Long Distance Defense
Long distance relationships are hard enough with just two people, so here’s how to deal with everyone else.
By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia
And so the vacation comes to a close, and with it, all the summer romances that bloomed under the warm sun of academic freedom.
Or do they?
It takes a brave soul and an enduring faithfulness to be able to withstand the lonely, cold months of a long distance relationship, but it’s certainly possible—until you let the pessimists get to you, that is.
These are the family, friends and strangers with no respect for your privacy that have their own little tidbits to offer on the subject. These are the fellow students, coworkers and thwarted love interests that spew their vile doubts into your already precarious mental state. These are the friend zoned, the failures and the fuckboys that are jealous it’s not them you’re with.
These, my friends, are the haters, and I’m going to tell you how to handle five of the most common phrases you’ll hear from the moment you decide to make it work.
(Yes, I have personally had to deal with all of these at one point in my own LDR attempts.)
1. “Long distance relationships never work out.”
Want to bet? Just because someone else’s didn’t doesn’t mean yours won’t. But you already knew that. You probably didn’t know this though:
In May of 2016, there was research conducted to find the statistics of long distance relationships. And guess what? 14 million people in the United States alone claimed to be in a long distance relationship, and the study found that only 40 percent of those relationships are likely to break up looking at past data.
I guess Uncle Todd’s failure rating of 90 percent isn’t as factual as he thought.
In fact, 75 percent of engaged couples have been in a long distance relationship before, and when you add the fact that a third of these 14 million are college kids just like you, your chances are looking pretty good.
Watch out though: 70% percent of the breakups that do happen are because of lack of planning. Does that mean you should share your hoarded Pinterest wedding posts with the guy you started seeing last month? Probably not, but if you’re trying long distance, then they’ve got to have some sort of idea for the future.
2. “They’re probably going to cheat on you.”
A MYTH DEBUNKED: Distance does not draft double-dealers.
If someone is a cheater, they’re going to fool around despite the distance. Heck, you could be so close as to share a toothbrush/deodorant/dildo—whatever, and it won’t change anything but the amount of side-eyed glances and nonverbal judgment you’ll receive.
Actually, consider this: Because long distance is, well, a long distance apart, you can’t get caught up in the physical aspects of the honeymoon period. You have to rely on your striking wit and excellent sense of humor to keep each other entertained. If you can do that, you don’t have any competition.
Next time someone says that to you, just wistfully glance at your nails, casually check your email and respond with, “They know the ramifications of their actions,” make direct eye contact with the cynic, “Do you?” Then, much like the Cheshire Cat, grin and fade away.
3. “Why don’t you just date someone that actually goes to your school?”
This one is easy.
If it’s a fellow collegiate, look them up and down, grimace like what you see is completely and totally unacceptable, and retort with, “You wish.”
If it’s a family member (and you know they aren’t just concerned for your wellbeing), have a little fun. With a finger on your chin, and a struggling expression perched on your nose, “hem” and “haw” a little bit before snapping your fingers.
“Oh yeah! Like the guy that offered me crack the other night! That stuff is expensive, he must have really seen the quality in me to think I was worth that price. Maybe I should go give him a call. Oh wait, he sold his phone for weed money. Guess I’ll just have to walk around downtown by myself until I find him. Maybe that nice man will offer me a ride in his van again. I mean, I do love candy.”
Let’s see if Granny survives this one.
4. “Long distance is going to be too hard for you; you’re not ready.”
Unless they’re going to pitch some idea to get you ready, they need to shut up. Who is ready for anything? Let me answer that, nada, zip, no one.
If I can promise you anything, I can swear to this: There exists not a single person prepared for the craziness of a long distance relationship. But I can also assure you that it’s infinitely easier than you expect it to be.
With phones, Skype, email, texting, you’ll more likely get sick of them. That’s a lie, but it won’t be as bad as you’re dreading.
The best way to deal with this ne’er-do-well is to just whisk their comments away and continue on your merry way.
5. “You’re just doing long distance because you’re worried that you won’t find someone else.”
I’m just going to say it, if someone says this or some variation of it to you, it must be a reject that used to be your significant other, or someone that desperately wants to be.
Hey, at least you’ve got that going for you!
But a good riposte is always to throw it back, “You mean someone like you? I’ll pass.”
Don’t dish out what you can’t take, am I right?