I never intended to be in a relationship during my year in Korea, especially a long-distance relationship; it just happened: Girl meets boy, Girl and Boy become completely smitten with each other, Girl leaves for Korea four weeks later, Girl and Boy decide not to do long-distance but to keep in touch, Girl and Boy realize they’re in love with each other, and the rest is history.
After I had been in Korea for two months, Chris and I decided to label our relationship official, despite the distance; by the time he had arrived at Incheon International Airport, I couldn’t wait to formally ask him to be my boyfriend once we got back to my apartment. I wasn’t always this enthused about the idea of us being together, though. Before I left for Korea, I knew I really liked the guy, but I just didn’t believe that a long-distance relationship could work out: We were talking about a 16 hour time difference and thousands of miles between us. Also, what if he ended up not being able to come visit me like he said? What if I decided I wanted to stay for two years? I didn’t want to start something that had the potential to fail; I was scared.
Once I had arrived in Korea, I checked Facebook to find that Chris had set up a private group just for us; we could use the group to post comments, links, pictures, and even videos for each other! I was excited and also surprised that Chris had done this for us– excited because it would be a great way for us to talk all day, and surprised because it showed how serious he was about keeping in touch with me while I’m gone.
Along with Facebook, Skype has been another communication tool that we have taken full advantage of: When we first started Skyping, we would Skype a few times a week talking face-to-face for 1-3 hours; now we Skype every day for hours and hours on end doing all kinds of things: He studies while I lesson plan; he watches The Walking Dead while I watch Glee; we cook dinner and watch movies together; we workout together; we even go to sleep with our laptops next to our beds so we can wake up “next to each other.”
Essentially, what really helps Chris and I deal with the long distance hardships is communicating as much as we possibly can: While I’m at work and he’s at school, we message each other in our FB group with pictures, videos, or just random “I love you” comments; when I get home from work, we get on Skype and stay on until I have to go to work the next day. I know communication is significant in every relationship, but I feel like it’s extra important in long-distance relationships because the people in the relationship aren’t able to see each other every day. Chris and I haven’t seen each other in three months (going on four), so all we have right now is our ability to communicate. And if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t have anything.
My and Chris’ dedication to communicating with each other so often is what has helped make our long-distance relationship so successful. Yes, we have had some benefits these past eight months that not all long-distance relationship couples have: Chris is a full-time college student, so he’s able to stay up late to talk to me, rather than having to go to bed early to go to work in the morning before I even get off of work in Korea. Also, I’m lucky that he has always been good at saving his money and is willing to spend his savings on coming to visit me not once, not twice, but three times this year!
Aside from these advantages, though, communicating the way we do has been what has helped us survive being apart since I’ve been here in Korea. It’s crazy to think that eight months ago, I didn’t believe in long-distance relationships– I didn’t believe we could do it. Eight months later, Chris and I are together and kicking long-distance in the ass. Yes, it’s still hard: sometimes I cry because I miss him so much. And long distance relationships require a lot of hard work: time, commitment, communication, and even a little sacrifice. But then I remind myself that for long distance, what Chris and I have is nothing short of awesome, and he is 110% worth all of the tears, the effort, the waiting, and the sacrifice.
We are making it work. In fact, I think Chris and I are proof that a long distance relationship can work if you want it to work bad enough.
And we do.