When couples gamble on a long-distance relationship, the odds are not stacked in their favor. Statistics reveal the average long-distance relationship lasts only 4.5 months, 55% of people separated by distance worry their partner will meet someone else, and only 2% of high school relationships survive the long-distance phase. Luka Vukoslavovic and Veronika Antipenko, the co-founders of Love&Crafted Jewelry, are one couple who can share secrets to help beat those odds.
Instead of tearing Vukoslavovic and Antipenko apart, three years with an ocean between them made their relationship even stronger. In fact, the couple draws on memories of those years as they co-launch a handcrafted jewelry business.
“We want to help people, love, be loved, and feel loved,” explains Antipenko. “It takes a lot to stay connected and be there for your loved one when you’re far away from each other. It’s even more important to show your love when you’re not physically together.”
The decision to conquer distance with love
Vukoslavovic and Antipenko were introduced by friends in a crowded restaurant. Though they were unable to speak to each other the night they met, they each felt a connection. The relationship began shortly after and progressed almost effortlessly. But, unfortunately, challenges lay ahead.
“When Luka found out he was moving to the United States, he was 18 and I was only 16,” Antipenko remembers. “All of the decisions were out of our hands. I was finishing high school, and he was moving to a new country. Despite all the unknowns, we were sure of one thing: if we did not give up, we would be together one day.”
The challenges of long-distance relationships
When Vukoslavovic and Antipenko embarked on a long-distance relationship, they discovered many of the challenges were simply logistical. For example, they were separated by thousands of miles and an eight-hour time difference. So, Antipenko set her alarm for 6:00 AM every morning and talked to Vukoslavovic before he ate dinner. Not being an early riser, Vukoslavovic showed true dedication as he called at the crack of dawn to reach her at around 10:00 PM.
“We called each other whenever we had a free minute,” Antipenko says, “but it’s difficult to adapt your life to two different time zones. You have to make time for your life as well as your long-distance relationship.”
The logistical challenges are hardly even worth mentioning considering the more significant obstacles of a long-distance relationship. Antipenko remembers 12 months passing without being able to meet in person one time. “I can honestly say those months were the hardest in my life,” she says. “You’re experiencing new things, you’re meeting new people, and you’re changing, but you can’t fully share all that with your loved one. More than anything else, that aspect of the relationship struck me as extremely sad.”
Communication becomes far more difficult during a long-distance relationship. Most couples enjoy meeting friends at a restaurant or cuddling on the couch for a movie, but couples separated by distance lack that variety. “In a long-distance relationship, all you have is voice and video calls,” says Antipenko. “When you’re talking for three to four hours a day, every day, for years, you reach a point where you feel like there is nothing left to talk about.”
Many couples find the communication barrier in a long-distance relationship especially trying. “You’re going to have disagreements just like any couple,” Antipenko warns, “but conflict is harder to handle when you’re talking by video chat. Talking by video leaves so much room for misunderstandings. You can’t read someone’s emotions on video like you can when you’re together, and you can’t just hug or kiss to make things all right.”
Despite the obstacles, Vukoslavovic and Antipenko never lost hope or trust. “I was 100% confident in him, and I know he felt the same way about me,” Antipenko recalls.
Jewelry that can bridge the distance
Together, Vukoslavovic and Antipenko formed their family-owned jewelry brand with a mission to help people express their love. Their pair consciously craft each piece to inspire deep connection and lasting memories, collaborating to create special gifts that help people feel a bond even across thousands of miles.
The brand’s Hug Ring, for example, is an elegant spiral band representing arms and hands in a constant embrace. “Hugging boosts happiness and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation,” says Vukoslavovic. “We designed this piece to give you a way to remind your loved ones how much they mean to you. You can give them what they need during the day, even when you’re not there.”
The couple’s Thick and Thin Ring is made of two dainty bands, one thicker and one embedded with tiny diamonds. “This ring represents your promise to share every part of life with your loved one — through thick and thin,” remarks Vukoslavovic. “It’s a constant reminder that you will be there through it all.”
The couple’s Infinite Love Necklace represents eternal passion with a delicate infinity sign woven through a diamond-studded heart. “Love is the most powerful thing in the universe,” Vukoslavovic explains. “This necklace reminds your significant other that you will be with her forever.”
“We add a pinch of love in every piece,” Antipenko says. “Not only do we enjoy skiing, traveling, watching movies, and playing tennis together, but we also enjoy working on jewelry with each other. Our jewelry has helped bring us closer together, and we know it can do the same for other couples as well.”
The secret to a love that is stronger than distance
In terms of advice for couples in similar situations, Antipenko says love truly does conquer all. When couples mix love with trust, faith, and patience, anything is possible. “Don’t listen when people say your relationship will not last,” she says. “Only you and your partner know your feelings towards each other, your special connection, and your plans for the future.”
Antipenko advises couples to believe in their love and communicate whenever they can. “I remember falling asleep during a call and waking to find we’d ‘talked’ for eight hours! We shared every part of the present day with each other through video calls, videos, photos, and texts. And we built plans for the future. You won’t magically be together one day unless you plan it step by step, bit by bit.”
The powerful feelings evoked by Vukoslavovic’s and Antipenko’s jewelry can only come from those who have experienced the joy of enduring love. Their hand-crafted pieces symbolize a love that truly conquers all — even time and distance.