The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives. We hope you can use their post to start a conversation with your adolescent.
So I’ve never written on here before, but I thought it would be a good idea to talk about a subject I’m well-versed in: long-distance relationships. With everything going on these days, many people are forced to experience long-distance unexpectedly. I, however, have been doing this for many months now, both normal long-distance and more recently, military long-distance ever since my girlfriend started boot camp. I’m here to share my top tips for what has worked in my relationship.
This is absolutely key to any relationship. However, starting long-distance is not something small and it shouldn’t be assumed that both partners will onboard. My girlfriend and I had many “August conversations,” as we called them, where we discussed all our options before I left for college: staying together, taking a break, breaking up, etc. We wanted to make sure we were both committed to the same goal before being miles away from each other. This really helped put into perspective our expectations for one another and the sacrifices that we would be making.
It is easy to get wrapped in your life, especially when your partner isn’t there to make plans with, but prioritizing the relationship is significant in keeping it alive. Carving out specific times to call or sacrificing missing an event to visit each other may be what it takes to get through this patch of distance.
We’re lucky to have so much technology at our disposal, but your phone does not have to be the only channel your relationship operates through. Along with calling, video-chatting and Netflix Party-ing (highly recommend), you can also send each other letters, or care packages, and keep something special from the other person with you. Don’t be afraid to try something new out to see what works for your relationship? For example, if my Marine has a big assessment coming up, I can send her a $5 Starbucks e-gift card since I can’t physically buy her Starbucks myself.
Talk about the endgame, any doubts you have, and everything in-between
Okay yes, this is very similar to the first point, but this is more about the discussions that happen once you have already decided to become long-distance. If you’re worried, tell the other person. Every little hurdle will make you two stronger in the end (if this is true, my girlfriend and I must be Superwoman and Wonder Woman). I also think a big motivator for doing long-distance is thinking about what comes after it’s over. For example, I’m going to get my degree and she’s going to finish with her military term in about four years, but that doesn’t stop us from arguing about what kind of toaster we’re going to have in our potential apartment in Atlanta in 2024.
The foundation. Allow yourself to trust your partner and remember it goes both ways. This goes for anything. You will get hurt, more than anyone else, if you don’t trust them and don’t have open communication. I can say with total confidence, there isn’t anyone I would make these sacrifices for besides the person I love more than anything.
Here are some other links for more information:
Has your child ever been in a long distance relationship? If you have, what has worked for them? Have you talked to them about being separated from their relationships, whether these relationships are romantic or not? How has this affected them?