This post is all about how my boyfriend and I survived being in a long distance relationship these past four years. These are the things I wish I would have known and the biggest tips I have for anyone going through long distance.
After four years, my boyfriend and I are officially NO longer in a long distance relationship! We know first hand how hard it is and there is so many things we wish we would have known.
We both learned so much about ourselves and our relationship during this time. I would have never in a million years thought I would be saying this, but looking back, I am actually grateful for long distance.
I also thought it would be interesting to see things from a guy's perspective on long distance so I am having Ben answer all of these questions too!
This post is giving you all our best long distance relationship tips and answering all the long distance questions we were asked.
Long Distance Relationships:
Background of Our Long Distance Relationship:
Ben and I met in 5th grade, became really good friends in middle school, and started dating when we were juniors in high school. At this point, I feel like we've done majority of our life together. You can see in the picture above at our middle school graduation, high school graduation, and most recently, college graduation.
We knew right from the beginning of starting to date in high school that we would be going to different colleges. However, it never even really crossed our minds (or at least mine) to break up for college.
I ended up staying in Wisconsin for college and he went to Iowa. Our schools were 8 hours away from each other.
I remember the whole senior year of high school I would start getting watery eyes even thinking about him leaving. The summer before he left I would literally drive around crying to Adeles "All I Ask" and other long distance songs hahaha.
What the first week of long distance was like:
I feel like it's important to mention that Ben and I were the couple that did everything together. We hung out like every single day (which I'll get to why long distance was actually super good for us because of this). So, the thought of us only seeing each other once a month was impossible to imagine.
Ben played soccer in college so he always left for school way earlier than all of our friends. The week before he left for his freshman year we made a "last week bucket list" in his living room and bawled while his brother was in the other room hahaha. Needless to say, we were slight emotional disasters. We planned something exciting for every day leading up to his departure like going hiking, going to Chicago, having a picnic, etc. We really tried to make that last week memorable.
The weekend we dropped him off for that first year was ROUGH. Actually the whole first year in general was rough. I cried non-stop. We pulled away from his dorm room and I was in the backseat of his parents car just silently sobbing and his dad was trying to give me a pep talk in the front seat. So funny thinking back on it now but in the moment I thought life was horrible hahaha.
Any time I would visit him after that even if I wasn't super sad about leaving him (no offense Ben ) I would get this clump in my throat and the tears would just start coming. And GUYS! I am not a crier. Which is hard to believe from this post, but seriously, I rarely cry. I just like couldn't control it haha.
That first week was really bad. Everywhere I would go I would always think, "Last time I drove on this road I was with Ben" or "Last time I went to Target, Ben was with me" like irrational things like that haha.
Moral of this all, the first week SUCKS. Just get through it. I promise it gets better!!
Things that were in our favor for long distance:
There were a few things in our favor that 100% made long distance easier. And don't get discouraged if these things aren't in favor for you, these are just things that we noticed made it way easier for us to get through long distance.
1. We went to small christian colleges.
I'm going to be honest here, there is SO much more temptation at big schools mostly because of partying. A lot of the time we hated going to such small schools, but in the relationship field it was actually really good for us.
I'm not saying we would have cheated on each other if we went to big schools at all, but there was just less going on (and drunk mess ups) and less things to be jealous over.
2. Ben played on the soccer team.
This was the best thing and the worst thing about our long distance. All get to the worst thing later on in the post, but it was REALLY nice that he played soccer at college because his parents went to a lot of his games.
I went to college near where I grew up so I could easily drive up with them when they went to watch him play. It was 8 hours away so having them drive and not me was SUPER nice. Plus, I was broke and wouldn't have had the money to pay for gas haha.
I definitely would not have been able to see Ben as much if it wasn't for that. Butttt, I also picked going to school near my house for this reason (not the only reason but it was definitely part of my decision making).
3. We had an end date.
We knew that this was a 4-year, temporary, thing. Having that end date gave us something to work towards. Once that four years was over, we never had to be apart for a long period of time ever again.
If you are in a long distance and don't have an end date, I'm sorry!! I don't know if I would have been able to handle that haha.
Your Long Distance Questions Answered:
I thought it would be super interesting to see how I answered these questions versus how Ben answered them. I'm having him go through and answer all of these and I'm putting both of our answers down since it might help to see things from a guys perspective!
Ben's note - Hi everyone! After years of asking, Soph finally granted my request and is allowing to
share my wisdom with all of her “girlfriends”.
1. How far was your distance and how often did you guys see each other?
Sophia - We were 8 hours apart from each other. Ben went to college in Iowa and I went to school in Wisconsin! During the soccer season I saw Ben a lot more.
So, September-December we saw each other twice a month which was a TON. Spring semester was a different story. We saw each other at most once a month from January-May.
Ben - I went to college in Iowa and Sophie went to college near our hometown in
Wisconsin. In total, we were 500 miles apart from one another or an 8-hour drive.
Based on the time of year we saw each other more or less. In the fall, we probably
saw one another twice a month but from January to May we probably only saw
each other once a month.
2. Are either of you the jealous type?
Sophia - No, neither of us are the jealous type, which made LD way easier. I feel like one of the biggest things in being in a successful long distance relationship is that you have to fully trust the other person. Because, truth is, in LD you could easily cheat/be cheated on. If you're constantly worried about the other person cheating it will be exhausting after awhile.
Also, I wasn't jealous over a girl but I was REALLY jealous over soccer...and I'm being 100% serious hahaha. It always felt like soccer was #1 and he could never come visit me and I had some major meltdowns over that done .
Ben - No, I am not the jealous type at all. The only time I ever got jealous is when Sophie would be doing something really fun that I wasn’t able to be there for. If anything I suffered from FOMO but not jealousy. Truthfully, I think it would be extremely difficult to make a long distance relationship work if either person was super jealous.
3. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone going into long distance?
Okay, I have 2 really good ones.
It gets EASIER. The first year (freshman year) was the worst. I thought life was over haha. By sophomore and junior year I was still really sad about it but I was fine. By senior year, it was "normal" and I was 100% okay with being in a long distance. But also, by senior year the end was in sight whereas during freshman year four years seemed so far away.
But even for visiting, the day he left was always the hardest. Once I got into my routine again, things were back to normal and it wasnt as hard. I would purposely try to go to the last places we went before he left because I constantly would be like "last time I was at this grocery store was with ben" and if I just ripped the bandaid off I was fine.
Second one, APPRECIATE YOUR INDEPENDENCE. This one seriously changed my life.
I knew after freshman year that I couldn't live being that sad about ben being gone. I was missing huge parts of my freshman year because I was always just so upset about not being with ben.
I changed my mindset and thought about how I am planning on being with Ben for the rest of my life and these last three years are the only time I'll be able to be fully independent. I can give my full attention to my girlfriends and family. I can do whatever I want on a Friday and Saturday night. I can make those other people in my life really feel how special they are to me.
Instead of being sad about being Ben being gone, I started appreciating it. It's really allll about mindset.
Ben - Enjoy your time alone and enjoy your time together. It is so important to make the most of the short amount of time you are together. It is arguably more important, however, to make the most out of the time you are spending by yourself.
Chances are if you are investing into a LD relationship you see a future with the person. Once you are done with distance, chances are you will never be as independent than you will be now. Take advantage of that, and do the things that you otherwise probably wouldn’t do it your boyfriend or girlfriend were with you. You’ll miss fun opportunities and potential friends if you dwell and sulk about how you aren’t with your significant other.
5. Would you always plan when you’d see each other next
Sophia - YES. and this made things so much easier! We would always leave each other knowing when the next time we saw each other would be. Whether it was two weeks or nine weeks, being able to have something to look forward and plan was really exciting. It also gave us something to talk about.
Ben - Yes! We would always plan when we would see each other next. It always gave me something to look forward to.
6. Did you guys talk everyday? what’s the best way around different schedules?
Sophia - We talked every single day. We didn't go one day through all of college without talking to each other. I am a full believer that if you want to talk to someone, you will make time to do so. I think its bullshit when I hear people say they didn't have time to talk to their significant other. Ben and I always made it work even if it was 5 minutes while I was driving to school or he was walking to soccer practice. Now, there was some days that we didn't talk on the phone and only texted but those were rare.
Conversations can get super boring though because after awhile you really don't have that much to talk about like there's only so many times I could ask him what he ate for dinner. One of our favorite things to do when we had a little more time to talk was to look up deep questions to ask your boyfriend or something. It would lead to such good convos that were not part of the normal realm of things.
I actually wrote a post about Ben and my favorite questions that you can read here: 42 Best Deep Questions To Ask Your Boyfriend
Ben - Yes, we talked every single day. Depending on what our days looked like, we would always carve out some time to FaceTime. If you value something, you can make time for it. That is an important thing to understand when you have different questions.
7. What are some ways to keep the romance alive virtually?
Soph - Send nudes . hah! JK. Ben and I would schedule facetime dates where we would either ask deep questions above or we would just make dinner together or something. This is definitely really hard...I think it helped to act actually interested in their life? But like romantic physically, I don't know how you keep that alive unless you send nudes or something hahahah (to bens mother - I am kidding :).
Ben - LOL, why do I know exactly what Sophie answered for this question without reading her answer?! She definitely did not do what she is telling you to do.
8. How to find privacy facetiming while having roommates?
Soph- This is super awk especially in the beginning when you don't really know your roommate. I would sometimes go out in the hallway or would just Facetime Ben when she wasn't in there. The more my roommate and I got to know each other, the easier and less awk it was to facetime ben. But also, be respectful and wear headphones.
Ben - Hmm… good question. It’s situational but usually you have to get a little creative. It’s nice to get on a schedule when you’re able to talk when your roommate isn’t in the room.
9. Is there anything you wish someone would have told you before?
Soph- YES. Looking back, it drives me crazy how so many people say that "Long distance relationships never work" or "you're so young, what's the point of a long distance relationship?". Like yes, we were babies at 18 but we knew what we had and that it was worth being long distance. If you're questioning your relationship then maybe you shouldn't be LD but if your confident and think it could last, ignore all those people that say its impossible.
Ben - Honestly, not really. Sophie and I seemed to be on the same page going into it and that’s what mattered most in hindsight.
10. Is it hard getting used to dating IRL after LD dating is over?
Soph- I thought this was a super good question. Honestly no, it was such a relief to not have to have an internal countdown in my head on the next time that he is leaving. It seems like things just went back to normal now haha.
Ben - I wouldn’t say it’s too hard at all. There was hardly an adjustment for me, although Sophie would probably say that she was seeing me too much right away LOL.
11. What was the most difficult part of long distance?
Soph- For me it was by far his soccer. He couldn't come visit me because of his soccer practices and that was SO frustrating for me since 1) I was always changing my schedule around and 2) it made me feel like he didn't care about me. That was by far our biggest fight. And it would be a big fight every single year.
Ben - For me it was definitely missing some of the bigger events that were going on back home. It was hard for me to enjoy where I was knowing the fun things that were going on back home.
12. How do you avoid the arguments? My boyfriend and I fight over the silliest things.
Soph- Whenever I would be really bored, I would start little fights to get bens attention. I brought up his soccer thing ALL the time. After awhile it's like, what's the point haha. Coming from the queen of being petty, you really can't be petty in a LD or you'll just be fighting all the time. Also, if you can see something is really important to your SO, then show them that you also care about it.
Ben - Chances are someone is going to fight just to fight because the LD situation can be frustrating at times. Just try not to be to petty, and then if it does happen don’t clap back too much haha. That was one of my biggest takeaways for when Sophie was upset with me. Arguments are inevitable, but it’s important to decide how to respond to them.
13. How to deal with seeing other couples around you?
Soph- I would have moments of jealousy towards other couples and then realize that this isn't their fault that they are together and my boyfriend and me are in a long distance relationship. It will literaly only hurt you if you're judgemental towards other couples around you.
Ben - As a guy I felt like that didn’t bother me even close to as much as Sophie. A lot of my closest friends were single so I never really dealt with it too much, whereas Sophie’s closest friends all had significant others. I don’t have too much advice to give to this one.
15. Did you ever take a break? Go on another date?
Soph- No, we have never taken a break or go on another date (but that doesn't mean our relationship is perfect haha). I know a lot of long distance couples who did take a break and then get back together. You have to do what's best for you!
Ben - No, we never did that. To be honest, I never really thought about it during our long distance tenure.
16. Who traveled to see the other person more often?
Soph - ME! Touchy subject if you haven't been able to tell ;). It was way easier for me to visit ben, no denying that, but because I was always coming it sometimes made me feel like he didn't want to see me as bad as I wanted to see him.
Honestly, we never resolved this issue and this was still something we fought about up until the end of our long distance.
Ben - Sophie definitely traveled more to see me. It was really unfair to her, but in my defense she would come out with my family pretty often. I know that’s where I dropped the ball the most during that time in our relationship. I think it’s really important to have the travel be equal.
That wraps up this post on our long distance relationship. Again, it was NOT easy. At all. Hopefully you learned somethings that will help your relationship! Keep putting effort into it and listen to your gut.