Long distance relationships are now more common than ever. We are going to University and taking jobs further and further away from our loved ones. We are meeting online, on Tinder, in different countries. For a lot of us, long distance relationships are a huge part of our lives and a reality to deal with every day. They are challenging and frustrating but most of the time, so worth it. In case you hadn’t figured it out, today I’m going to be discussing LDRs (as they shall be known for the remainder of this blog post) and more importantly, how to survive them.
My own background with LDRs began back in 2011 when I met Matt two nights before I was to leave for Newcastle to begin University. Typical. Our relationship developed through the means of text and Skype but it was quickly realised by us both that this wasn’t something either of us could let go and thus our LDR began for the next three years. So in that time, I’ve picked up some reasonably good tips that I wanted to share with you.
This was a really big one for me. I needed to know an exact date that we would be ‘reunited’ if you will. This gave me something to hold on to through the period of time that we weren’t together. It felt a lot better having something to focus on than not knowing when we could expect to see each other. Planning is really key here because at the end of the day, you both have lives that exist without each other and this needs to be taken into account. At least this way you both know where you stand.
Have an end goal
My last point leads nicely on to this one. Realistically, LDRs need to have an expiry date. This isn’t literally of course because you won’t always be able to be specific about exactly when your LDR can end. For us, it was when I finished University. So from that at least, we knew we were looking at about three years. This might not be as easy for you personally but you still need to have some sort of idea or what’s the point? If it’s just going to be something that rolls on with no end destination, it’s inevitable that you may get hurt. Realistically, you want to be together full time eventually but together the two of you need to work out when this will be so you’re both on the same page and know what you are looking at.
This sounds like a really obvious one but try to involve your other half as much as possible by keeping them updated with your life. Realistically, you are both leading separate lives to an extent and it can be hurtful to not be in the know about aspects that you would be, should you not be in an LDR. Schedule in a Skype call or FaceTime once a week when you can just sit and chat together, picking out the important parts of their week. They’ll really appreciate it and so will you.
Spend time with other people
You know what it’s like to be in love, you want to spend all your time with your beloved – thinking about them, talking to them, physically being with them… The important thing is to not let your entire world revolve around them or when you will next be seeing them. Take up hobbies, socialise with friends and family, do some exercise and allow yourself time to just do you. Trust me, it’ll make missing them a bit easier and now is not the time to isolate yourself.
Admittedly, I had quite a few of these. We each had items of the other persons that we liked to have as a sort of comforter. This might not work for both of you (girls tend to get more comfort from this) but for those moments where you feel a bit rubbish and could really do with seeing them, having something to hold onto is a good way to help feel a bit better. For me it tended to be clothing because you then had the scent element to remind you of them even more. There are lots of options though, you just need to discover what works for you personally and what makes you feel better.
When communication is mostly via electronic devices, it’s easy for misunderstandings to occur and sometimes this can lead to arguments. If there are issues you want to raise, try and wait till you are together to discuss this or if this isn’t possible, do it via Skype/FaceTime so you are at least about to be face to face, leading to less confusion. It’s a really horrible situation when an argument happens over text and being able to reread texts and over analyse them can result in the situation being made even worse. Recognise that your relationship situation is a unique one and treat it as such. You may not want to ‘ruin’ your physical time together with a not so nice subject but you will find disagreements a lot easier and quicker to deal with in person than through text.
While there is of course text and WhatsApp, I actually really liked having a separate app just for the two of us. Our App of choice was Couple. You simply ‘join’ up on the App with your other half where you can message and send photos. Through the media you send each other, it creates a bank of ‘Moments’ which you can then go back and look through. You can send draw with each other and send voice clips and sweet’stickers. A key component we particularly liked was thumbkiss where you invite your partner to join you and match your thumbs to theirs. When both pressed together, your phone will vibrate, almost like a ‘kiss.’ It may sound daft but its actually really lovely and helps you feel just that bit closer.
Prepare for goodbyes
Ah the worst part of any LDR. I remember that on the days that I knew I would be saying to Goodbye to Matt for a while, I would wake up feeling absolutely miserable. Sometimes this is inevitable, it’s normal to be sad but don’t let it ruin the time you do have left together. Value this time and make the most of it, right up until the last moment. I’d recommend planning stuff for straight after like meeting friends or something that doesn’t allow yourself to think and wallow.
When there is distance between you, it’s likely there will be testing times. He or She will go to social occasions without you and that’s ok – great even! Neither of you want to become obsessive or controlling though you’d be forgiven for these thoughts coming into your head. The key part is not to act on them. Don’t send a snotty message about how he hasn’t replied to your text, doesn’t he care about you? These aren’t going to help anyone and you’ll end up feeling even worse. Trust is a huge part of any relationship and more so in an LDR as unsurprisingly, all emotions are amplified simply because you aren’t together. Right from the beginning you need to establish trust if your relationship is going to be a success as you will find you will facing more situations where it is trust that will pull you through.
I’d love to know your own experience with long distance relationships. Have you had one? Are you in one currently? Could you do one? Let me know in the comments! I hope you don’t mind the lack of photos in this week’s post. It was a deliberate decision as I simply wanted to write and (hopefully) share something that may be of help to someone somewhere.