just don't say it: long distance Relationships.

Sometimes writing these posts actually irks me a lot. Let’s be honest, people can say some pretty awful things. However, those awful things are actually the motivation for this entire series – what are the awful things we say and how can we be more charitable to others?

just dont say it LDRToday’s installment in the “just don’t say it” series focuses on all of the things to avoid saying to people in long distance relationships (LDRs). Whether their separation has a definite end date or not, distance is difficult, so don’t add to it with the following statements:

  • It is really good that you spend time apart.
    • Time apart in a relationship can be a good thing. But forced time apart (for whatever reason) is hard and can strain a relationship in ways that that are more than likely not healthy, especially for extended periods of time.
  • Man, I really wish I could get that much time away from my significant other. Enjoy it!
    • Well gee, I’m sorry you don’t want to spend time with your significant other, but I actually do, so don’t rub it in my face that you can spend time with him whenever you want. Go enjoy his company or be quiet.
  • You know it will never work out, just break up now and save yourself the heartache.
    • The heartache would still be there, but thanks for the giant dose of hope. Not.
  • Aren’t you worried about him cheating on you?
    • There’s this thing called trust and if it isn’t in my relationship then there is no relationship. Got it?
  • Don’t you just want to jump each other when you finally get to see one another?
    • Really? How does a person even respond to this? Of course I suppose the answer depends on whether you are married or not, but I don’t really think that daydreaming about jumping each other actually helps ease the ache of missing each other.
  • Well, at least you don’t have to worry about birth control.
    • Ah, yes, the lack of birth control totally cancels out worrying about and missing my significant other. Totally. {Also, this point is pretty darn irrelevant for Catholics anyway, since we don’t use artificial birth control in the first place.}
  • What if you meet someone else?
    • It is called life, we are always meeting new people. What matters is how committed we are to the person we are with and the value of our word to them.
  • That must make it hard to talk about serious topics.
    • If I can’t talk to my significant other about serious things on the phone, what makes you think that talking face to face would be any easier? Where there is a will, there is a way.
  • I don’t know how you do it…or…I could never do long distance!
    • Well fine, you aren’t, I am. But thanks for the reminder.
  • You chose this, so you can’t complain.
    • The next time you want to complain about your job or your children or your husband I’m going to tell you the same thing and see how you like it. Choosing long distance is hard, but you telling me that I can’t complain or have difficult days doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, you telling me that only makes what I’m feeling that much more difficult.
  • Are you sure you really know that person? You hardly spend any time together.
    • Yes, context and getting to know a person in different settings is important, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get to know someone long-distance. Am I sure I know them? As sure as you are that you know me! All we can do in life is trust our experience and our instincts.
  • At least you don’t have to deal with…
    • What? Their stinky socks? Their weird habits? Don’t you think that those things would melt away if the people who are long distance could just see each other and be in each other’s presence?

Long distance and extended periods of time away from your significant other are hard. How can you help make that easier? Offer to pray for the couple, for each individual person in the relationship, and for the safety and safe return of the absent party. Don’t tell folks in LDRs that you’d trade them, because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We each have our crosses to bear in life and for some couples, distance is a cross they bear, and that doesn’t necessarily make their cross any easier or harder than yours. Sympathy, empathy, simply listening and prayer go a long way.

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