lining. Not only are my boyfriend and I proud and supportive of one another as we pursue our dreams in different cities, but being apart from each other has also made our relationship stronger. If our relationship can withstand being hundreds of miles apart, we know that we can face anything that life throws at us.