13 Surprising Benefits of being in a Long Distance Relationship

Thirteen uniquely awesome things about living far away from your significant other

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is one of those obnoxious and inspirational quotes everyone seems to tell couples starting out on their first long distance relationship. Oh, your boyfriend of three years is going to college out-of-state? You will be ok. Distance makes the heart grow stronger.

It would be a nice sentiment if it wasn’t accompanied by that nagging thought in the back of the speaker’s mind (that they are much too polite to actually say): I give them four months. Six, max.

For couples “new” to the whole long distance relationship thing, I highly recommend Chris Bell’s Book: The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide 

Or, of course, my own book (written right after my husband and I moved to Tokyo and our LDR ended) My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book

My sister, Ryosuke, his niece, his nephew, and I on Skype

My sister, Ryosuke, his niece, his nephew, and I on Skype

However, a study in the Journal of Communications has shown that absence might truly make the heart grow fonder and that couples who participate in a healthy long-distance relationship can have more meaningful interactions than couples who see each other daily. Apparently you can judge how meaningful an interaction is. How novel.

Science aside, my husband and I both agree that the nearly two years of long distance before marriage did the most to strengthen our relationship. Or, more specifically, we have both decided that we communicated most efficiently when we lived in different cities. When we had to work for it (Skype, email, video messages, etc), we treasured what the other person said. But when we live together like most “normal” couples, we only vaguely listen to what the other person says in between Netflix episodes, our weekly jog, and arguing over whose turn it is to take out the garbage (it is always his turn).

Every time I tell someone that doing the whole “long distance relationship” thing actually strengthened my relationship, they laugh. Or look skeptical.

I don’t blame them.

But before you judge your friends in long distance relationships, check out these 13 ways that long distance relationships can help, rather than hurt, a couple:

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1. The knowledge that if your survive the distance, your relationship can survive anything

Once upon a time, boy met girl, they fell in love, and lived happily ever after in the same house for the next three generations.

That was then. This is now.

Between study abroad, job transfers, the “two body problem,” and a million other reasons for couples to live in different cities, long distance relationships are becoming mainstream. Or, if not mainstream, at least more socially widespread.

And more than anything else, these long distance relationships are becoming a viable alternative to breaking up.

According to a study done by Cornell University (see a longer article on Huffington Post, here) between a quarter and one half of college students are currently in a long distance relationship. I believe that.

comic amwf ldr long distance skype cartoon

However, as anyone in college can tell you, most of these relationships do not last. Between late-night “study sessions,” parties, and “break-vember” (the nick-name many college students give the first November of their Freshman year – most high school sweethearts call it quits around this time), successful long distance relationships are few and far between.

And I’m sure that means a lot of things, but to most of my friends in long distance relationships, it means that if they can survive the distance, they can survive anything.

[For more, check out: The Hardest Part of a Long-Distance Relationship – 12 steps for making it work]

2. You don’t have to be presentable all the time – you can have off days.

You can go weeks without shaving. You can wear sweatpants all day. You can skip wearing makeup. You can stream Netflix if you’re feeling lonely.

You’re allowed to mope and feel depressed every once and a while because the love of your life lives half-way across the world. Basically, when you’re in a long distance relationship you can have “off” days. And no one can judge you for it.

3. Long distance relationships are a lesson in effective communication

I didn’t think it was possible, but early in my married life, I realized I could spend months living with someone without having a “real” conversation. If Ryosuke and I didn’t specifically set aside time to have a heart-to-heart, we could go days, weeks, or even months without talking about how he really felt when I put my feet up on his chair during dinner [hint, he didn’t like it].

After all, don’t rock the boat if everything is going smoothing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. [insert similar “everything is fine” phrase].

[For more, check out: Don’t Blame the Distance – 6 Tips for Skyping During a Long Distance Relationship]

During the nearly two years of long distance, we would chat on Skype for an hour each morning (my morning, his evening) and an hour and a half each evening (my evening, his morning). What did we talk about for 2-4 hours every day? Honestly, looking back, I have no idea.

But man, those Skype calls were fun.

Skype long distance relationship lrd skype advice amwf couple

Despite the 6,272 miles between us, I felt so close. We were so comfortable together.

It was only almost a month into our honeymoon when we realized something was wrong. Somewhere along the road when we started living together, we forgot how to communicate. We came to the conclusion that if we didn’t set aside an hour a day to talk about our feelings, emotions, insecurities, and dreams, those thoughts often got swept under the rug and replaced with more “fun” topics like “did you see what Clarissa posted on Facebook? What is she doing?” or “I think they should model the next Disney princess off of me because…”

Some of the best conversations we had were living in separate cities – at 8am in a dream-muddled half-awake state while eating leftover Udon for breakfast. Sure, it wasn’t fun to sleep alone, (and face it, being in a long distance relationship can be grueling, lonely, and frustrating) but man… those conversations were killer.

Dr. Crystal Jiang, of the department of communication at the City University in Hong Kong claims “Long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.” (You can read her full transcript, here)

A similar study by Cornell University revealed that while couples in a “normal” relationship tended to have more daily interactions than couples in a long distance relationship, the couples who had hundreds of miles in between them tended to have longer, more meaningful conversations. The university told 63 heterosexual couples, half of which were a long distance relationship, to keep a communication diary and spend the next couple weeks completing questionnaires about their relationships. The distance between the couples varied between 40 and 4,000 miles.

Those in a long distance relationship reported feeling a stronger bond than couples who lived in the same city. They also claimed to feel their partners shared more of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. To be fair, I’m not exactly sure how one measures the amount of emotions their partner shares, but Cornell is a pretty legit University – so I have to believe they know what they are talking about. (Once again, I am quoting from a Huffington Post article, here)

couple wear Japan amwf couple

The takeaway: Cornell thinks that heterosexual couples in long distance relationships are emotionally closer than couples who live in the same city.

4. For it to work, both parties must be equally committed

You can’t half-ass a long distance relationship. As soon as you start to pull back, it becomes painfully obvious that your heart is no longer in it. I’ve written a couple of posts on my blog about surviving a long distance relationship and the comment section of those posts are filled with men and women who are desperate to “win back” their significant other who has been slowly drifting away.

Sadly, I rarely have any advice to give.

One of the first (and most important) things I learned about long distance relationships is that it does not work if both people are not equally committed. And the advice I give all new couples: if you are not 100% committed to making it work, don’t even try.

I’m not saying you have to be ready to walk down the aisle before starting a long distance relationship. You don’t need to have “the marriage talk” with them yet. Heck, you don’t even have to think they are “the one.”

But they need to be a contester for “the one.”

Your five-year plan does not have to center around them… but if they don’t pop up in your 1 year, 5 year, or 10 year plan, what is the point of doing the distance? Really, think about this.

If the love of your life moves halfway across the world, that is not cause to break up just yet. But if the love of your life moves halfway across the world and neither of you has any intention of altering your future to end up in the same city, you should think twice about starting a long distance relationship.

After all, doing the distance for two years while your boyfriend is stationed in California is very different than doing the distance with a German exchange student who is unwilling or unable to move back to the states.

You will have to give up some things to make the distance work. But, if done right, it won’t seem like a sacrifice at all.

For a long distance relationship to work, both parties must be equally committed because staying in a long distance relationship is not the “path of least resistance.” You are either 100% committed or wavering on the edge – and if you are wavering on the edge, it is pretty obvious.

couple wear Japan amwf couple

I can’t count the number of friends in “normal” relationships who have stayed in relationships because it was easier than ending it. They knew their five year plan didn’t include their current boyfriend, but just didn’t “feel like being single, right now.” So they stayed together.

That doesn’t work in long distance relationships. If you’re not fully committed, the hours of Skype, Facetime, and email don’t seem worth it. While I found myself second-guessing our relationship in the earlier, pre-long distance months, after we lived apart, I knew my husband was committed.

If he wasn’t committed, he wouldn’t skip that party with his friends to Skype with me after a long day at work. Even though it got a bit lonely, that security of knowing that he was just as committed as me was the best feeling in the world.

[For more, check out: The Four Stages of a Long-Distance Relationship – Surviving the Separation]

5. You get to experience the life-changing love that you thought only existed in movies

Being in a long distance relationship seems to bring out the inner romantic in everyone. There is something about living several hundred miles away from the love of your life that makes you get creative.

We were interviewed a month ago for Akita's Hottest Man spread. They did a special about us, since we were interracial.

We were interviewed a month ago for Akita’s Hottest Man spread. They did a special about us, since we were interracial.

It’s a bit odd, but some of the most romantic men and women I have ever met spent part of their time in a long distance relationship.

6. They force you to be independent in your relationship

We all know those girls (and to avoid sexism, I will also say boys) who lose themselves in every relationship. Some people haven’t figured out how to be independent in a relationship. They become an extension of their significant other and, to be quite honest, lose that special “spark” that made you want to be friends with them in the first place.

Couples in long distance relationships rarely have that problem. Living apart from your significant other or spouse is a great way to preserve the essence of who you are even though you are in a relationship. This is especially critical for younger couples (high school and college age) who haven’t yet cemented their independence in the “real world.”

It is difficult to live vicariously through your significant other when you don’t share a zip code.

7. You get really good at planning

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is impossible to have a long distance relationship without a plan. Can you imagine how silly that would be?

I’m going to hold off having a romantic or physical relationship with anyone else, on the off chance that the person I am madly in love with will move to my city. Keep your fingers crossed!

Yes, long distance relationships require a lot of complicated things like love, commitment, trust, and emotional compatibility – but they also require a plan. Some of the plans are short-term (ironing out details for the next visit), some are mid-term (I will spend two months of the summer in New York waitressing and staying in his apartment while he works an internship), and some are long-term (when I graduate from college in a year and a half, we will get married and move to Japan).

Remember when I said that long distance relationships require communication? A lot of that communication comes in the form of elaborate planning.

And if practice makes perfect, most long distance couples have gotten the complications of planning down to an art. By the time I graduated college, my then-fiancé and I had our three month, six month, one year, and five year perfected down to a series of twenty second sound bites.

One of which involved a wedding

One of which involved a wedding

We felt confident and secure in our life plans.

8. The relationship is more than physical

You can’t have a “friends with benefits” long distance relationship. Long distance relationships are more like “friends without benefits.” All talking, no sugar.

However, as painful as celibacy may be (and believe me, it can get hard – no pun intended), you rarely have to worry that your significant other is only putting up with you for sex.

Long distance relationships, by definition, are anything but physical.

Skype long distance relationship lrd skype advice amwf couple

These relationships take a lot of emotional work. They require a terrifying level of communication and commitment. As I mentioned before, you can tell when someone doesn’t have their heart in it.

Really, just read any of the comments from love-struck long distrancers on this post. Or this post. Or this post. They throw around words like “soulmate,” “other half,” “meant to be together,” and “love of my life,” like nobody’s business.

Perhaps you idealize your partner when you don’t see them daily, but people in long distance relationships are some of the sappiest romantics I’ve ever found on the internet.

If you need more proof, check out the sub-reddit for Long Distance Relationships. Talk about a loving support group.

9. Your Trust will grow exponentially

I was honest and upfront with my then-boyfriend in the days leading up to his flight back to Japan. “I have trust issues,” I told him, “So, you know, this might not work out.”

He laughed and assured me everything would be fine. I almost believed him.

But as time progressed, a funny thing happened: I got better at trusting him.

It’s funny, when we lived in the same city, I used to fret and wonder what he was doing on nights I had to work late. Who did he eat dinner with? Who is that girl who just posted on his Facebook wall? Even though we spent most our time together, I couldn’t help but wonder what he did when I wasn’t around. Maybe he had a girl on the side. I had friends who were the “other woman” for men with girlfriends who were completely in the dark.

I had no choice in a long distance relationship. Even if I wanted to monitor my boyfriend’s behavior, I couldn’t. And that feeling of helplessness was magical. It was like a great weight was lifted off my shoulders. Even if I wanted to, I physically could not stalk my boyfriend’s every move…. And so I gave up.

Christmas in Japan

Besides, we Skyped every morning during breakfast, sent texts throughout the day, and Skyped every evening for dinner. Between the Skyping, letter writing, texts, and video messages, there wasn’t a lot of room left to cheat.

I knew more of what he was doing during our stint in a long distance relationship (mostly because we would run out of things to talk about) than I did when we went to the same school. It was eerie.

10. It is full of exotic travel and adventure

Every time my husband came into town, I got to do all the touristy things that locals skip over.  Our days were filled with beer factory tours, Tokyo Disneyland, a St. Patty’s Day Parade, taking rowboats out on the lake for a romantic lunch, and street performers. Every visit was special.

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Every time I got off the 11 hour bus ride, my husband would be waiting with a bouquet of flowers and chocolate; every time he got off the bus, I would be waiting with (badly) homemade breakfast. Sometimes, when the bus got to be too much, we would meet in the middle for a weekend of exotic travel. We went skiing, climbed mountains, soaked in hot springs, and rowed across several man-made Japanese lakes.

We would see each other between one and three times a month – but it was more than “seeing each other.” Each weekend was like a mini-vacation.

Now, happily married in a small apartment, we miss those days when we had an excuse to pack up and leave for the weekend. Responsibilities are no fun at all.

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11. Both parties get plenty of “me” time

It is very easy to idealize your partner’s behavior when you don’t spend all day with them. Along with fostering independence, long distance relationships give you plenty of “me” time.

Because I knew about how much time we would spend on our daily Skype sessions (between one and four hours), I could plan my day accordingly. Each day had “me” time factored in between Skype dates, homework, work, and cooking. This was important because we are different people with different needs. My husband is more of an extrovert, he can go weeks without any “me” time and be perfectly happy. If I don’t get at least thirty minutes of “me” time a day, I get cranky.

When we lived apart, I could get my “me” time whenever I needed. Now that we live together, I send my husband on errands to get my “me” time.

I’m sure some people find the startling amount of alone time, well, lonely, but I found it refreshing.

12. Long distance relationships teach you to clearly express, plan, and adjust your expectations

Couples in long distance relationships communicate. For fun. It’s weird. All that communication has benefits, though (aside from the male half of the relationship miserable) – both parties get very good at effectively communicating.

Effective communication, in turn, leads to being able to express your expectations more clearly.

13. You learn how to prioritize time with your significant other

Like most “selfish Americans,” I get so caught up in doing my own thing that I sometimes forget that my husband also has needs. Specifically, I forget to appreciate, acknowledge, and respect how he spends his day, not because I don’t care, but because I am often so caught up in how I am spending my day that I forget to check in with him.

My husband tells me it is completely natural. “You get so used to seeing me, that you stop actually seeing me.” (In one of his rare, deep moments)

During our nearly two years of long distance, my friends learned early on that I couldn’t do dinner unless it was before 8pm (when I lived in America) or that unless it was a special occasion, dinner was out of the question (when I lived in Tokyo). Night-time was for Skyping with my then-fiancé.

Skyping Japan Skype during Long distance relationship

We would set laptops up in the kitchen and cook together while we chatted about our day. Sometimes we would cook the same thing; sometimes he would finish twenty minutes ahead and munch on stir-fry while I scraped burnt salmon from the frying pan. Then I would pour a glass of wine, turn the lights down low, and pretend we were at a fancy restaurant together (while I munched on burnt salmon). We would laugh, joke, and talk about everything under the sun.

About once a week, one of us would cancel our Skype dinner date to hang out with friends, but we would always let the other one know ahead of time.

So just remember….

Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. They are full of meaningless arguments, jealousy, sleeping alone, and second-guessing whether it is “really worth it.”

I did it for two years – and then I married the man.

Wedding Ursinus College Grace and Ryosuke amwf wedding amww couple

Yes, being in a long distance relationship is difficult, but when it is with the right person, it isn’t half bad. It taught us a lot about ourselves, things we might not have figured out otherwise.

So next time your friend tells you about how her and her boyfriend will be doing the distance during his first year of college, don’t count them out just yet. Who knows what will happen. They might just make it after all.



If you liked this post, please check out my comic book on Amazon! My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

74 Comments on 13 Surprising Benefits of being in a Long Distance Relationship

  1. I absolutely loved this post! Each point was beautifully explained and all contain a lot of truth (although each experience is most indeed different). I read this with my boyfriend (currently in a long distance relationship as well) and I really enjoyed the topics that arose with him upon reading this.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Long distance is definitely a challenge, but so worthwhile. My wife and I got married in October last year after a two year international long distance relationship. It’s been interesting getting used to being close to someone who before that I saw for a total of five weeks. I can definitely relate to almost forgetting how to communicate properly. If my wife and I aren’t careful we can easily go days without REALLY talking. It’s almost like we have to relearn the relationship, haha.

  3. Im in a ldr as well. Me and my bf are together and we love each other dearly. The trust is 100%. And i have a small toddler who iust turned one and although he and beingg a full time student takes up alot of my time i still find time to text or call of facetime him. The problem for me is he isnt a big phone person. He doesnt really use his phone to talk on the phone or ft alot unless ots with me., so i appreciate his efforts on upping the communication its just dofficult when hes so prone to not communicate, any advice?

  4. Thank u for sharing ur story.We been in a long distance for 5years his in califonia and im in south africa .We dated five years before he left i was 24 .We did long distance for two years and we got engaged and the onther year we got married and know i apply for my k3 visa to join him and we still waiting for two years for the papers to come out but thats my life i love uvsnd one daywill be together claris

  5. Hi, thank you for sharing this. I am also in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend who is currently serving in the Middle East, and it really gets really hard to cope with the distance, especially him being in great risk, but we just have to get through it, and find means to be closer to each other even though we’re miles apart.

    It’s really frustrating sometimes, not being together, but I do agree. Having off times, just like not being pressured to look great all the time, have its upside. But I make sure to look really good during our Skype sessions. Just like preparing for a date.

    I also began sharing my thoughts and advice on long distance relationships in my blog http://lovefindsways.com

  6. Thank you for this inspiring article.

  7. Maria Hart // 12 August, 2015 at 11:43 pm //

    That is good and appreciated if you don’t have kids yet. That is applicable for a couple or soon to be couple, but not to a parents who is living their family in a long distance just to work.

  8. “If he wasn’t committed, he wouldn’t skip that party with his friends to Skype with me after a long day at work. ”

    My boyfriend is currently overseas for studies, and while I wish he would do that and I have shared my thoughts with him, I also feel selfish for wanting that. I want more time with him but at the same time I want him to be making new friends, doing new things etc (though I absolutely hate that I’m not there to experience it with him, I want it for him). I feel terribly selfish for even thinking that.

  9. I really like point number ten! That is what I find with my boyfriend, I have done so so much more exploring of all the interesting places around where I live because of him! Although sometimes I feel like we always HAVE to be doing something exciting when really it would be nice to just sit quietly together and chat

  10. Anonymous // 28 June, 2015 at 1:55 am //

    amazing post…it helps me a lot…at this very moment, me and my love are dealing with .l.d.r…i have a lot of questions and worries going through my mind but after reading this post, your story boost my confidence that l.d.r do have happy ending… your story inspire me a lot… love conquers all no matter how far you are from each other… someone should make a movie about l.d.r. it will help a lot of people who are in l.d.r …

  11. I’m not sure what was on my mind when I clicked on the link to read this article, but right now all I can think of is thanking you. Thank you so much for sharing your life with the world. This article, like the many others on your blog, was extremely thoughtful. And really, that’s what we all need in our lives right now, in a world so deeply entrenched in anything but: we need people like you, who are filled with a passion for what they encounter in their lives. We need this capacity to think and consider – no matter where or how it is applied, no matter how big or small, important or “trivial” the matter seems.
    So again, thank you for what you do. Thank you for looking into the face of the Internet and still opening up to it. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  12. Hi. Ive been in a long distance relationship for 5 years now. We used to go 6 months without seeing eachother. Now its 1-2 :) im curious as to how you planned your wedding? Your two families were so far apart so how did you go about bringing them all together?? Email me maybe :)

  13. Fanya B // 12 May, 2015 at 6:29 pm //

    Wow Grace, what a mature and amazing article. I’m going to repost it on my fb!

  14. There is no doubt, that each relationship has plenty of advantages. The long-distance relationship as well ;) Maybe it’s a little bit more difficult than ‘normal’ relationships but it’s not impossible. I have a girlfriend from Poland and lives there, I live in my country France. We just meet often, talk to each other every day… We met on a website e-polishwife.com It’s hard now but we know that it’s gonna change so… I think It’s worth of waiting for ;)

  15. Your posts are really really encouraging! I am in an LDR too, From 2 years and we have 3 hours difference, I have never been this happy and I know he feels the same. We had so many ups and downs. He is a very jealous person so yeah you can guess. Not exactly two years but it’s going to be 2 years on 28th May! That is just some weeks away.. We kinda fought on our last anniversary and ruined it and I wanna make it special this time! I want ideas! Thank you so much and I love your pictures with your husband and everything. <3 Mashallah!

  16. Anonymous // 27 April, 2015 at 3:30 am //

    Me n my bf too r in a long distance relationship and we haven’t met since 4 months since we both are college students but believe me the excitement that u get on seeing each other again can’t be matched to anything…we do have fights once in a while but then we keep our feelings and emotions in front of each other and then we are better than what we were before….we have always trusted each other so trust is not an issue..but jealousy is…we do get jealous many times…but then I feel we are actually better than couples who stay in the same city because I know that my bf is with me because he truly loves me..and he always shows that he cares…what you said in your article “friends without benifits” ….to.conclude…long distance relationship can actually be better than normal relationships if the feelings are mutual :)

  17. Hi Grace! I really enjoyed your article :) I’ve tried long-distance with my ex-boyfriend but he was not committed at all and it was afwul. Then I met my current boyfriend who became first my best friend and when he found a job somewhere else and decided to move, I was kind of scared about going long-distance again. But just as you describe, when communication flows naturally, when you Skype-date and talk minimum two times a day (I don’t feel so weird now cooking my dinner with my computer on by my side :)), that means something is really strong and working! I feel identified with every one of the points you mention. So, just a word of encouragement to all couples out there going through the long-distance phase! Of course, for me it’s essential to plan and try to see each other at least once a month, and then every visit is super special as you say.
    Hopefulle, we’ll follow your path and be living together-forever next year!! :)

    Keep living the love!!

  18. Long distance relationships are not that all difficult and impossible. There are a lot of ways on how to make a long distance relationship really fun and happy. Being someone who was in the similar situation I can say, I have learned a lot.

  19. Hi Grace,

    So i have read this blog and i really like it! but i’m in a LDR right now with a girl i really love. but she’s from another country and different religion. I’m really scared that our families don’t accept each other. I’m really scared of losing her. I still got 4 more years in college and she’s older than me by 2 years so..can you help me out? x)

  20. Great article! I can totally relate to it.

    – Annika

  21. Thank you so much for writing this Grace. Words cannot describe how much I needed to read something positive about LDR’s for once on the internet. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years. We went to high school together and were lucky enough to choose to go to colleges that are only 15 min away from each other. This year has been difficult as we both decided that we are going to study abroad, him in London for the entire year and me in Rome this upcoming Spring. Obviously he has been there for the past three months now and needless to say it has been extremely hard on me. Every time we fight, I get more and more scared and begin to question if this is the right thing to do. But I know that I love him and I want this to work more than anything. My own insecurities have been our biggest downfall and I’m hoping that I’ve been improving on my own self confidence throughout this experience. I am worried, however, for when he returns in December for a month. Did you ever feel like your significant other was going to come back completely changed? He visited in late October and everything seemed normal however I am a person who typically worries and this is something I’ve just now began to think more about.

    Again, thank you so much for writing this. I have seen nothing but negative responses on the internet for the past three months and finally came across something positive! We Skype pretty regularly and often even fall asleep Skyping. I know that we are stronger than even we give ourselves credit for, I am just worried now that we are wearing down and things are going to be even more different when I go abroad in the Spring to Rome.

  22. Anonymous // 1 December, 2014 at 4:34 am //

    Thank you for this article! I am by no means in an LDR as I live with my boyfriend, but we spend 2-3 nights apart as we both have long commutes to work and we both have early mornings. Due to the gas prices of driving back and forth and the early morning traffic my boyfriend faces, he sometimes will stay at his mom’s for the night to be closer to work. We have had many fights about this as I want him here always, but this is a temporary situation as I hope to find a job in the opposite direction of where I am so we can move closer to both of our jobs and cut down the commute. We lived together for 6 months where I lived an hour from work and he lived 15 minutes away, so we moved here 2 months ago to make it more equal for us. I struggle with this a lot, but your blog made me realize the importance of me time. When he is around, I don’t do my graduate school work like I should or other things, and I need to take advantage of the nights he’s not around so I can get these things done. My nights without him do get lonely, but I’m working on trying to be more positive about this temporary situation and realize things could be way worse! Thank you for making me see things more positively and reminding me that we can do this. Congratulations on your own marriage!

  23. Hi Grace, what a breath of fresh air! Your article put so much hope in my heart. I’m in a LDR and we made a deal to not video call till we meet for the first time next year. She’s in Malaysia and I in New Zealand.
    Some claim we are crazy (even I thought the same too!) but my girlfriend assured me this small sacrifice will be so worth it later on. I almost lost her when I couldn’t commit to it. But then I realized I couldn’t live without her.
    Since the time we met online 2 months ago, we’ve never had a day without talking to each other or sending random pictures via Viber or WhatsApp. We sleep to the soothing sound of each other’s breath over the phone, eat together (she loves my munching sound haha) and speak or text while getting groceries, cooking or work done.
    Yes, it is hard work and yes, it can be frustrating not being able to touch or see that person you’ve grown to love so much but knowing that we have a future together makes this short-term pain so worth it.
    Thanks for sharing a piece of both of you and allowing us to share our stories with others too.
    God bless all LDR couples and may we all have only the best lives with our soulmates, distance or no distance!

  24. I love this! It helped me realize that I can do a LDR with my best friend :) he and I have been close friends for 4 years now, we talk every single day. And it wasn’t until recently, and between relationships (bad ones might I add) that we realized we cared for each other more deeply than just close friends. And we talked about doing a LDR since we live in different states now, and I was scared. I was worried that it wouldn’t work out and that somehow it would ruin my friendship with him, but like you said both parties have to be 100% committed to doing this and we’re both ready :) so thank you for writing this, it has helped me so much :)

  25. I really loved this article! Being in an LDR at 15 (super close to 16!) we can’t really benefit off some things, but the main thing was #1, we’ve been in a lot of fights, but not once has splitting even been an option for us, we always come out stronger than before! I’m also using this article as a source for an essay in class, it’s so helpful with my topic.

  26. Wow…this was quite timely…from my experience abt LDR cos am currently in one is to believe in what you share. Love conquerers all. With the right attidude and a very healthy self esteem u are good to go. Everyones experience is unique because of diff circumstances and life experiences, follow your heart put everything in prayers and allow Gods will to be done. LDR gives u d opportunity to express feelings u ordinarily keep to urself, shared moments in an LDR are priceless always make the best of it. Avoid being too clingy nd needy rather offer support and learn to give and respect your partners space. It is a selfleSs type of relationship and if u can just hang in there, trust me u will end up in a blissful union where u will never be taken for granted. Remember consistency is key, dnt change when u eventually come together as one!

  27. Hey! I just read your article, and it truly filled me with hope.
    My bf and I have been together for 15 months now. I’m in high school and I still have 3 years, my boyfriend is 3 years older than me so he is going to be studying abroad for the next 4 years. He is my first ever boyfriend, and I am his first ever girlfriend. We are deeply in love -even though most people say that it’s impossible to “actually” love someone at this age- we really are. So, we will get to see each other in every 4 months. Like, in december he will be here and we will spend a few days together then he will be off again. Then he will come back in may and stay about 3 months.
    Last summer, he was in a summer school, again in the USA. And we didn’t see each other for 3 months. After those painful 3 months, I can honestly say that our relationship was much stronger. This really encouraged us to get into a LDR. However, it gives me so much pain thinking I won’t see him until december :( If we can survive after 3 years, I will move to where he will be staying. It seems so tough :(

    • Hi Laura,

      Best of luck! Age, really, is just a number. People can’t tell you when you’re “old enough” to fall in love and for that love to be “real.” I met my husband when I was 18, we dated for several years, and tied the knot and moved to Japan. A lot of people didn’t think we would make the distance, and for whatever reason, that just made us work even harder.
      Best of luck for your upcoming LDR (again). Hopefully y’all are able to figure out a way to see each other regularly!

  28. ll in all we have been together 5 ½ years, we started off in the same town but moved to different cities but another country three years ago. Its typically every five months we see each other. It’s annoying but I just have to remind myself that it is worth all the doubts and the shitty moments where you do the ‘angry toddler cry’. Am I the only one that does that?

    There is no end date, as such. But when I think of the things I have got to do and see, how far I have grown it is pretty neat. Same for him too. I have offered to move towards him, but he isn’t ready for that. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that either. So we will keep doing our thing. I have mentioned that I would like to live in the UK for a bit and he seemed okay with that, just a bit (a lot) further to fly. I mean, how many relationships can really do that?

    He has just visited, so my wounds are fresh. Around day five I start slipping back to my normal routine. It’s funny, with the distance – I trust him more now. I guess it’s just down to the fact that I have too, there’s nothing I can do. Thank you for writing this, so good to see a realistic POV.

  29. #1 is something my girlfriend and I constantly remind each other, if we can survive the distance, then no obstacle is too big. It’s definitely nice to see someone else who agrees!

    • I completely agree! Everything else seems kind of ‘silly’ in comparison – like if you’ve already figured out how to communicate effectively and survive through physical separation, than you can probably handle pretty much everything else :)

  30. great article! I’ve met my boyfriend just 2 months ago while I was on an exchange and everything was beyond perfect, we even ended up living together for my last month there but now we are 6000 miles apart for at least another month and a half. It’s been almost a month and i’m still having those ‘off’ days when you feel like death, any advice on how to get through those awful days? :/

  31. Hey Grace, you’re a great writer and I am so impressed at how well you put into words the experience of AMWF from a female perspective on this blog!

    I agree that in LDRs, both parties are forced to communicate or else lose interest/go crazy. It is really so tough in the beginning (the loneliness at night used to be the worst for me) but then as the trust grows, you realise how much you care about them and that you need to talk about the deeper insecurities as well as the day to day stuff to make the relationship work. And when you finally do see each other again, it’s BOOM! Long distance certainly makes the heart beat faster :)
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog!

    • Hey Eliza,

      Thank you so much! Sorry for such a late reply~
      I think LDRs are amazing for making a relationship work. It really does teach you how to appreciate them more. And how to “be yourself” while still in a relationship.
      Best of luck in your LDR!

  32. My boyfriend and I have a “medium distance relationship” (he lives in the same province as me, but 45 minutes outside of my city) so even though we see each other every week these tips are still very helpful. I think making/eating dinner on Skype is adorable. When we couldn’t see each other for a good amount of time, we would game (D3 or LoL)while talking to each other over Skype of Teamspeak.. it was nice because it still felt like we were hanging out together. (also- my bf isn’t asian but I still love your blog, we both would like to go to Japan one day)

    • That sounds really fun :)
      I tried to get my husband into gaming (but for whatever reason it just didn’t stick). I like those Skype-dates that kind of feel like a regular hang-out, though. Good luck with your LDR 9or “medium distance relationship).

  33. Laurel Poole // 17 June, 2014 at 3:40 am //

    I absolutely loved this. My fiance and I have been long distance since we started dating, before that we were best friends through highschool. In the beginning it was only an hour distance and so we were able to see each other once a week. He just moved 4 hours away for a new job so now its even longer! We are getting married in a year and I cant wait to finally be in the same city! We were talking last night about the benefits of being in a LDR and communication was our #1 benefit! For real though, our communication is better than most couples in our generation. I feel like now it is just enough to text because yyou will see them later or in a day, but with LDR you have to really work for it. Those skype sessions are what I look forward to most in the evenings! Yes, LDR are hard, but if you work for it it turns into someting beautiful and generally (if it works) is stronger than if you were to have been in the same city. I am so happy I saw this! thanks so much for adding a few more benefits to our list! I am emailing this to him now!

  34. Catalina Sánchez // 20 May, 2014 at 5:47 am //


    Touched me to the heart, I have a so-distance relationship, we are from different regions and we visit once a month, but brought 3 years and more … I’m really glad that your story has materialized, makes me feel hopeful and happy. I hope that in your life many more joys arise!. I read part of your article in a newspaper of Chile (I’m Chilean, of city of Concepcion), your love and history crossed!, I admire you <3

    Success in all, for the present and future with the person you love!

    PS: Sorry if my English is not so good xD

    Atte: Catalina S.

    • Thank you so much :)

      Good luck for your long distance relationship! I’m so glad you have been able to make it for 3 years already :)
      It’s wonderful being able to spend so much time with the person you love!

  35. La'Belle // 7 May, 2014 at 2:51 am //

    Hi Grace! I’m only in Japan for 6 months for uni and I’ve got another 4 months to go. I met someone back home just before coming here, and we’ve naturally moved into a LDR kind of thing. I happened across your blog when I was looking for tips on how to pay my bills in Japan, and then got sucked into reading all your other posts and couldn’t stop!
    Reading about your LDR experience, and the fact that it helped to strengthen the communication between you and your husband really gave me the confidence that LDR can work. I’m actually really glad that I’m starting out long distance because it’s making sure that we’re taking the time to talk to each other properly and understanding each other. If we can survive the distance for the first 6 months, then any thing is possible (sorry to sound corny haha!). And we’ve been trying out your skype tips too ;) So yeah, I just want to say thanks for sharing your story and I love your blog!

    • Oh wow, thanks!
      I don’t think that’s corny at all – really, if you can survive the distance, you can survive ANYTHING. I knew a couple of people who started dating right before they went abroad. Some made it; some didn’t (but the ones that made it back then are still together).
      It’s really cool.

      I wish you all the best in your LDR – and hope you still have an AWESOME time studying abroad in Japan!

  36. There’s a chance that he might be able to call one day in November when his family is allowed to visit, but we don’t know when that will happen or if it will happen.

    Thanks though. :) Reading your blog gives me hope.

  37. Reading this makes me feel better about my and my boyfriend’s decision to try LD in about 2 months (he’s Ecuadorian, I’m an exchange student from the US and I’ll be going home in July… We’ll have had 8 months of being together in a more than friends relationship). Just knowing that although it will be hard, there will be some upsides makes me more optimistic. The part that scares me the most at this point is the school he is hoping to go to for university is a military school, and he won’t be allowed any outside contact at all for the first 3 months. I’m leaving him a bunch of letters to read on specific days for that time, and he is planning to do the same for me.

    I do have a question though. Any advice for couples who will be going into a LDR for the time that they have left together? Might seem like an odd question, but I’m asking.

    • Wow. No outside contact for the first three months? That’s pretty intense… The letters seems like a brilliant idea :)

      I don’t have to much advice aside from just always remember the long term. LDRs are tough – even more when you can’t talk to each other often or have a solid end goal in mind… But with love trust and commitment, it’s not too bad.

  38. Jessica Yui // 19 March, 2014 at 8:53 am //

    Honestly, I am really happy to have read this article. I am a girl currently living in Norway and my boyfriend lives in Japan. So we are through a LDR. I have to admit it’s not easy being so far away from someone you like so much. But reading this was really interesting.

    However, I am moving to Japan next year. But even then, it will be a long distance relationship as I must study in Tokyo, and he lives in Aomori pref.

    No of my friends seem to understand out LDR. It’s really frustrating how people don’t take LDR seriously, or make fun out of it. But, I don’t care. I like him. And I know this will work out. Hah.

    Once again, Thank you for this post !

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry to interrupt like this, but I will be in the same situation as you (one year in Japan next year, but will still be in a LDR there). I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. I’m really frustrated about people that don’t take my LDR seriously, too. But don’t let it get you down. If what you have with your boyfriend is real and feels right, then forget about the others. That’s what I’m trying to do anyway! :)

      I hope this comment brought a little support! Go go AMWF community going through LDRs! Haha

      • I love both the LDR and AMWF communities because everyone is so supportive and thoughtful.

        So yeah. Good luck. We should all start a support group for people in LDRs in Japan :)
        Share night bus tips and stuff

    • Ah I just realized, I was quick to think you’re a AMWF couple, I’m sorry if that’s not the case! (Because you currently live in Norway, I thought that right away. Sorry!).

    • I remember that feeling. It’s so frustrating when people don’t take LDRs seriously. Especially when it’s long term.

      I also lived in Tokyo when my boyfriend was in Akita. It was hard but the night busses are pretty affordable. I would leave on Friday night and get back Monday morning :)
      It worked really well for us- I hope it works just as well for you!!

  39. I almost never ever share comments on online forums, but had to come here to say this. Thank you for this article. It is the best summary of what it’s like to be in an LDR thus far, and I’ve read plenty. My girlfriend and have been dating with a few states between us for about a year and a half now, and at first, it was crushingly hard. However, as I’ve seen friends’ relationships fall apart fairly quickly, I feel very confident that she is the woman I’ll marry because of the trust and closeness we have even when we aren’t physically around each other. Being in an LDR sucks most of the time, but it does have its distinct advantages. She should be moving to my city in maybe another year and a half. We just keep our motto in the fronts of our minds: “We’ll get there one day.”

    • I’m so glad to hear y’all have already planned the “big move.” That’s wonderful.
      I do really agree with what you said, being in an LDR sucks move of the time, but it really does have distinct advantages. Most of the people I know in LDR are pretty sure their significant other is “the one” (or at least someone they would consider marrying) – a talk a lot of them didn’t have when they lived in the same city (I guess there wasn’t that sense of urgency).
      Good luck!

  40. I really, really appreciate this post. That is all.

  41. Doh. That was me. I don’t know why I am “Anonymous” Aunt Sheron

    • I was wondering why that comment was unexpectedly deep. I also still cherish the advice you gave me the day before my wedding: “Before he was your husband, he was your best friend. And sometimes your husband and your friend might be on different sides – so every once and a while, you can pull him aside and say ‘I need to talk to my best friend for a bit.'”
      Or something like that. You said it much more eloquently.

  42. Sometimes when I need to talk with my husband (we have been together for 20 years), I leave the house on an errand and then call him. Sometimes that is the only way to get his attention fully.

    Thanks for all your thoughts about relationships. Even after 20 years they are still mysterious.

  43. Yeah, I’m married and STILL doing the LDR! lol. as soon as I graduate, I’ll be moving to san diego to be with him!!! <3 so excited

  44. This is amazing. You always write exactly what I think! I wish people around me would read such posts before saying things to me like “But aren’t you afraid he will cheat on you?”. God.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know… I started writing posts about what it’s like to be an AMWF couple and being in a long distance relationship, too (I already have a blog, but I was only writing about japanese culture, not about my couple). You inspired me to talk about it. I had, and still have, all these ideas (and sometimes anger or joy) building inside me but I wasn’t doing anything about it. Also, I didn’t find a lot of french blogs about LDR and AMWF couples. So I thought I could do something about it.

    I’ve written about couples that don’t have the same mother tongue, and I was surprised how people seemed to enjoy it. It’s all thanks to you :)

    And of course, I would like to read your book if it comes out someday!

    • I really, REALLY hated that “but aren’t you afraid he will cheat on you?” line. It was the worst. Ugh.

      Also, a late congrats for jumping into the AMWF genre. It’s fun, I’ve had a great time connecting with other AMWF-ers. I look forward to reading your LDR posts :)
      What is your blog URL? For whatever reason, I can’t find it on my “favorite” blog list (I keep on Microsoft Word)

      Thanks. I will keep you posted on the book progress! And, of course, I’m also looking for other LDR couples to interview (both on my blog and on the book, if it ever happens). If you would be interested in doing a guest post for this blog’s “Share your story” it could probably boost your blog’s traffic by a bit (and every link counts with Google Search Rank).
      Anyways, as always, thanks for the fun and uplifting comments!

      • Can you read French? :D My blog isn’t in English. I thought about writing in English, but there’s already some blogs on LDR using that language and my family mostly doesn’t speak it, so they wouldn’t have understood.

        My blog is http://japanxholic.wordpress.com/

        Yes I thought about submitting a post for “Share Your Story” (such a great idea by the way!). I’ll try to write a post about it soon :D Thank you!

        • Oh ok, now I remember. I had checked out your blog earlier but can’t speak a word of French :/ Sorry!
          (American public education system at work here – the first foreign language class I took was my third year of high school!)

          I have a couple Japanese friends who publish each post in Japanese, then in English (but I think that’s mostly to just practice writing English). I don’t know. But that makes sense.

          Let me know if you decide to do a “Share your story” post, I would love to hear it! Take your time :)

  45. I think this rings very true. A lot of people don’t give people in long distance relationships enough credit. Sure, it kind of sucks, but it’s not as bad as media makes it out to be.
    I happen to LIKE being in a long distance relationship!

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