Santi and I met in 7th grade when we had World History together (actually I don't even remember if it was World History at this point, but something along those lines.) Since then I think we always had an innocent crush on each other (he always denies it but he bought me Minnie ears one time when he went to Disney with his family because he totally had a major crush on me.) Over the years we always remained friends but it never turned into anything more because at the moment I thought we were nothing alike, which is funny when I think about it now because we are the same person in so many ways (just like we have our extreme differences.) Then in the summer of sophomore year of high school, we started hanging out more than normal and decided to try things out as a couple. I have mentioned before that I don't think either of us thought it would last or become what it is today.
We have been together for almost four years and I think one and a half of that time has been long distance. We both lived in a small town called Weston in Florida, but then I moved to Gainesville for college and he moved to Coral Gables, both still in Florida, but about 5 hours away. Currently, I am in Madrid studying abroad for a semester and Santi came to visit me for a week and a half, which was a lot of fun! Although we are long distance, we see each other a lot because either I go back home or he comes to Gainesville. Is it hard at times? Of course, but I am actually glad that things happened the way they did.
I read this article once about being in college and in a long distance relationship at the same time and it perfectly summarized what I feel. Of course, I wish I could be with Santi every day like most college couples are, but the thing is, this is a time where we are both growing. We have never once stopped each other from taking opportunities because we are in a relationship. In fact, we encourage each other to do so. We don't tie each other down or make each other feel bad for doing things that will help us grow personally and professionally. I know of people that don't go to the college of their dreams or don't study abroad because of their their significant other and the majority of the time they end up breaking up. I also know of couples in college that are together 24/7 like if they were married and try to act like they have a perfect relationship, but in reality, they don't (obviously this isn't the case with everyone, but I do see it a lot.) I am not saying my relationship is perfect, and I always say I would never want anyone to think that it is because it's not. We fight and disagree sometimes just like anyone else, but being long distance has allowed us to grow individually, but together (if that makes any sense.)
I repeat, it isn't easy, but I think we value and cherish the time we do have more because of the distance. I think Santi and I also had a good foundation since we were friends for so many years before being together as a couple (we actually always talk about exes and how we were before each other and laugh because we literally lived all that together. We would even talk to each other about these things when we were friends lol.) Long distance relationships, actually just relationships in general, take a lot of patience, understanding, long night facetime calls, listening, respect, trust, and of course a whole lot of love, but to me, it's all worth it!
Wishing you guys a happy Valentine's Day!
Valeria Laguna x