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January 6, 2015

Long Distance Relationships Suck.....But They're Worth It

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my best friend for another 5 months, after only spending 3 hours with her! If anyone is in a long-distance relationship/friendship, it's us. I like to say that I'm in a long-distance relationship with "everyone" since my move to Manila.
Us being cute at a concert last summer

When I first moved to Manila, four years ago now, Amrita and I had been best friends for about 2.5 years. We met in 6th grade (a total History Class meet-cute moment) and from that point on we just clicked. We've been inseparable-from-opposite-sides-of-the-planet ever since. I don't think either of us planned on this long-distance thing working for very long (I mean hello, two eighth graders?) but it's stuck and I know I am so much better off with her. I'd be lost and confused, not to mention a lot more boring and minus a lot of laughs, without her.

Now, I'm not just in a long-distance relationship with Ammie, although she's usually the first that pops up on my list when asked. My entire family, except Mom because we're together in Manila, still lives in the States and I don't see them half as often as I used to. It's a big adjustment, going from seeing someone on a daily, near-daily, weekly-basis to seeing them every couple of months and otherwise through texts or Skype. 
From yesterday's "hellogoodbye" hangout

Hearing someone say: "I'm in a long-distance relationship" I conjured up this image of the person pining away months and months for their beloved and focusing practically all of their energy into that one person. This picture is so wrong I can't believe I used to see it! I'm in a long-distance friendship myself and I certainly don't wait around for 5 months just going through the motions of life until I see her again. That's not life. 
I've met some really awesome people and had some pretty incredible experiences since my move, experiences I wouldn't want to trade for anything. My travels have opened my mind beyond anything I could have imagined and definitely give me a different perspective than others, who each have their own stories. I'm going to be really really sad when this part of my life is over, the Manila Chapter. I tear up just thinking about it. Because I've lived life here.

I used to think I should be feeling jealous or possessive when Ammie would have sleepovers etc. with other people, and if I wasn't that showed a lack of caring or a lapse of feeling for her, and then I realized....how hypocritical! If I expected to live my life over here, I couldn't expect her to put hers on pause in the States!

That's probably one of the biggest things I've learned since moving to the Philippines: how to be mature (well, mature where it matters) in a relationship, long distance or not. 

Before entering a long-distance relationship you have to determine if the effort is worth it. I recently had two friends who dated for several months before she moved to Brazil and he back to Ireland. They promised each other to make it work but, unfortunately, I wasn't surprised to hear that it didn't work. The relationship wasn't ready for that kind of distance--and that's okay, relationships of all kinds come and go.
It's great to meet new people bc you end up with cool friends #sweg

Once you're in one, it does take commitment and effort to actually keep it going and not let the time and the distance make it so you don't talk anymore--that's not a relationship. But if in your effort to make the 'ship work it starts to feel like work that's not a relationship either. It's a fine balance between the two and I'd be lying if I said I always answered A's texts right away (especially if I'm going to sleep at my Grandma bed time) or that she doesn't "grr" when I go to bed at my Grandma bed time but we always make up for it. It's not work for us, it's a natural BFF-progression just 9000 miles apart.

If you have a mature relationship (mature in the sense that you both can handle the distance bc the Universe knows A and I aren't the maturest wines in the cellar) you can handle a long-distance, I promise. Romantic relationships may be a little different, depending on circumstances, but with the foundation of a true relationship you shouldn't encounter any extra trouble.
Think of it this way: if you and the person you are long-distancing with were living in the same city, you wouldn't spend every moment with each other! You'd certainly get more time with them in the flesh, so to speak, but you both would have your own lives apart, a very important component in a relationship. 
Being able to recognize the difference between sharing everything going on in your life with someone (aka Amrita and myself) and not being able to live separate lives is an essential life skill. She has friends I don't know just like I have friends that she doesn't know--the same way we would were we attending the same high school even. We share the goings-on with those friends with each other, but we'd still be independent people even if we were together everyday.

Long distance relationships may suck in that you don't get to spend a lot of time with each other--but they're so great for teaching you how to be independent while in a BFF-ship/relationship. It's an important skill that not enough people learn early enough in life and one that I'm so glad I learned because my life is so much louder, colorful, funny, amazing, adventurous, beautiful with Amrita in it.

Keep laughing butterflies xx

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