Is Long Distance the New “Normal” For 21st Century Love?

I’m a recent college grad, which means I think about the future basically non-stop. I think about what I want my next job to be, where I want it to be, etc. But with those choices come some other huge factors. Namely the fact that now I live with my boyfriend, and if I get another job I need to be prepared to do long distance.  Look, I am the queen of “Long Distance Is Good and Makes You Stronger”, but I am also the first to admit that it would be hard to get excited about going from ”We Live Together!” to “See You Next Month!” even if it’s for a great opportunity. I was talking about my dilemma with a friend who’s currently trying to make a relationship-type thing work with a guy who lives in London. My friend made an interesting point:

“These days, I think most couples have to do long distance for at least a portion of their relationship,” she said to me.

You know what? She’s right. When I think about most of the couples I know, especially the ones who are now engaged or married, they spent at least a portion of their relationship doing distance.

I think this is because A.) It’s difficult to get one job, let alone two jobs in the same city. More importantly B.) Both partners are career-focused and willing to make sacrifices to launch a career. I think that’s great. Does it make things more difficult? Yes. Does it make things more awesome for each partner as an individual? Definitely!

So is long distance the new “normal”? Do you need to be prepared to do long distance, especially when you’re low on the job food chain and trying to get a career off the ground? I say yes to both, and I don’t think that’s bad. I wrote this article about why long distance can be a good thing, and I firmly believe it. Long distance can make you appreciate your significant other more, and it forces you to recognize what parts of the relationship work and don’t work.

Look, I’m not trying to give a history lesson here. I’ll be honest with you, I memorized everything for the AP U.S. History exam and then forgot it after the test was over. With that said, I think long distance as a normal part of a relationship’s life cycle is a phenomenon associated with our generation. If you think back to our grandparents generation, it was normal for the man to have the career and the woman to raise the kids. Therefore, no long distance needed. You just followed your husband wherever his career took him. This arrangement was even considered normal when our parents were starting families. My mom stopped working when I was born and didn’t start working again until I was in middle school.  But things are different now. Now more than ever, young women are encouraged to focus on building a career and a relationship at the same time. So, girl power! And other fun, Spice Girls things! Yeah, it may mean you have to do long distance because you’re balancing your career with your partner’s. I think it’s worth it.

While you’re pursuing that amazing career, just remember this: you need to keep giving your relationship the love and attention it needs to survive.  This applies to any type of relationship, no matter how near/far you live from each other. I know sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I take my relationship for granted.

Are you prepared to have to do long distance at some point? How do you balance a career and a relationship?

Let me know what you think! Find me on Twitter @lifewithlauren1 or at Life with Lauren.

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About the Author,

Proud Syracuse University alum. I work in radio by day, but at night I run my blog "Life with Lauren"( I'm also a freelance writer and contribute to other terrific blogs (such as the one you're reading right now). I've been dating a great guy for three years. Our relationship started right as I was leaving to study abroad in London for a semester, so I write a lot about long-distance relationships. Find me on Twitter: @lifewithlauren1. Thanks for reading!