With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, many people might be mulling over their current relationship status. One thing that so many university students have in common is the fact that many of us are in long distance relationships. This can make Valentine’s day a little more difficult for us to swallow. Relationships are complicated enough, especially when you’re young, so distance exaggerates some aspects of a relationship, some for the better, some for the worse. While there are so many amazing things that come from being in a long distance relationship, such as a stronger sense of self image and that little things, like hugging or talking face to face, are more meaningful than that of a normal relationship, there are many hardships as well. Valentine’s Day, for some of us, can serve as a casual reminder of all the things that make long distance so difficult.
I recently had a friend tell me that a long distance relationship isn’t a real relationship, but instead, it’s the promise of one. I completely disagree. I’ve been in two long distance relationships, one was with my first love when I was fourteen, and the second I’m still a part of now. In comparison to relationships I’ve been in that were not long distance, there really aren’t many differences in terms of commitment or emotions towards the other person. Especially for those people who have moved away from their significant other to come to university, the biggest differences seem to be in the time you’re able to dedicate to one another, and in communication. Many people go from being inseparable and spending time with their loved one everyday to barely finding the time to call once a week. Work and school make it harder to schedule time for one another, and if there is a time difference, it only makes the problem worse. If you’re in a situation like I am where you’re dating an exchange student, which happens at universities like Concordia that have such excellent opportunities for semesters abroad, you could even end up with as big of a time difference as eight hours. It’s hard to be happy for your friends when they’re talking about their Valentine’s Day plans and you’re wondering whether or not you and your partner will get a chance to talk on the day at all. When your friends are gushing about being able to take their date out, envisioning the perfect moment to kiss them, and wondering whether or not they’ll be sleeping alone that night, it’s hard not to be bitter about the fact you haven’t talked to your boyfriend or girlfriend face to face in weeks or months.
I’m writing this article because there are many of us in university that are in long distance relationships, and this month is going to be tougher than the usual. I want this to serve as a casual reminder to support your friend’s happiness this month. If you’re in a long distance relationship, make time for your significant other, and don’t let the distance discourage you from loving that person with your whole heart. Even if you find it cheesy, don’t feel bad about taking Valentine’s Day to be straight forward in your relationship and reaffirm how much you love the person you’re with. It’s still not too late to send a handwritten letter by snail mail, or to remember to send that extra good morning or goodnight text. For those of you that aren’t in a long distance relationship, support your friends who are. For Valentine's Day this year, I think everyone should focus on loving their significant other regardless of their current situation and just plain loving the people around them. Being in a long distance relationship is a great reminder that the holiday isn’t about chocolates and flowers and expensive dates, but a day to remind us of how lucky we are to have people who love us in our lives. As much as Valentine’s Day can be a difficult day for people in long distance relationships, it’s also the best reminder to be appreciative of your partner and keep putting in the effort, because they’re worth it.