long-distance engagement: making it work

I hear a lot of people say how they could never do a long-distance relationship, and I get it – it sounds miserable, because at times, it kind of is. Saying “see you later” is never easy especially when the next time you see each other is unknown.

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I like to consider myself pretty well-versed in the world of long-distance relationships. In fact, every single one of my past relationships after high school were long-distance at one point or another. Partially because I didn’t want to date anyone around where I grew up, and partially because I am a very independent person (sometimes to a fault) and I had my own dreams to take care of, which sometimes lead me to very far away places like Hong Kong. Now, I’m engaged to someone from my hometown (go figure) and I am still doing my own thing in Shanghai, which is slowly transitioning to our own thing come October – this time for real, guys.

Last week, I had to go through yet another “see you later” that came on rather quickly. We were suppose to be going home to Kansas together for a few months, then coming back to China around July. That plan wasn’t at all set in stone, but our mindset was we would be going wherever we were going, together.

A week before the flight home, I got an offer to stay and finish a fellow coworker’s contract who had to go home. Bradley and I had one full day to talk things through before we had to give my decision. While I was sick to my stomach at the thought of being away from him for months at a time yet AGAIN, we both came to the conclusion that it would be best if I stayed making a full-time paycheck while he went home to look for a job.

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Through this experience, I have decided that adulting is hard. Making decisions is hard. Making decisions with another person’s future in mind is even harder.

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This post isn’t to try and explain myself, or justify why we are ready to get married, but to hopefully provide some encouragement to anyone who might be in a similar situation. It IS possible.

I’m not gonna lie, I have been questioned about my readiness for marriage and happiness with Bradley – and understandably so. We had been dating for only a year before we got engaged – and 3/4 of it was long-distance. We fought through the typical jealousy and trust issues that come with transitioning to being so far away. We struggled to communicate – making time to talk and sacrificing going out with friends was difficult. We didn’t have body language to rely on to get across a message, only words and tone of voice, which can easily escalate a simple misunderstanding. All things that long-distance relationships tend to go through at one point or another.

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Honestly, you can look up blog after blog about how to make a long-distance relationship work – facetime dates, planning out visits, sending cute gifts, making extra effort to set aside time for the other, etc etc etc. But frankly, the only way you can make a LDR work is with complete and utter commitment to the person and the relationship. Sacrifice is a HUGE part of that commitment – being open and listening to things the other person is uncomfortable with and setting boundaries accordingly.

We live in an age where relationships are to benefit ourselves – to make us happy and bring us pleasure. Unfortunately, we’ve lost sight of the beauty that comes with compromise and working together. Relationships in general won’t work unless both sides are equal in commitment and compromise, let alone a long-distance relationship.

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I’m not trying to say my relationship is perfect – there are days when I just want to scream, there are days when I do scream, and there are days I feel defeated because I just want Bradley to be sitting next to me. Those days don’t just magically disappear after time of getting use to the distance, each week is like a roller coaster – the good days, the bad days, and the twists and turns in between. But just like with any unwelcome situation, you take it day by day until one day, you don’t have to anymore. I never feel happier being anywhere other than in Bradley’s arms when were are together, and it makes the hard days completely worthwhile.

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P.S. – 232 days until I marry my bestie (!!!)


a s h e l l a  x o

2 thoughts on “long-distance engagement: making it work

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  1. I have enjoyed every one of your blog posts, but this one has helped me the most. With yet another LDR period coming up soon, this made me feel more at ease and ready to take it on. Thank you! 💕

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