In honour of Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I thought I’d write a more personal blog post on a topic closer to my heart.
I have been in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend, Tom, for almost 2 years. We started talking in March 2015, where we realised we were taking similar A-Levels and then found out we wanted to take exactly the same course, and even more freaky we had picked the same universities. We talked for a good month every single day starting on a student forum we were on (nerdy I know) to talking on Facebook, to then talking over texts and then eventually Skyping and we have spoken every single day without fail ever since. I met him in April when we officially started dating, and since then we have been trying to plan our visits to see each other as often as we can, but it is normally after 1-3 months that we do actually get to see each other again.
People are always asking…
“How do you do it? As in the whole long-distance thing?”
Well, when you find someone who is truly worth your time, you’ll wait out however long it takes until one day you can close the distance and make it a thing of the past.
“How do you stop yourself from becoming so over-emotional all the time?”
You just have to remain optimistic and plan ahead, so that you start to think more about getting excited about seeing your girlfriend/boyfriend than sitting there getting upset all of the time because you miss them.
“Do you not compare your relationship to those relationships that are short-distance?”
And, honestly yes. Me and Tom have spoken about this many of times before about how we wish we could be closer to one another to visit more often, but we also both believe that things are meant to happen for a reason. We believe that although we were meant to find each other, we were also meant to be long-distance at least temporarily until Tom graduates from university and for me to find myself and do something that I want to do in life whilst enjoying it. And not to say that we wouldn’t be able to do it if we were short-distance to begin with, we just believe that we can still do our own thing without getting so distracted and we also have each other to support one another during more tougher times.
“Don’t you have trust issues with being in a long-distance relationship?”
Well, I won’t lie, to begin with, I’m sure most people will have their guard up when starting a new relationship and go through a million things in their mind that this person could do to them. So yes, to begin with, I had trust issues, because I’m a worrier in general and I didn’t know any of Tom’s friends, I didn’t know his parents, I didn’t know his story very well and that initial stage was difficult because I was overthinking everything. But, as time went on, I don’t have trust issues with Tom anymore, because when you’ve been with someone that long you would like to hope that you can put your trust in them, and if you can’t trust them fully a year or two later, you need to reflect on your relationship and whether the person is really the right one for you, because the right person will make you feel safe and will be trustworthy without constantly saying that they are, but more that their actions show that they’re trustworthy. You won’t sit there and start thinking yourself into an unhealthy state about what the other person is doing behind your back if the relationship is healthy. So, that is just something to think about.
When people talk about long-distance relationships that they know people are in or are in one themselves, they may associate it with more negativity than positivity. Personally, I don’t see that, because as people say with every cloud, there is a silver lining. Although the situation isn’t ideal for either of us, we also learn to appreciate the distance. We learn to appreciate each other more when we’re apart and it allows us to weigh up our priorities and what is truly important in our relationship.
Another good thing to come out of the distance is that every trip we plan together is always like a special occasion. We always plan to stay somewhere nice together in a different location and buy each other little, cute gifts to remember each occasion and we always fit in as many activities as we can into each day, so that we fit in all the romantic dates that normal couples have, but we just pack it all into one day.
As with all relationships, there will always be good days and bad days, and if it is a bad day, a phone call can solve everything. We’d be lying to ourselves if we thought our relationship was ‘perfect’ because the odd little disagreement can be healthy because you find out more about each other’s likes and dislikes.
The most special thing about our relationship is that we’re each other’s first boyfriend/girlfriend, so we are slowly learning how to act more as a ‘we’ than an ‘I’ because you start to do everything together rather than on your own.
There are always some complications with relationships whether they’re long or short distance. For example, when me and Tom first started dating we didn’t really know how to tell our families, because my parents and his parents are very traditional, as I’m Chinese and Tom is English. So, with traditional families, it can be hard to tell them that you’re dating someone from a different race and we both waited until we knew the time was right to break the news. But, in the end, it all turned out well and both of our parents really didn’t mind, as long as we were happy and we’re both very grateful, as other people in this same position may not feel as accepted as we did.
Another thing that people should remember about relationships is that you should be dating someone for how well their personality compliments yours to help bring the best out of both of you. You shouldn’t be dating someone for their appearance, their money, their success, etc. Because, ultimately their personality is their strongest asset and will determine how well your relationship will work. Me and Tom always get asked by strangers “Are you Mr and Mrs?“ and “Do you have kids yet?“ and we’re both 20 and don’t have any plans to get married or have kids anytime soon, as we still have a whole lifetime ahead of us for all of that. But, when we ask people why they asked that, apparently it’s because our personalities are very complimentary and we look like we’ve been together for a long time.
From the first day that I met Tom, we just connected instantly. There was no awkwardness at all, and we just got on so well that we are both still in disbelief with how well our first date went and it literally felt like the most fairytale day. We both know how lucky we are to be able to find that instant connection that some people long for in a lifetime, and we never take this feeling for granted.
You’re probably wondering what our first date was now, but we met at Manchester Piccadilly Station to meet in the middle and we started our date by going to the Dogbowl Bowling Alley, where he actually let me win because he’s a gentleman! Afterwards, we decided to walk to Piccadilly Gardens where Tom managed to persuade me to put my fear of heights to one side and get on the Manchester Wheel with him. When I actually got onto the wheel I realised what a terrible decision I made, but he was so reassuring that I was perfectly safe in the capsule and nothing will go wrong, and before you know it we ended up having our first kiss when we were sky high above Manchester, and I couldn’t imagine a better scenario. We then went to The Alchemist for the first time, because as we were both budding scientists at the time, we couldn’t think of anything better than chemistry-based cocktails! After lunch, we walked around for a while and then went back to Piccadilly Gardens to sit and enjoy the sunshine in each other’s company, before we said our goodbyes at the station and headed home. It was the most perfect day, and we both couldn’t think of a better first date. And, from this day the goodbyes at the station became a routine thing, and we can’t wait for the day we won’t have to do that anymore.
It doesn’t get any easier saying goodbye to each other when we both don’t know when the next time will be until we see each other with education and work all in the way. But, the important thing is that we make time for each other as much as we can without compromising everything else. Goodbyes do get harder the longer you’re together, but it makes seeing each other even more special the next time you see their face.
People used to say “Surely you can’t know your boyfriend better than I know mine, we’ve been together for __ months/years!“ and to be completely honest, the time together is just another number and does not quantify how well you know someone. Because me and Tom spend so much time apart, we like to feel very integrated into each other’s daily life by asking “what are you up to?” and random questions we want to know about each other, and before you know it, we know each other’s daily routines and questions that people wouldn’t think about really asking each other, like where insecurities stemmed from, favourite childhood stories, what the story behind a scar is, etc.
So, if you’re in a long-distance relationship yourself, don’t let anyone tell you that your relationship is ‘wrong’ or that you’re not meant to be, or any other kind of negative comment. Because, if you truly find someone that loves you equally as much as you love them, you should both do everything in your power to make sure you can make it last. You shouldn’t let others dictate what happens with your love life and you shouldn’t let others put you off your relationship, because your happiness is the only thing that matters, and their opinions shouldn’t change that.
To conclude, long-distance relationships are so worth it for the right person. It really helps you to learn about yourself as well and teaches you how to manage your emotions better, as well as also teaching you the life skill of being patient. But, in the end, if the other person makes you happy you would do absolutely anything for them, even if it means waiting months or years until you can finally meet in the middle instead of the endless train and plane tickets to meet in the middle, but I always believe that good things happen to those that wait.
There’s a person for everyone out there, so never give up!
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Happy Valentine’s Day
To all of those in relationships and those singletons make sure you love yourself as well and treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for ages or something you’ve wanted to do because it’s okay to do something for yourself for once!
(DISCLAIMER: Featured image of the train ticket personalised picture frame was from oflifeandlemons.co.uk, and was not sponsored by them!)