How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work (sweat required)

italian sunset

This post originally appeared on the uber talented Michelle Vargas’s website Fart With Headphones On.  I was thrilled to write it for her + delighted to share it now with you!



Long distance relationships are not for the fearful; they’re for the audacious.
The brassy, bold + brave.
You exchange massive time alone for fleeting doses of joy with your beloved.

Critics say the long-distance relationship is doomed.
Heartache inevitable.
Dreams decimated.

“You can’t go on that way forever,” they tout.
But you insist you can.
And as long as you do, you’ll be required to practice the qualities of faith + fortitude
Independence + imagination..

It’s for those who find possibility in the improbable.
It can be a shelter for the noncommitters, for, the less-then-motivated.

Yet, to be enamored with someone’s absence is to be a quintessential romantic.
And who can thwart the benefits?

The urgency of every second together.  Because they all count.
Elation rushes in as each kiss is savored, every touch cherished.
Reality is divinely air-brushed + memories pristinely sealed—set aside to be deliciously revisited later.

On the phone your makeup is perfect, your legs are always shaved + your sweatpants and decal tee shirt become silk shorts and a lace bra.You never have to pick up his laundry, wash the dinner dishes or ask him to finally for-the-love-of-god-turn the TV off.  How many times can you watch Transformers, the movie, anyway?

Yet, love + doubt aren’t mutually exclusive.
And in the case of long distance relationships bliss can certainly require sweat.

Someone is:
:: giving too much + getting too little in return

:: wanting to close the distance gap but repressing the need to express it for fear of “rocking the boat” +  risking a breakup.

:: tired of living a double life. one with their partner + generally, a bigger one without their partner

:: being crushed by anxiety + jealousy.

And oh, those phone bills! Distance can work for friends + relatives but when it comes to romantic lovethe long distance relationship will always fall short.

Short on satisfaction.



It is a rare population of couples that can pull it off –and that is only because it genuinely works for them. Both feel they are getting their needs met + do not secretly wish for an alternative situation.

If that’s you, congratulations.  Ignore everything I said + keep on, keepin’ on.

But the chances are that’s not you because the only way to make a long distance relationshipwork is to close the separation gap—eventually.

Short-term long distance relationships—not usually a problem. Long term, open-ended distances is the stuff hell is made of. With the imperfections + benefits of long distance relationships glaringly clear—-

Do you stay or go?

Roll the dice or walk away now?
The answer begins + ends with the truth.
Always with the truth.

How deep do the roots of this relationship go?
Deep enough to sustain your spirit during the days + weeks of separation?

What do you need from your partner on a daily basis?

Witness what comes up for you.  Write it down.  Articulate it.

First to yourself + then to them.
Can they provide it?
Will your situation allow it?

You know the answer.
Even when you deny you don’t.

Tune in.
Listen up.
Your heart + gut want to educate you on limitations, expectations + salutations.

When to go harder.
When it’s been enough.

When to very lovingly, calmly say:
I loved you while I could. As best as I could. With all I could.
Thank you for you. When I had you.
Good luck.


And love pulses along in spite of it all.


© 2012 Danielle Dowling