Dear One Love,
I’m in a long-distance relationship (9 months now) and I’m really struggling. I miss him every day, and talking to him sometimes makes me extremely depressed, more than it makes me happy. I haven’t seen him for nine months, but it’s hard to make that happen because we live across the USA from each other, and we’re only 14. I’m not sure if it’s an unhealthy relationship due to how upset I get when I’m with him. Any advice?
– Keeping the Faith
Dear Keeping the Faith,
Long-distance relationships are super tough- I think it’s normal that you’re struggling. Relationships are complicated and layered to begin with and distance can definitely make everything seem more intense. If you’re worried that your relationship is unhealthy, I recommend that you check out the 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship. There are a few definitive signs that a relationship is unhealthy and understanding these signs can help you discern whether your relationship or partner is toxic.
If none of the behaviors listed in our 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship are happening to you then there are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
The fact is people are social beings and relationships help us feel connected. Part of that connection is communication- like the talking you mentioned, but another really important part is the non-verbal closeness, the omg my heart started pumping because we get to sit next to each other stuff. If speaking over the phone, texting, face timing and snap chatting with your S.O. is not enough to meet your emotional needs then consider becoming friends with them until you’re both old enough to commit to meeting each other in-person.
In the meantime, it sounds like you both need space to assess how this relationship is affecting your overall happiness. You mentioned that you get extremely depressed when you talk to him on the phone. Is this depression impacting your schoolwork? Are you isolating yourself from your friends because you’re upset? Are you putting your life on hold because of your relationship?
My advice is to take some time to sort through your own feelings than talk to your S.O. about them (#healthycommunication). So, how do you approach this conversation? Spoiler alert! It’s going to sound a lot like what you wrote to me:
“I’m really struggling. I miss you so much and sometimes talking to you just makes me feel worse because I realize all over again that I won’t get to see you anytime soon. How are you feeling about everything?”
When a relationship is not making you happy it usually means something is off. Ultimately, the decision to continue in this relationship is yours to make. Trust your gut. If you are still struggling with what you should do, please speak to a trusted adult, mentor or counselor, especially since this relationship is affecting your mental wellness. Trust us on this one! With age comes wisdom, an adult that you trust could give you perspective and much-needed insight into this relationship (or any relationship for that matter).