So I realise Rookie did something quite similar to this, but today I am going to talk about my personal experience with long distance relationships and how I learnt to not allow it to interfere with my relationship, and maybe these will help you. And if not, you should definitely read the Rookie article about this same issue. (It may get repetitive if you read both, however. Because these are pretty standard tips to live by in an "LDR".)
As many of you may know, I am currently enduring a long distance relationship for the entire summer with my dear boyfriend Christopher. I had been in a long distance relationship before, but we weren't nearly as close as Chris and I are and the relationship was much shorter prior to my departure. It is also more difficult in this case because I am all the way in Hawaii and Chris is in Connecticut. Not only is the distance a scary factor, but the time difference is less than to be desired (6 hours! Ahh!)
It's been a whole month since I've been away (which doesn't seem like much for some, but after living across the street from him and seeing each other every day, it's hard!) and my relationship is just as strong, if not stronger, than when we left each other. "How does she do it?" you may be asking. Well, you should keep some of these things in mind if you are soon going into a long distance relationship or currently are in one:
01. Before it starts, make sure it's 100% mutual. (This applies to most relationship in general!) Whether you are going to be in an open relationship or stay faithful to only one another during your time apart, you must ensure your feelings for one another are completely mutual before leaving. It will be hard for feelings to develop further when away, so don't expect one partner to grow deeper feelings through a computer screen. I learnt that the hard way! It's a lot to ask if you love the person you are about to do this with, but it could be very important. Love can lead one to be more committed to the relationship. If you're not in love though, don't force it!
02. Ask yourself if you trust your partner. Are you ready to leave this person on their own with just the thought that he or she has no desire to be with anyone else? Or can you even trust that they won't give up because the whole LDR thing is too hard and leave you? If you have any doubts, your relationship may not be developed enough for complete trust, which is a key element in long distance relationships. In order to gain trust, dating someone for a few months before you leave might be the best option. In other words, if you are going to move in a month, maybe that's not the best time to start a relationship! (However, I do know that sometimes the right one pops up at the wrong time, and there's no helping that!)
03. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Once you are apart, it is so, so, so important to communicate. Now, this doesn't mean talk to each other 24/7 (unless both partners want to do this!), it means just make sure that you are as open as possible with your feelings. Long distance relationships are not the time for petty passive aggression. It is more difficult to fully understand how someone is feeling from miles away, so if you are feeling a certain way, make it known. If you're upset, let your partner know, don't just assume they "can tell". This is important for any type of relationship, but much more vital with distance.
04. Organise a possible schedule. You don't have to have an exact set time, but planning to talk or Skype at a certain time during the day can help communication flow much easier and then each partner can know to set time aside for his or her significant other each day. It is important to put some effort on each side! A schedule can ensure one person does not feel like they are putting more effort into talking than the other.
05. Recognise it's not going to be easy. Positivity and optimism about long distance relationships is important, but at the same time, you must recognise that entering a long distance relationship is going to be hard. Not having physical contact with the person you love may at times drive you absolutely insane. You may cry. You may get mad. Just remember to breathe. If it will help, start a countdown and write it down on a whiteboard, in a journal or planner. In some cases, this can make it appear time is going by much quicker, but in other cases it may make it seem like the time is going by even slower. Figure out what works best for you to keep yourself up and remember that you will be back together eventually!
06. Enjoy being along. This can be hard for some people, and really easy for others, but it's imperative for a person in a long distance relationship to enjoy their time alone. By this, I mean that you should go out with friends, read good books, do some of your favourite hobbies and crafts, start a new telly programme on Netflix, work, etc. I personally enjoy reading from time to time to escape reality, it's amazing how time can fly! Being alone is healthy, and much easier to do when in a long distance relationship!
07. Are you ready? Nobody has to go into a long distance relationship!!! This is something to always keep in mind. For some people, it might just be what one has to do if they are in a relationship and are about to leave for a period of time. If you personally feel that you aren't ready, don't do it. As difficult as breakups are, this may be the best solution in this case. Of course, if you truly care about this person but just aren't ready to be away, you could always propose a "break" until you are back together, if that sounds more appealing and reassuring.
There are also little things to do to help keep your relationship strong from a distance:
- Text! If you and your partner text, don't hold back from sending little messages throughout the day! Whether they are flirty and sweet, they can definitely keep the morale up!
- Send pictures! Sending and receiving pictures of your partner can almost begin to feel like they are right next to you!
- Keepsakes! You can send little care packages filled with reminders of yourself, or steal a T-shirt to sleep in before you part just so you have something to look at each day to make you smile and think of your partner. (I personally have one of Chris' T-shirts that smells like him and slipped it on a pillow to cuddle when I sleep! Some say creepy, I say cute!)
- Phone calls! Phone calls can be so intimate and sweet. Try calling each other before bed and saying good night. You'll definitely sleep better!
- Skype! Skype or any other video chatting programme is one of the greatest inventions for long distance relationships! You can look right into your partner's eyes and tell them you love them.
- Letters & Cards! Almost everyone loves getting mail--so what's better than having a letter or card sent with love from your significant other? (If you wear makeup, you can put a little kiss on the envelope or by your name at the end of the message!) Letters can be kept together in a cute box dedicated just to you or your partner! How romantic! (Can anyone say The Notebook?)
- Visit one another! This can be a bit of a stretch, especially because transportation can be so expensive! But if you can, visits to see one another at least once can be so thrilling, even if it's a short time together.
That's my input on long distance relationships, and by following this, I seem to be doing pretty well thus far! You just have to believe in yourself and your partner and it will get easier. Just have some trust and enjoy the little time you get to talk to each other.
If you have anything to add, or what you've learnt from your personal experience, comment below! Hope this could help if it's relevant to you!