PRO: Long distance relationships are worth it
By Gabe Quintela
In August, my girlfriend of a year and a half went to college. Dating a girl a year older than me, I had understood from the start that this day would come. Yet the issue rested in the distance, as Sarah (my girlfriend) was attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a rough 3,000 miles away from my hometown of Mountain View, California.
In the short days before Sarah left home, I spent a lot of time thinking about how things would change, but these thoughts were often met with desperation and I quickly pushed them aside. I wanted to sweep the idea of the change in our relationship under the carpet, hoping that for some inexplicable reason I would never have to confront them. “We’ll figure it out,” we kept telling each other. Yet I learned that you can only avoid reality for so long before it comes thundering back into your life, forcing confrontation with the very sentiments you fought so hard to forget.
My state of despair in the days leading up to Sarah’s departure is one few people would question. We have been trained, through Hollywood movies and breakup songs, that being separated from your significant other, whomever that may be, is an ultimately negative experience, one that should be dreaded. And surely, I dreaded that day.
Because of everything I had been told to believe, in my mind, dating someone across the country was impossible. But even more impossible for me was letting go of a relationship that had no emotional reason to be let go of. I’m a firm believer that with every experience comes a life lesson and through the decision that Sarah and I made to stay together, there was an infinite amount of knowledge to gain.
Although I didn’t know about it at the time, there are several advantages of long distance relationship. Firstly, I believe that being separated from your partner puts a relationship to the test. Without the possibility of physical contact with each other, the distance forces one to think about whether they truly love their partner or not. It is all too common for high school relationships to become a manifestation of teenage sexual desires and, while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, distance eliminates the possibility of a purely physical relationship and forces true emotion to be shown.
Furthermore, a long distance relationship increases communication. There must be an effort made by both partners to keep communication open and current. It is easy for communication to be overlooked when you are in the presence of your partner as physical interaction can at times replace actually talking. Yet, when verbal communication is the only available method of communicating both partners become much more capable of speaking to each other and naturally learn more about each other than they ever had before.
Most importantly, a long distance relationship makes the time shared with your partner far more significant. It is easy to take the time you have with someone for granted and it isn’t until you don’t get that time that you learn to make the most of it. You will find that when you are reunited with your partner you will get more done, do more exciting things, and enjoy the time together like never before.
CON: Dr. Chauncey loves cuddling and hates long distance
By Chauncey Neyman
Relationships are the best. How do I know they’re the best? Because I haven’t actually been in one since middle school and, from the outside looking in, they seem awesome.
First off, there’s the cuddling. Anything’s fun when you’re cuddling. You could be listening to Nickelback or watching Judge Judy; whatever it is you like to do, it’s probably more fun cuddling.
Then there’s the silent comfort of having someone to always turn to for support. Whether you’re having a bad day, a bad week or a bad month, the ability to look somebody in the eye and know they’ll make an effort to agree with everything you rant about is incredibly valuable. Because you’re not being crazy: that girl is a b**** for wearing the same dress you wore to Winter Ball last year.
And who can forget the mutual weirdness? If you’re dating somebody you genuinely get along with, you should feel comfortable being your weird self around them. Whether you sing in the shower or spend your free time playing Neopets, it’s always nice to have a person who loves you not only in spite of your odd habits, but because of them.
A long distance relationship lacks each of these things. Cuddling is usually an impossibility. The comfort of having someone to turn to is made uneasy by limited means of communication. Text message conversations grow repetitive, and phone calls get shorter and shorter as the list of things you have in common is dwarfed by a rush of new, inexplicable experiences.
If you think you’ve found your soul mate, I would absolutely encourage you to try out a long distance relationship. But at this point in life, when so few people fully know themselves, how can you expect to know who you want to spend the rest of your life with? Realistically, you’ve only found a person well suited for the you of the moment.