On Long Distance Engagement
Every month or so we will feature short essays from guest writers on experiences they've had, things they've learned, and ways they've grown. Ideally these will all be relatable posts that will make someone else feel less alone in whatever they are dealing with. That's my goal. This post is from alicia and what she went through managing an engagement and long distance relationship at the same time. alicia lives in portland, oregon with her (now!) husband and is in medical school!! i'm so proud of her! but enough about me, here are her words:
Let's start with the sad part first: My fiancé, Colin, and I (hello, Alicia here) lived on separate coast lines in the third widest country in the world, the United States, from August to May of 2017-2018. But the good part? We fell more in love with each other through our long distance and grew closer together despite the distance between us physically.
I want to share with you the four truths that I clung to after the love of my life got down on one knee to ask me to marry him then moved across the country to pursue his master’s degree in Architecture. Not to mention, we are about to repeat the pattern of long distance just three shorts months after we got married—but maybe more on that later (that’s right we are about to engage in a long-distance MARRIAGE—so you know we survived long-distance engagement).
For today, I want to tell you all about my amazing engagement and how Colin and I survived it almost entirely on separate coast lines.
Here are the four truths that I kept close to my heart going into my long distance engagement with Colin:
I went into it with the attitude that “we will make this work no matter what.” I truly believe all long-distance relationships will fall apart if you give them the chance. That is to say, my long distance relationship, although not as hard as everyone told me, was not a cake walk. The hills you face in a normal relationship have the potential to turn into mountains when you go long-distance, so you have to have the resilience, patience, and love to endure the storm. I knew I was about to vow my life to Colin, so vowing a few months or years of long distance seemed easy enough.
Communication is everything and long distance is much easier when you work on healthy communication BEFORE the distance comes into play. Everyone told both Colin and I that long distance would strengthen our communication, which it did, but I can’t imagine planning our wedding and doing long distance for the first time without having great communication skills built into our relationship already. I am one lucky lady to have Colin by my side who has some of the best communication skills.
Colin and I have always maintained our individuality in our relationship with each other. He loves basketball and Halo (I know, I know I totally married a nerd). I love cooking and getting my nails done. We have both encouraged each other to spend time doing those things throughout our relationship. It is so easy when you are long distance to drop everything to Skype or talk on the phone for hours on end everyday of the week. I think this is true because no matter how many hours I spent on the phone with Colin, I would have traded it in an instance for just five minutes in his presence. BUT the reality for us was that we were long distance and we only got to see each other every 5-12 weeks, so we embraced that and acknowledged that we both still needed “me time.” Colin and I weren’t afraid to take time away from each other to hang out with friends or do self-care (and there were also the times when he heard me cooking in the kitchen or I heard his controller clicking while we were on the phone—compromise, always). Seriously though, take time to hang out with people you are actively doing life with in your same city to because it is really important.
The best rule of all: when Colin came into town I CLEARED my schedule and we made the most of it! They were so many things I had forgotten that I loved about Colin until he came into town. Relationships are relational and so much of how we relate to others is in the physical world—just hear me out. Some of the funniest moments that I laughed way too hard at were the hilarious jokes about something that happened right in front of us on a walk or something that was said by someone in the moment. Long distance, at times, began to feel like I was catching someone up on my life, so when Colin was in town and we were doing life together again, it made me really cherish the days even more. Spending time in person with someone has an airiness and surface-level quality that you NEED when you are in a long-distance relationship because you can too easily find yourself only going emotionally deep with that person. Let’s all be honest, our person is a weirdo and we LOVE that about them, so it is really nice to be able to reminded how weird they are in person.
Cheers to sharing the good news that long distance engagement can work!
Alicia (newlywed) Christensen