A Long Distance Relationship: One Year Down

It's about to get a little personal here. I've been wanting to write/vent/share about this for a while but it just never seemed like the right opportunity. I wrote this about two months ago and want to finally share since I am graduating this week, and well, why not? I figured there must be some other people in the same boat! My boyfriend Michael and I have been together for a long time. He is my best friend. If there's one person that knows me probably better than myself (besides my mother,) it is him. We met when I was a Freshman in high school and he was a sophomore. WOAH. Yeah, I know, a long time ago. We dated for a year in high school, and then things got a little rocky when I became quite selfish and Michael went to college. The stars aligned and we found our way back to each other at a Halloween party during my freshman year of college. So romantic!

But on the real, we've grown up together and it's been absolutely the best.

Michael graduated from UF last year and we both knew things were going to get a little difficult for a while because I still had a year left of school, but we both remained positive. Here's the thing: although we lean on each other a lot, we are both totally individual & determined in our own ways. One of the main reasons I look up to him is his intense crazy drive to be a better person every single day. I think that he sees the same in me. He pushes and challenges me (seriously more than anyone else!) every day to think outside the box and to achieve my goals. I'm such a firm believer that everyone has a "person" out there that is going to make them a better person. For me, that's a huge part of having a healthy relationship.

Anyway, Michael graduated last year and landed an internship in Los Angeles. And then I got my first big internship in New York City. Opposite sides of the country. OY. Yes, it was hard. But I can't even sit here and attempt to complain about it because I realized how lucky we were to be in the situations we were in. We needed that for ourselves to grow personally and professionally. I had some of the absolute best times last summer. It was crazy fun when we visited each other and it made spending time together that much more special. I get a lot of satisfaction out of supporting his career and I know he feels the same about me. If you are in a long distance relationship or have been in one, can you relate?

After his internship he moved back to our hometown for a while for work. This was a nice change because instead of 2,700 miles away from each other we were only a four-hour drive away from each other! This quickly changed when Michael accepted a position in Emmaus, PA. So there we were again, this time about 1,000 miles away.

It felt a lot trickier this past semester because I was in the position of looking for a career and as much as I knew I wanted to live in the same city as Michael, I also needed to find a job that's a great fit for me. I never wanted to settle. I had a very hard time with that because there was this feeling of uncertainty constantly over my head (just like every other college senior!) I knew that as much as I was keeping an open mind, our relationship has become a really important factor. One thing that I highly value is balance in life. Right now, I can't visualize my life in balance without my best friend.

(**I wrote this next paragraph two months ago) So for now, I'm not really sure where I will be in the next six months or maybe even the next year or two, but I know that whatever happens, the big things always work out. That phrase has gotten me through some of my hardest moments in life and I know it will continue to do so. (**This ended up being SO TRUE IT'S SCARY.)

I will be moving to Philadelphia in the next couple weeks to start my career and I feel so thankful that I get to take a big step in my professional life and live in the same state as my best friend again. I feel relieved and very motivated.

Okay enough with my annoying bragging, gushing and blah blah blah!

I'm going to leave you with some tips for long distance relationships if you are in the same boat. I am in no way a relationship expert here (I am 21 people!) However, I know that in the past year even being so far apart, we have shared some really happy times in our relationship so I think that counts for something. Not to mention, I feel like long distance has actually made our relationship stronger.

1. Plan trips together. Save up, budget & scope out places you both have never been before. Traveling together is so important! It keeps your relationship fun and you get to learn new things and explore together. Have an ongoing bucket list of places that you want to go and it always gives you something to look forward to. It doesn't have to be an extravagant vacation in any way. Some of my best memories are from road-tripping and camping together or visiting new places when we visit each other.

2. Plan at least three nights a week to talk on the phone. This probably sounds crazy, but it's necessary. We are both SO busy and most of the time we didn't talk as much as this and it's something I wish I would have been a lot more consistent with. It's fun catching up if you haven't spoken in a couple days. This is so important for keeping a steady line of communication. You shouldn't have to miss out on things on each other's daily lives. It's the little things that matter.

3. Skype dates. Real dates. Over Skype. Cook the same recipe together virtually, crack open the same bottle of wine and just hang out. Trust me it's wacky but it's so much fun! Just don't do this when your roommates are home :)

4. Snail mail. Surprise letters and little gifts go a long way. At least in my book. Michael even told me he was going to miss having a 'pen pal'. I'm happy it's almost over, but I loved opening his clever letters.

5. Trust. That is all. Be true to each other, don't hold things back and say what's on your mind.

Always remember that if it's meant to be, it will be. Oh yeah, and the big things always work out. And props to you if you stuck with me and made it through this lengthy post :)

- Rach