Written by: Niladri Singh
Illustration by: Summer Griffin
When you ask yourself this question, what is the immediate answer that you receive? The instant, naked, whole truth. Often, that is the answer that should guide you forwards in this next phase in your lives, with or without each other.
Every relationship is different because every human being is different and this is why the choices people make and the way people react to their situations differs too.
It would be a whole lot easier if I had the perfect plan and could jot it down for you. But as someone who decided she couldn’t choose to be in a long-distance relationship despite it being one of the most full-filling and wholesome ones she’s ever been in, there are only a few things I can suggest.
Be sure to sit down and have long and meaningful conversations about the year ahead. List your priorities, no matter how difficult they might feel. It is alright to feel like you have the whole world to explore, new people and places to meet and visit, to feel it would not be fair to put your partner through changes you can’t even fathom. It is also alright to feel like your relationship is the one thing that you would never give up on, to feel like it is your haven and to stick by it through all the changes to come.
The thing about love and everything that comes with it, is that it is going to move you, it is going to test you. It will make you wish, yearn, learn, it will make you grow. It will change you; all relationships do.
There have been people who have been together for years and parted ways, people that met on a blind date and are raising a child now, there have been people who have lived oceans apart and now live every second of every day together. There are also people who grow out of relationships and places, meet different people, visit new places and take that leap into the unknown.
At the end of the day, it boils down to the two of you and your relationship. Are each of you going to take equal responsibility? How will you manage different time-zones with work and university schedules? When will you see each other next? How will you manage communication?
If you decide to take the challenge, find things you can do together despite the distance, maybe watch a movie, plan a dinner date, play online games together. Look for new and creative ways to stay in touch and spice up your dirty talk.
A friend of mine also suggested that you could see how you fair when you can’t meet each other in-person for a few weeks or a month. A long-distance relationship will feel a lot like that but magnified and with changes happening all around you. So this could give you a good idea of what to expect.
If you’re the one that decides to go ahead solo, it is going to be fun. It is going to be a whole lot of new people, new relationships, stories to tell, a whole lot of change with you at the centre of it all, quite a whirlwind. When all that settles, there will come a night when you will be hit with a tsunami of memories. Be prepared for that. On nights like that, you must remember the reason you took this decision; you must remember that you are far better not being part of each other’s lives than being absent or worse, being half-heartedly present. As cliché as it may sound, if it is meant to be, it will be. I have witnessed that and I’m certain a few of our readers have too. So doing what you feel is right in the moment and knowing that making the right choice is sometimes one of the most difficult things to do, should get you through it. Five years from today, will you still stand by your decision?
Before I forget to mention, he has a girlfriend now and I have had plenty of time to reflect. I do not regret my decision. We are still friends and yes, we do not talk every day or like we used to but when he makes music, I’m still one of the first people he calls and honestly, that’s all I ask for, for now.
It is okay to feel literally any feeling in the spectrum of emotion when you are making decisions like these, decisions that will impact your life even years after you have taken them. Do not beat yourself up and make sure to hold on to some form of catharsis. This could be music, writing, cooking, painting, anything that will keep you grounded, happy, physically and mentally present in the now and most importantly, in your being, as your truest most authentic self, the one that answered that first initial question: Will we survive a year apart? Your self-love no matter what you choose must shine through because the distance my friend, will test you either way.