Apr 18th, 2017, 02:55 PM

Are Long Distance Relationships Worth it?

By Savannah Hunter
Image credit: Sava
"Paradoxically, being apart brought us even closer to each other—through all the challenges we learned more about ourselves and about each other."

It is truly difficult to decide if a long-distance relationship is worth the effort. Many are is quick to say, "It's best to just end it. You'll meet someone over there." Which is true, yes, but it would not be the same relationship. They won't be the person I put months or even years into; but when you are young, people think it is ridiculous to waste your time on a long distance relationship. 

I met Alex in February of 2015, towards the end of my junior year of high school. We didn't start dating until June of the following year. He had been my first date to homecoming and prom, waited patiently for me to return from trips to Paris and Iceland, and met my entire family. On our one year anniversary, I had been in China for a school trip. I had no access to social media and limited access to texting. It felt like the first real test of long distance and it made us wonder: could we handle four years of this?

Thankfully, we took it as a challenge and wanted to prove that we could in fact last long distance. We've missed birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries, but it feels as if we've been together for it all. He sends me care packages, stays on FaceTime even if I fall asleep. Nearly ten months out of our two-year relationship has been long-distance, and I would not change it for anything. I do wish he was here, as would anyone—but many others have made the same decision and would never look back.

Image Credit: Tatum Van Dam

Name: Tatum Van Dam

Partner: Lucas

Distance: Paris, France to California, USA

Ages: 19 and 20

"When I initially met Lucas, I already knew he was someone who was worth it. Unfortunately, the timing sucked. After hanging out with him for only the second time, I moved to Paris. We continued to keep in contact, I came back for winter break, we clicked well, and then he decided he was going to visit me [here]. We talked about how Iceland was both of our dream destinations, and I came up with a crazy idea that after his week in Paris: we go to Iceland. To phrase this in the simplest way, those two weeks were perfect ... walking around Reykjavik, my mom texted me asking if we were a couple … with an extensive amount of question marks. I looked at Lucas, and he said, 'tell her yes.'

"With the help of FaceTime, texting, and knowing I will be back in California in less than a month, we figured we could do it. When I say we began dating recently, I mean really really recently … we have literally been dating for a week. But it honestly feels like nothing has changed—it doesn’t even feel like we are countries apart because of how much we talk. Personally, I believe that the key to having a long distance relationship, or friendship ... is optimism. A positive attitude leads to a positive outcome."

Image Credit: Keti Archaia

Name: Keti Archaia

Partner: Giorgi

Distance: Paris, France to Georgia

Ages: Both 21

"My boyfriend and I have known each other since the first grade. Our relationship as a couple has been developing since then, but we began an actual adult relationship in high school. Since then, we haven't separated. When it came to the choice of careers, we both had dreams independent of the others'. I wanted to study politics abroad, whereas he always wanted to study medicine ... in our home country; it takes less time and funding than anywhere else. We knew that we could not achieve these dreams together, but we also knew none of this would matter if we did not have each other. Yet, we decided to take the challenge of being apart physically and fulfill our individual aspirations while supporting each other from a distance. All in all, I came to Paris three years ago and since then I have been in a long distance relationship.

"Has it been hard? Of course, it has! Being apart from the people you love is never easy. We had to adjust to not seeing each other for months ... not being together when we needed each other most. The first year was especially difficult, but we did not give up on each other. We learned how to make things work and gradually, it got easier. Paradoxically, being apart brought us even closer to each other—through all the challenges, we learned more about ourselves and about each other. We became best friends. We text and talk non-stop, we use every break to visit one another, we share our successes and failures and always support each other. When we finally reunite, it is the best feeling. We appreciate every moment of it. No relationship is easy or perfect. There will always be some challenges, but if the person truly means something to you, whether that person is your partner, friend, or parent, you have to work to fix things. This work should be the one that you do with joy. Being in a long distance relationship has changed us individually and as a couple in many ways; good ways. We are extremely happy to have gone through all of this. Now, we feel more confident about us and cannot wait to begin the next chapter of our lives: being together anytime we want."

Image Credit: Annie Adragna

Name: Annie Adragna

Partner: Max

Distance: Michigan, USA and France to Russia

Ages: 19 and 25

"Max and I met in August 2015. It's not a cute story, really. We met online when he messaged me first; that's a nice element. Since we met while he was in Russia and I was still in the States, we had no chance to meet. We went from talking and flirting a little bit on Kik, Snapchat, and Skype to talking nearly every day. Finally, one day, I realized I was in love with him. December 2016 he said the first 'I love you.' He confessed that he had felt that way for six months. We both had been holding back because of the distance, but eventually realized it would be worse to keep our feelings bottled up. The hardest part of our relationship is the situation between our home countries ... and I don't know if you can truly call it a relationship. We still haven't met, due to Russian visas and his work schedule. We decided to be monogamous but keep our options open. I wish it was different but for now, it allows me to dream and plan for when we finally meet. It helps ease the stress of him being so far away."

Image Credit: Sabrina Aguirre

Name: Sabrina Aguirre

Partner: Leon

Distance: Florida, USA and France to Austria

Ages: Both 19

"In 2015, I went to live in Vienna, Austria for a while and joined a volunteer group. Shortly after joining, the refugee crisis had begun to heighten and a lot of refugees were traveling through Vienna to enter Germany. The group began starting [to work] at the stations to help out. We met when he joined specifically to get involved with refugees. We were dating for approximately six months before I decided to return to Miami. He visited me in the summer three months later. However, since September, we have visited each other about every 2-3 weeks. We always have another ticket booked before the person leaves again. That way, even when we fight, we have to see one another. So if we don't make up, we're kind of screwed.

"How do I make it work? I literally tell him everything. I find that the small things are actually the most important things. If I buy something, I tell him. If I can't find my earring, I tell him. Even if I brush my teeth, I tell him. It seems slightly obsessive, but it actually works and became an on-going joke for us. Just a five-minute Skype conversation with him makes me laugh harder and smile bigger than anyone else can. He's the funniest, most intelligent and patient person I know. Whether we would stop being with each other because of the distance was never even a question."