As my freshmen year comes to a bitter sweet ending, I have taken a lot of time to look back and reflect on the parts that changed me the most. With a busy year of major-changing, study-cramming, and passion-digging, being in a long distance relationship has changed me in ways I never deemed possible.
I started dating my boyfriend, Dane, the day before I moved to Mount Pleasant. Although we had been in a complicated relationship since January, August 19th 2016 marks the first day we became official. I was very nervous about this situation since everyone I knew in college were telling me that long distances in college never last. Distance was scary to think about at the time, and moving away from Dane made that feeling all the more surreal.
Before I get into how the two of us ended up dealing with it, let me tell you a bit about Dane. Dane Christopher Haggarty came into my life when I needed someone the most. Not a boyfriend, just someone. Someone to talk to, take my feelings out on, and bawl my eyes out too. Someone who didn’t judge me, and took all of the hurtful things I would say to them and everyone else around me. Someone who calmed me down when I was upset, wipe my tears and hold me close to them. Someone who even made me smile and eventually made me better. Happier. Dane was my someone.
Everything has felt so right with him ever since. That is, except, the distance. You see, Dane was planning on going to Central Michigan until his differ from the University of Michigan became an acceptance letter. 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 129 miles between Ann Arbor and Mount Pleasant and I was the only one of the two that had a car my freshmen year. It was really hard at first. We tried planning every weekend of the month to come the month before so we would have plans to see each other. This worked out for quite some time until second semester came around.
Dane and I were in a place where we forgot what it was like to live 5 short minutes from each other at home, when we came home for Christmas break. Around the same time frame was when Dane decided he was so unhappy at U of M. He didn’t fit in with the crowd there, and was struggling to keep up academically while still find happiness in the big, busy city. Dane became very sad very quickly and I had no idea how to handle it, even though he somehow knew exactly how to make me feel better for all those months before we started dating. We began fighting in ways we never had before and the strain on our relationship was dedicated to the distance. It was tearing us apart.
Months have passed since we went through our rough patch and Dane has just finished his first whole year of college. He will not be returning to the University of Michigan in the Fall, but instead Oakland University and living at home. Dane will also have a car next year. With two more weeks left of school, I am anxious to spend my summer with him and make the most of our minutes while they last.
This year was spent driving all around. From Mount Pleasant, to Ann Arbor, to Macomb, to Ohio, and everywhere in between. Dane and I have somehow managed to see each other one way or another. I am so lucky to be able to have experienced moments with him that have life time memories even though they only lasted for so long. Going to CMU games, U of M games, Cedar Point, Chippewa Valley High School where we met, and even just exploring through nature parks in our hometown- the two of us are constantly on the look out for adventure together. We are always striving to make those moments last forever.
Distance truly does mean so little when someone means so much. Learning to adjust to see your loved ones in such little time is absolutely one of the most difficult things I have gone through. But it isn’t impossible. Long distance relationships DO last when you truly do love someone. It isn’t a matter of where you go to college or how many miles apart you are. Being away from someone you love is a risk you must be willing to take in a relationship if you really love somebody. Being committed to Dane after a year of chaos and needing to just spend some nights crying about how much I miss him are the consequences I was willing to take because I love him.
I hope that someday the thought of long distance relationships will be seen as beautiful instead of fake. I hope that our society begins accepting the distance and the hardships that it comes with and realize it is worth it because they love someone. I just hope that someday this world will see that it is so much smaller than we make it out to be and that it is all possible if one wants it badly enough.