Recently I have had a bit of a realization. Throughout my one year relationship, my boyfriend and I have had to be apart for a couple weeks at a time, sometimes a couple of months due to vacations or internship opportunities. During those times, I had a really hard time dealing with the distance. I would be sad and constantly want to talk to him.

If we went a couple days without talking consistently, it would bother me the whole time. My mind was preoccupied and even when I would try to keep busy or hang out with some of my other friends, I would still want to talk about him and the distance a lot.

At this point, even I started to recognize that I was handling the distance poorly. But I didn’t know how else to deal with it; I missed him and because of the time difference or our schedules, talking to him to make myself feel better wasn’t possible. So, for the first couple times that we had to be apart, this is how I would handle it. I would be sad and miss him a lot and honestly be only semi-productive.

Then, something changed.

During this current winter break, my boyfriend and I were apart again due to both of our vacations overlapping. Thus, when I got back from mine, I did what any college kid does on break. I texted all my friends to see when they are free to hang out and started to make plans with all of them. I started reading a book I have been wanting to finish for a while and just spent time relaxing from what was a hectic semester. I even started watching the "Harry Potter" series for the hundredth time!

I found myself relatively busy, but also very happy because I was around people I loved and having a lot of fun. Of course, I still greatly missed my boyfriend and would rather him be here than thousands of miles away in a different time zone.

However, I have finally realized something that may seem fundamental, but took me a while to understand.

I have finally understood that my whole life isn’t just about my relationship.

There is so much more to me and my life then my partnership with my boyfriend.

I know it sounds like the most obvious thing that I have written because most people know this fact, but I think for a lot of people it’s more difficult to actually do. I have written about in previous articles that my parents have had a rough relationship. Thus, I think in the back of my mind I felt that if I didn’t put all my time and energy into my relationship, it may turn out unsuccessful.

However, now I have come to the understanding that a relationship, especially a long distance one needs to be formed with two people who have their own ambitions and goals and ways they find happiness on their own. I am not saying to be selfish but rather to maintain one’s independence and aspirations.

When you know you are going to be okay even if your partner is away, it allows you to be happy and live your best life. This feeling of being okay even if your partner is away can coexist with the feeling of still missing them and wanting them with you. This is one thing that I think took me the longest to fully understood.

I felt that if I was happy and doing my own thing, I was in a way making it seem that I didn’t genuinely miss my partner; which of course was not the case.

I am really proud that I have finally gotten to this place because I find that I am so much less stressed out and happier now that I have begun focusing more on myself. I know not everyone will be able to relate to the sentiment I have expressed in this article, but I hope that if you can relate, you can come to this realization one day too.

It's definitely not easy and takes time, but it can be done!