The world has never been kind to a long-distance relationship. While life never tires of throwing lemons your way with the utmost unpredictability, you never see pop culture deliver a fairytale romance that gives the hardest kind of relationship its due credit. On the contrary, it’s dismissed as a facade for underlying, superficial intentions. On an episode of How I Met Your Mother, protagonist Ted Mosby sums it up by saying, “Long distance is just a lie teenagers tell each other to get laid the summer before college.” Even in these fictional tales, if the love story somehow results in a happy ending, there are elements of infidelity that often come into play. However, as someone who’s been in a six-year long-distance relationship that culminated in marriage, I’m here to tell you that it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty great.
My husband and I met like most other couples, at a common friend’s party in 2017. He works in the merchant navy and is usually away at sea for six months at a time. We began dating within six months of meeting one other and got married earlier this year. Since he proposed to me in 2019, people who learn about my relationship usually react with a sympathetic head tilt and ask the same three questions. So, I’m answering them once and for all in the hope that someone might find respite in my story, especially in times when dating apps are wreaking havoc on romance.
To be honest, I’m kind of tired of the pessimism that comes hand-in-hand with the concept of long-distance relationships. Let’s begin with the premise that in order for your relationship to work, your partner and you should bring each other great joy, satisfy each other mentally and physically, and have no issues that cannot be solved with loving words. Like in any relationship, the red flags should be limited to the kind that you can tolerate because, let’s be real, nobody’s perfect and you too come with your own baggage.
The first argument against long-distance relationships is usually: How do you keep your sights locked onto just one person that you don’t see very often? This question always baffles me, because what’s the guarantee that your devotion towards one another won’t waiver even if you live in the same town as your partner? People cheat on one another despite living under the same roof, and the answer really boils down to the nature of your relationship and how much loyalty means to your partner and you. For my husband and me, in the first month of meeting one another and confessing our feelings, we placed loyalty significantly high on the list of things that had to be a part of our relationship for it to work. We went in with the mindset that we saw something long-term with one another. And since then, a third person has never entered the picture. We were both so confident in our connection that there was never a question of our sights yo-yo-ing, but we also shut down any advances made by a third party at the first instance. That’s not to say that monogamy should be the way for everybody—all I’m trying to say is that your partner and you need to be on the same page with clear priorities.