Being in a long term relationship poses its fair share of challenges, and distance is one of the biggest obstacles many couples will face together. The longer you’ve been together, the more natural it seems that you follow one another. If one person is going on vacation, it only makes sense that the other is coming along. They’re your permanent plus-one, sidekick and best friend. Going anywhere without them seems illogical. But it might be exactly what you need.
Distance, believe it or not, is healthy for relationships. Many couples in long-distance relationships believe that their time apart makes them stronger, and indeed, your communication and commitment must be at the forefront of every interaction if you want things to work living in different states or even countries.
Being in a relationship is about cultivating something special out of two unique human experiences; if you only exist within your relationship, what can you bring into it? The following five reasons will help you embrace independence, deal with distance and understand how time apart can strengthen your long term relationship.
1. Independence Makes Your Relationship Stronger
People who don’t have a social life, interests or hobbies outside of their relationship tend to become emotionally dependent on their partners. This quickly becomes exhausting, and you’re much more likely to fight and find yourselves caught up in petty arguments simply because you require far more out of one another than anyone can actually give.
Your sense of happiness, purpose, and excitement in life have to come from more than your significant other. Traveling on your own, cultivating friendships and pursuing separate hobbies will give you and your partner opportunities to become the best versions of yourselves outside of one another.
2. You Learn to Trust More
Distance shouldn’t be the only reason you or your partner are loyal. If you or your partner are the jealous types, it’s important to set healthy boundaries and understand that trust is the foundation of any successful long term relationship.
Whether you’re simply traveling abroad solo or entering a long-distance relationship, you need to know that physical distance won’t make someone more or less likely to cheat. That’s about their character. If spending time apart makes you or your partner question the other’s loyalty, then there are bigger problems that need to be discussed.
3. You’ll Learn What Needs Work
Sometimes, it’s hard to see the full picture when you’re caught up in the day-to-day. Time and space can really put things into perspective, and you might realize some things about your relationship that need to be addressed.
Don’t feel bad if you realize that you or your partner have problems to discuss; these are opportunities to learn how to communicate with one another and become closer as a result.
4. You Appreciate New Things About Your Partner
Many couples rush into physical intimacy as a means of establishing a closer emotional tie, but that’s not an option when you’re in a long-distance relationship or spending time apart. This is not a bad thing; instead, you get to learn about new things you love about your significant other. Maybe it’s the sound of their voice over the phone or the emojis they always use.
Be open to finding new ways to express your love and affection toward one another.
5. You Become More Expressive
For those who struggle to talk about their feelings, the distance will make it more or less mandatory. There’s no way to sugarcoat things, be passive-aggressive or wait until heated emotions fizzle out, unresolved. All you can do is send messages or talk on the phone, which forces you to put your thoughts and feelings into words.
The good news is that you get some time to really think about what you want to say, which helps you understand yourself and your own emotional experiences more deeply and authentically.