I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years, and in that time, we’ve lived in three different cities on two continents. The reaction I almost always get when I tell people that my boyfriend lives in Milan is “I’m so sorry. How do you do it?” My response usually merits uncomfortable laughter and disbelief, but it’s true: “I like it that way.” I couldn’t be happier or more confident in our relationship, and despite being an ocean apart, we grow more and more in love every day.

We were both in graduate school when we met and began dating. At first, he didn’t believe in making a long-distance relationship work. The plan was to follow our careers, wherever they may take us, after school. It felt like expiration dating (the Sex and the City-coined term used to define a relationship with a set end date). But when the time came, we decided to stay together and give it a shot, and we’re so thankful we did.

To be clear, I’m not a relationship expert. I’ve had a long-distance relationship that ended in heartbreak and tears due to communication issues and lack of trust, and my current relationship only works so well now because of our openness with one another and constant communication. Despite the 4,000 miles between us, his endless support fuels my ability to be confident and selfish in my career, grow my relationships with family and friends, take care of my health, and get my priorities straight.

Here are some of the ways long distance has made me happier than I ever thought I could or deserved to be.



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