LDR: Why Distance Can Be Okay

Two months ago, I was interviewed for a documentary concerning people who have been through a long distance relationship. They were wanting to know if it was worth it and the struggles of being in one. It was really nice getting to openly talk about LDRs, so I decided to write about my story on here!

As you may have seen in my ‘About’ section or have known from previous posts, I am currently married to a British citizen named Peter. Obviously to get to this point, as an American citizen, we had to deal with distance.

We first met in the fall of 2017 when I was studying abroad during my junior year of undergrad. We both met online and had first just talked casually. We decided to meet up and after a little while we decided to start dating.

We didn’t see each other very often at first, maybe once a week or over the weekend. I was busy with my internship and classes, while Peter was starting his PhD. It was fun getting to learn more about UK culture through Peter and getting to meet his friends. We were taking trips to the zoo, museums, eating at fun restaurants, flying to different countries, and even going sailing on a yacht. There are many things I would’ve never experienced if I had not been dating him.

Then it came to the big talk – how are we going to make this work while I’m back in the States? Before dating Peter, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to come back to the UK for my postgraduate education. We knew I would be back for that, but that wouldn’t be for over a year. I made it frank that if this distance was going to work, we needed to communicate. We both agreed to Skype each other at least once a week. By setting a specific date and time, it helped improve our communication.

Leaving the UK in June 2018 was one of the hardest things in my life. I cried for a week before leading up to it and cried every day for two weeks coming back to the States. It was hard not knowing the next time I would see Peter again and having to transition back to Iowa life. It took a while before I could get comfortable with being back in Iowa.

What made things easier eventually was planning for the next time we would see each other. Peter planned to come to the United States for two weeks to visit me around Thanksgiving. It was his first time visiting the country and I was so thrilled to be seeing him again. He stayed with me on my college campus and got to experience American college life. From when I left London to then, it had been five months since we had seen each other.

For my spring break, I went back to London for about a week and a half. During this time, I got to see the campus of where I was going for postgrad and we went to Liverpool. Even though I had wished it could’ve been longer, it was still an important trip (I mean, we were in a car together for over four hours!). From November to spring break was about four months of not seeing each other.

After that trip, life got busy for me. I was coming up to finishing and graduating from college. Deadlines were coming in like crazy and it was harder to find time to speak with Peter. It was hard not having him there at my graduation, but it made me so happy that he could watch the livestream in England. The summer months were long because I wouldn’t see him again until August, where we would eventually fly back to the UK together in September.

When I finally got back to England, things were going great. Even though I was two hours away from him for school, that was a whole lot easier for me compared to 4,000 miles. I’ll admit there were some days it was rough being away. Sometimes we didn’t see each other for a month, just because our schedules were crazy.

When the first lockdown in the UK happened, I had just got back from London. Most students had gone home and there were very few of us left in our accommodation building. That was a hard time for me because I felt trapped in my studio apartment. It was hard hearing Peter’s voice over the phone, but not be able to go to London. The time from lockdown until Peter could come pick me up were mentally the hardest for me.

Since July of 2020, we have been living together in London. Can you imagine going from not seeing each other for months to seeing each other every day? It was interesting at first, trying to get used to each other’s schedules/habits. Now, I can’t imagine not being with him every day.

To going from 4,000 miles apart to now being married and living in London is wonderful. It took a while to get to this point, but I wouldn’t change anything. I think distance each individually made us stronger. We learned to work on communication, forgiveness, and patience. We may have to deal with distance again in the future, but I know we can handle it as a married couple.

That being said, I do not believe everyone can handle a long distance relationship. I had people ask me for advice before they would end up in an LDR. I would try my best to help them, but every couple has a different dynamic. I believe if you or your partner needs physical touch for their relationship, an LDR is simply not going to work. You both have to set ‘rules’ for distance and adhere to them. Be as open as possible because anything misinterpreted will cause a lot of headache.

I hope this has been some comfort if you are currently in an LDR or is relatable if you have previously been in one.

xx Hannah

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