Sunday, 1 December 2013

Long distance relationships - can they ever work?

Long distance relationships are forever scrutinised for their difficulty and the stress and heartbreak that they cause those involved.  When I was 17/18 I was in a long distance relationship.  It eventually became very difficult to maintain due to the one-way nature of the relationship.  Despite me feeling like the most grown up and mature person in the world, I was very young and naive.  143 miles seemed like the longest distance in the world, and the uncertainty over when you would next see each other was horrible.  Of course, long distance relationships aren't easy.  But is any relationship?  There's always got to be compromise, trust, and understanding whether you live down the road or at the other end of the country.

Trust and honesty are the biggest necessities in a long distance relationship.  If things do take a turn for the worse you have to ask yourself why you drifted apart in the first place:  Were you attentive enough?  Did you make the effort to visit and set time aside for each other?  Did you take each other for granted?  Were you honest about your feelings and where you saw things going?  Because, with a long distance relationship it is imperative that you are both honest and on the same page, otherwise you are guilty of leading someone on.  Once you have realised why things went wrong you can make changes accordingly.  If you want something enough you can make it work.

The hardest thing I found with the distance was not knowing when you would next see each other, and having to plan so far in advance.  Sometimes it would be six weeks in between seeing one another - not easy when all of my friends were seeing their boyfriends all the time.  I'm more understanding of the difficulties distance can pose now.  I'm still a female, though, so I am obviously still occasionally needy and irrational, but with it I am more tolerant and understanding to the demands of everyday life.

A long distance relationship is hard but they can work.  I have friends whose relationships have survived university, years abroad, months travelling, and being in the forces.  Those who say it can't work don't try hard enough.  

Distance matters so little when someone means so much; and this couldn’t be closer to the truth.  Yes, everyone has busy lives these days and lots of stuff going on, but is something so special really worth throwing away because the next few months are going to be a bit chaotic?  Distance won’t last forever, it’s a minor hurdle which, it seems, only the strongest of people can overcome.

I could spout all the old clich├ęs 'love can conquer all' etc, but I will save my breath.  Distance is definitely not something that should put people off being in a relationship.  And it should never be used as an excuse.

Long distance relationships do have their benefits, believe it or not!  The time you spend together is precious so you do more than lounge around watching television; you're always excited to see each other, something which you take for granted when you see someone everyday; you get time to spend with friends and do your own thing, rather than being one of those people who ditches their friends and is never seen or heard from again; there’s more scope for spontaneous surprises, which make even the simplest of thing seem special; and, most of all, it makes you so much more appreciative of each other and your love.

The problem today is that people give up too easily – they don’t fight to keep hold of what they’ve got; taking for granted everything that they have.  There’s no desire to make things work when things get hard.  If there are true, strong feelings between two people then none of these things will be an issue and the distance will seem like nothing.

I would definitely advise anyone not to let distance be the reason you don't follow your heart.  You have to be open to making sacrifices and be willing to compromise.  Yes, you have to try so much harder and learn not to take each other for granted but it won't be forever.  

It's not easy, not by any means, but nothing worth having ever is

Are appearances still over-shadowing success?

Following on from the 2012 London Olympics last year, the country was on a high.  Everyone wanted to don their running gear and be like Jess Ennis, or hop on their bike and epitomise Bradley Wiggins.  Sports like rowing, cycling, gymnastics, athletics, and dressage saw their popularity rise and their Olympic stars become national heroes.  Finally, the next generation had more to aspire to than to being 'like Wayne Rooney' or 'a pop star'.

It was an incredibly positive outcome of a brilliant period of time for Great Britain.  It finally looked as though young girls were starting to focus more on the person that they could be, rather than the way they could look.  So I was astounded by the way Rebecca Adlington was speaking during her time in the I'm A Celebrity jungle.

She was blaming girls like camp mate, and Miss Universe Great Britain, Amy Willerton for making her feel self-concious.  Rebecca explained how beautiful girls like Amy, who have a great figure, have made her hate her body and have really damaged her self-esteem.  This coming from a gold medal winning Olympian who set world records in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

If Rebecca Adlington can't embrace her tremendous achievements and allow for them to send her self-esteem through the roof, then what hope is there for the next generation of girls?  Not only was Rebecca revealing a lot about her own insecurities, she was also being very unkind to Amy.  It is not her fault that she is a naturally pretty girl who has a good figure.  You could see Amy was visibly upset by Rebecca's comments; who was bringing down Amy's self-esteem as well as her own.

It's not only Rebecca Adlington who has been negative towards Amy because of her looks.  Lucy Pargeter has been the biggest surprise to me.  In fact, all of the females in the jungle have.  All of them seem incredibly jealous of Amy and are being very nasty to her as a result.  Last night they were all shown questioning whether any of them had heard of her before she went into the jungle, asking what she had actually done to be there.  So what if she isn't as well known as some of the other camp mates?  You can't tell me that they have all heard of each other and can, hand on heart, say they know the reason behind each other's 'celebrity' status.  These catty women in the jungle need to back off the poor girl.  She's proved that she is more than just a pretty face and a pair of boobs; and has certainly come off a lot better than any of them.

It serves well to remember that life isn't all about looks and how attractive somebody is.  Yes, given the choice I am sure most girls would choose to look like Amy - tiny waist, toned tummy, big boobs & a bum.  But if I was given that choice or having an Olympic gold medal and my name as a world record breaker, I would choose the latter.  But whether someone is attractive or not, there's no reason to be nasty to someone on that basis.  Jealousy is always going to rear it's ugly head, but being jealous and being cruel as a result are two very different things.

Achievements and successes last forever, but appearances don't.  Are men still going to be drooling over Michelle Keegan when she is 80 and covered in wrinkles?  I don't think so.  Rebecca's gold medals and incredible achievements will never fade, disappear, or go South with age.

I understand how hard it must be for Rebecca Adlington to receive the nasty comments that she does via Twitter.  Nobody deserves to have their looks commented on in a negative way.  But she should rise above it and remember that, at the end of the day, she has far more going for her than whether she looks like a size 6 glamour model.  She should be immensely proud of her body and want to show it off as much as possible because that is what won her all those accolades and why, after the Beijing Olympics, everyone took to the pool to be just like her.