A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my boyfriend’s move across the country for his dream job. Despite having made the decision to move with him down the road, I was writing from a place of hurt and anger. He had moved with little notice, and I was left behind.
After years of spending almost every day together, his move was really hard on me at first. I felt lonely and depressed and had no energy or motivation to do anything I loved. It was a huge change for both our relationship and my own personal lifestyle, and I was finding the changes very difficult to accept.
However after a couple weeks of self-pity, I was starting to adjust to my new lifestyle and I began to realize that I am actually enjoying this new experience. Of course I miss him and don’t enjoy being away from him all the time, but having this time to myself before a huge transition (like moving across the country for him) has been a really healthy experience for me both mentally and emotionally.
I am now very grateful for this time apart.
And I’m seriously just doin’ me.
What My Long Distance Relationship Has Taught Me
Make Time for Yourself
While having more time to yourself might not seem like a plus, when you’ve been in a relationship for a number of years, time to yourself can be a luxury.
Whether I was at work, at the gym, or out with friends, I would come home to my boyfriend. This meant that any alone time (with myself) went right out the window. I’ve realized that I had forgotten how nice it is to just be alone. With him away, I’ve been able to spend time exploring activities that I want to do (like watching the past 6 seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey) and have become comfortable spending time alone again.
At such a young age, I think it’s incredibly important to explore things on my own and learn from my own experiences. Having my boyfriend’s support is great, but I want to feel like if we broke up today, I would still be the same person with or without him.
Being apart has taught me that making time for myself and exploring my interests on my own should always be a priority, whether I’m in a relationship or not.
Continue to Build New Friendships
While I’ve always been someone who makes friendships a priority in my life (hence my post about the importance of having girlfriends), not having my boyfriend around to spend time with has forced me to find friends who can provide me with more than just a good time.
Intentionally seeking out quality friendships over party friendships has made me realize that I’ve had so many amazing people around me for the past couple years, yet I neglected to build strong friendships with any of them until now because my boyfriend was always my primary source of emotional support.
In my opinion, this was a huge mistake and I feel very embarrassed about it. I have been missing out on such fulfilling friendships with people that I have known for all these years, and I credit my stability throughout this difficult transition in my life to them and their support.
This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of continuing to build all types of friendships when you’re in a relationship. Having only one person in your life as your primary source of social interaction, entertainment, and emotional support is not enough, as that person might not always be there.
Keep Trying New Things
When you’re in a relationship, it can be easy to get into routines, or even ruts, of eating the same meals, going to the same restaurants or bars, hanging out with the same people (or couples), and doing the same activities every weekend together. It can be a struggle to convince each other to try something new because the old is just so easy.
Having time away from my boyfriend has forced me to be more social, which in turn, has allowed me to try so many new things. I’ve tried new types of ethnic food, explored different areas of my own city, gone to the theatre, and switched up my plans every evening!
While my boyfriend’s been away, I’ve had to create a life for myself so that I don’t get lonely, because I no longer have someone there to hang out and do nothing with. Creating this new life has had to involve being open to other people’s suggestions, whether I want to go do that activity or not.
And I am so glad that I have learned to go with the flow in social situations and this attitude has exposed me to so many new experiences that I’m so grateful for.