As many of my readers may already know... I live in the Midwest. My Knight lives on the East Coast. We have been in a long distance relationship, well, really since we first met five years ago. At first we were long distance friends, and then we came to realize at about the same time that God was leading us to more than friends, and we entered into a long distance courtship.
When people find out that my Knight and I are long distance, usually the first question is does he go to school out there/is he from around here. After hearing that no, he lives out East and has always lived out East, the response is generally a surprised "Well how did you guys meet?"
Of the questions and statements that often follow, the ones I hear most frequently are: "Is it hard being long distance?", "do you get to see each other often?" and "Wow, that must take a LOT of trust."
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I want to spend a little time sharing with you now, what being in a long distance relationship is like.
To answer the question of how we met, my Knight and I became friends through The Fairy Tale Novels Forum, a wonderful online community where fans of The Fairy Tale Novels by Catholic author Regina Doman gather to talk about the books, get to know fellow fans, and have crazy, awesome discussions and adventures together. We discovered that we both took an uncommon side on one particular topic, and began messaging back and forth. Over the next few years we became close friends. The story of how we fell in love is one for another time, but I will say that God made it very clear that He was leading us together, and neither of us would have entered into the relationship otherwise.
Do we get to see each other often? We are 1,000 miles apart... so we don't get to see each other nearly as often as we would like. My Knight is still in school, so with his schedule and breaks and work over the summer, and money for plane tickets, it works out to about a week long visit every three to four months.
Is it hard being long distance? The short answer: yes. The long answer: unless you've been long distance yourself, you have no idea how hard it is. When your day sucks, and you need the shoulder of the one you love to cry on, they are much further than a drive away. You can't spend time together whenever you want, drive over to hang out when you would like to, or go on dates (in person). When he is struggling, I can't be there to wrap my arms around him and comfort him. Getting to see his smile, hear his voice, listen to his laugh, is limited to an often fuzzy Skype connection, and a phone call. Skype, cell phones, texting and facebook/gmail chat make things SO much easier... but even all of those wonderful inventions cannot compare to being together in person. Yes, being long distance is one of the hardest things I've ever done.
On the issue of trust... honestly, I was a bit surprised the first time I heard that comment, because it had never occurred to me to not trust my Knight. Our relationship was built on a strong, and solid friendship. Despite never having lived close by each other, we knew each other. We knew each others backgrounds, what the other person valued, what they cared about. There is a lot of trust involved in a long distance relationship. There has to be. If you don't have trust, any relationship will suffer, and I can guarantee you that a long distance relationship without trust will fail. I have been blessed with an incredibly wonderful young man in my Knight, I have always trusted him, and I always will.
I remember a conversation I once had with someone. She was talking about a guy she sort of liked, and lamenting how the guy went to school in another state so she wouldn't really have a chance to get to know him better in person. Then she sort of laughed and said "you probably wouldn't recommend a long distance relationship, would you." I'm not sure how I answered, but I do remember being taken aback. To say I wouldn't recommend a long distance relationship makes it seem like I don't think it is worth it... and nothing could be further from the truth.
Is a long distance relationship for everyone? No, of course not. God has a special path laid out for every couple, and not all of them have long distances along the way. I can only speak for myself.... and yes, it absolutely is worth it. He is worth it. Every single minute and second of the often painful separation. If I was given the chance to choose again, knowing just how hard long distance can be, I still would choose him. Not for an instant have I ever regretted falling in love with him. There are plenty of tears, there is tension, and a struggle to communicate and connect despite the distance. Yet for every tough moment, there are at least three beautiful and joy-filled ones to make up for it. The good, the laughter, the memories, the new and creative ways we come up with to learn about each other and grow closer together even when we are 1,000 miles apart far outweigh any of the hardships that we have to endure.