The sacrifices of distance

Learning how to have a successful relationship from afar

In our culture today, we are told that commitment isn’t necessary for happiness in a relationship. We are encouraged by our peers to do one of two things: to date as many people as we can to determine our “type,” or to remain single and embrace having less responsibility for as long as we can make it last.

It isn’t common to find lasting and loyal relationships among college students, but there are other types of relationships that occur while attending a university.  College is ultimately known as a time for hooking up, and cheap, meaningless dates. I have plenty of friends who have racked up a list of people that they’ve been with and never spoke to again afterwards.

But hey, maybe that’s what you’re looking for. I, for one, am not.

A rather uncommon type is a long distance relationship. The main reason for this, in my opinion, is that at our age, we don’t understand how to make a long distance relationship work. Our culture tells us that a relationship can function based solely on sex and money, and that doesn’t pair well with a significant other who is hours away.

I have been in a long distance relationship for two and a half years now. To be completely honest, it is really hard. But please don’t misunderstand. That isn’t meant to deter you from trying out a long distance relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Although it has its difficulties, it is completely worth it and I’m grateful for the experience.

I have had the privilege of being exposed to a relationship in its most raw form. No, I cannot spend quality, face-to-face time with my boyfriend whenever my heart desires, or get a kiss at night before I head home. We can’t go out on dates or spoil each other with small gifts or Taco Bell at 2 a.m. Netflix and chill quite frankly isn’t an option for us.

You want to know how we’ve made it work? We talk. We sacrifice and we love from afar.

To be able to stick with someone for that long and at a distance takes a lot of effort from both of you. I have to remind myself that somewhere six hours away is someone who cares for me as deeply as I do for him. I have to remember that even though I am exhausted after a long day of school and work, that I haven’t given any attention to him. You answer phone calls when you are too tired to think because you just want to hear their voice, you send messages as you are running late to your class and you FaceTime with them when you simply need to see their smile.

While having to stay motivated to talk with them, you have to be willing to sacrifice. Selflessness is absolutely the key to a relationship that spans many miles. Am I perfect at it? Hell no. Ask my boyfriend; I can be selfish a lot. But so can he. If your goal is to please yourself and you can’t recognize that you have to go above and beyond for the other person, then this isn’t for you.

We have sacrificed by taking time off at work, not going to parties and not hanging out with our friends because we needed to see each other.

We have sacrificed money on the gas that it takes for us to drive to each other.

When things get rough or seem too hard, we drop everything to try and fix the problem, whether that means staying up all night to talk through it or rearranging weekend plans so that we can meet up and try to work it out. If we can’t come to an agreement, then yes, we take breaks. But because we have something much more real than cheap love, I am not so insecure to think that we will move on quickly and forget about each other.

At this point in our relationship, those sacrifices don’t bug me anymore. They aren’t chores and they certainly don’t make me upset to have to make because I understand what I get from them.

Maybe none of this appeals to you still. But let me tell you the best parts.

When I see his car pull up to my house, I run to him; literally, I sprint. That first hug feels better than almost anything else in the world.

I see him once a month, sometimes more or less and I am not going to waste that on a petty argument, so guess what? We don’t fight. We don’t get annoyed with each other’s company. And I truly mean that; I’ve never gotten sick of his presence.

We go on dates, for walks or just lay around all day talking and laughing. We finally get to hug and kiss each other, and yes, we also get to Netflix and chill.


Regardless of what our peers tell us that we should be doing with our personal lives, we are happy.

I am happy that he cares enough to take on the task of long distance with me. I’m flattered that he saw enough good in me to decide that I was worth his effort, time and money. But mostly I am so in love with him and all that he does for me despite the struggles that we face.

Often, as young adults, we are told that such a serious relationship at this age isn’t healthy. As if it’s the kiss of death to devote that much time to one single person. But a long distance relationship doesn’t tie me down and it isn’t the end of my freedom. I trust him with my life and with my heart. All that we have sacrificed in order to be together shows me that I understand what it takes to be with someone who is six hours away from me.

You could offer me the best that Ferris State has to offer, right here in our city, but I assure you that for all that it is worth, through good times and bad, I will choose the one that I already have.

So I encourage you to step out and try something new. If you are struggling with the idea of long distance, please understand what you are getting into. Yes, it is hard, and there will be nights that you think you can’t do it anymore. But you are getting something so much more special than the rest of your college friends. You get to see and experience the value of a true relationship.