The first thing that usually comes to mind when someone mentions the possibility of a long-distance relationship is: F*********k. 

But wait.

There is a silver-lining that comes with being in a long-distance love affair, even if it’s not ideal. You basically get to reap the rewards of a committed relationship, with most of the benefits of bonafide day-to-day singledom. Long stretches of solitude and self-actualization between sexy, snuggle-filled weekends in a bed of emotional support and mutual growth? Not such a bad deal.

Whether you’ve been long-distance from the start or hopped on the LDR train later in the relationship, you learn real quick that you’re each responsible for your own everyday happiness. Sure, you’re always there for your partner when they need you — just over the phone in your gloriously roomy bed under a blanket of unshaven legs. 

Here are 21 perks of being in a long-distance relationship: 

1. You have more free time to cultivate your individual interests. You can read a good magazine or take a weird workout class without anybody missing you, and have so much fun stuff to share when you’re together. What do couples who spend all their time together even talk about? 

2. You get the bed to yourself more often. All that space is glorious. 

3. You’re forced to talk on the phone with your partner, which helps you get to know them in a completely different way. Instead of falling back on a hug or a snuggle, you’re forced to really talk to them. It sounds daunting at first, but with time it really makes that bond so much stronger. 

4. When you spend most of your quality time together over the phone and/or spotty Skype connection, venting about the petty stuff isn’t worth it. That thing at work you got blamed for even though it wasn’t your fault but it was kind your fault and your friend who’s mad at you for no reason? You work through that sh*t yourself. Codependence? See you never. 

5. You get really good at packing only the necessities. You could pack a bag for the apocalypse in 30 seconds and be ready to face literally anything. 

6. When you’re together it feels like a vacation — because seeing your partner is a special occasion.

7. You get really great at falling asleep on things. Literally anything: your backpack, a bumpy bus window, the tray table in front of you and, sometimes, the poor person sitting next to you. 

8. You know you’re responsible for your own happiness — and know how to hold yourself accountable for it. No, your partner didn’t ask you to spend the weekend re-binge-watching “Gilmore Girls” instead of working on your résume or skip that morning yoga class you love to sleep in. Girl, that’s on you.  

9. Planning becomes second nature. You plan trips months ahead of time, which allows you to stay ahead on events and weekend getaways. 

10. It’s hard enough to make yourself happy every day — let alone someone else. You and your partner don’t rely on each other to feel present and engaged in the world. Of course you’re there for them when they need you, but most of the time, you can properly “do you” without distractions or guilt. 

11. Two words: Reunion sex. 

12. If you’re an introvert, the LDR lifestyle is for you. Sure, you may have exposed your partner to a few I-JUST-HAVEN’T-SPENT-ANY-TIME-ALONE episodes. But not nearly as many as you would if they were there all the time. 

13. It’s not as awkward if you don’t love their friends. (But they obviously still have to love yours.)

14. You don’t have to shave as much. (Or ever, if you don’t want to.) 

15. You can shower more thoroughly, more efficiently than anyone. At any given moment, you’re 30 minutes away from becoming a presentable romantic partner. (Not including cleanup; seriously, our showers look like somebody sheared a sheep in them when we’re done.) 

16. You can binge-watch at your own pace. Your bae doesn’t want to wait two weeks to watch the next episode of “House Of Cards” any more than you do. 

17. Weeks of anticipation make the best foreplay. 

18. You have the time to hang out with your friends on your own schedule — and they’ll never start to worry you’re spending too much time with your SO.

19. You get to catch up on your current book or favorite show when en route to your partner.  

20. If one person in the relationship is unhappy with something, you learn to deal with it immediately. You don’t spend enough time together to share a week of passive-aggressive comments and cryptic suggestions of anger before somebody cracks. The time you have together is precious, and you learn to nip things in the bud rather than waste a visit avoiding an issue that’s making you uneasy. Clear and timely communication is a great habit to have in any relationship. 

21. The goodbyes may be tough, but they make the hellos that much sweeter.

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