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

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