Why is it that the things that are the most worth it, never come easy? I guess it makes us value them more, right? Well, long distance relationships are no exception.
As our lives continue to move forward, some of our relationship are left behind. However, the ones we want to keep with us throughout these changes in our lives, well, that’s why those are so treasured. Although these relationships come with many challenges, the commitment needed to maintain one, creates some of the strongest bonds from those that succeed. Hopefully, mine will be one of these success stories.
If two people are willing to go the extra mile for one another, its something that (although it doesn’t feel like it at times) we are lucky to be a part of. So if you’re fortunate enough to have something like this, you may benefit from these twelve tips I’m about to share with you. But first, here’s a brief overview of our story.
As of today, we have been together for a year and a half (yay!). Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, this isn’t very long, but it’s the longest relationship both of us have been in. We met over the summer in Seattle where I was living for school, and where he was doing an internship. We met at a bar and there’s a whole meet-cute going on there, but that’s for a different post. After the bar night, we went on dates throughout the summer and quickly became the greatest summer fling I could have imagined!
Side note here: neither one of us wanted to do long-distance or be in a relationship when we went back to college, for my last year and his second to last year (no he’s not younger, he’s in a five year college program). But then, I guess, who does?
Anyways, the summer went on and we were 100% a couple. We spent every night together for the last month at either one of our houses. When the time came for school to start – it sucked. But, as we said, we went our separate ways. Two weeks into school, with texting going on everyday still, we had our first Skype session, where all the feelings and questions poured out.
Sorry, speeding things up here…
Anyways, we’ve basically been doing long distance for 15 of the 18 months we’ve been together and we’ve still got a year and a half before we’ll hopefully be in the same state again.
Needless to say, we aren’t perfect, and it definitely hasn’t been easy, but, we’ve figured out a way to love each other and enjoy this process until we can be in the same zip code, and here’s some ways that help us out.
No. 1: Utilize the different ways to communicate
Now-a-days when there’s so many methods of communication at our disposal, we need to utilize it! While texting is fun, take advantage of all the other forms of contacting one another. Call each other, Facetime, snapchat in the moment, write a letter, send flowers and a card, leave voicemails, post on social media, all different ways to show them you’re thinking about them. (Side note: virtually hanging out is extremely important, make this a priority!) By participating in these different ways, you’ll continuously put a smile on your partner’s face and a reminder that this situation is worth it (that’s key).
No. 2: Avoid “dangerous” situations
It’s a good thing to understand what your partner’s “danger” zones are. If you already know that going to the club, being in a private room full of girls at a party, or drinking with friends, doesn’t make your partner feel comfortable, you should probably either a) not do it or b) tell your person before hand to reassure them. By avoiding or carefully navigating these questions, you will gain more trust in the relationship. Don’t be careless or sneaky about this sort of matter because your partner will be prematurely extra worried about this particular insecure situation.
Also, just be careful if you find yourself “hanging out” with a cute friend, going out with one person only of the opposite sex after work, or flirting just because. If you are uncomfortable or cannot be around this other person with your significant other, that’s a warning sign. If you don’t show affection to your partner around this person, that is also a sign. Just, when you’re in a relationship, you need to recognize these situations before delving further into them and potentially get out of the situation. Think of the big picture.
And, for god sake’s people, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is uncomfortable with you being around a specific person, talk to them about it. If it doesn’t go away, remember who you’re in the relationship with, and that’s the person’s feelings that should really be considered.
No. 3: read and watch the same things
If watching Game of Thrones with your person is your jam, this is the perfect excuse to make this a binge-watcher’s dream come true. Regardless of whether its reading certain articles or following along with the same tv show or podcast, having this simple knowledge and common talking point will help ease the difficulty of not being in the same place. For instance, my boyfriend and I just finished watching all the seasons of The Office when we were together and apart, which gave us an activity to do apart that made us feel more connected.
No. 4: Know what the expectations are
This is extremely important: you have to know each other’s expectations. Knowing what your partner expects from you will help you know how to meet your partners needs and lessen potential arguments. I need to reiterate one more time with emphasis: knowing expectations of your relationship is incredibly important for those trying to stick together in the long run. Understanding expectations on commitment, the consistency of how you communicate, what’s important to you, the extent of what you will do for each other, how often you’ll visit, and much more, will help your each other understand what each person wants. For instance, when my boyfriend had a company party in Seattle and I had work the day of and after, I took a second to ask “is this important to you that I be there?” When he said yes, I knew to make it possible.
Understanding when its necessary to do just a little bit more is important, and trust me, knowing the expectations and meeting it, prevents future disagreements and poor attitudes.
No. 5: Don’t take things too personally
So the fact of the matter is, you and your partner live two separate lives in two unique places, with numerous amounts of activities going on. This means, that although your relationship is incredibly important, not everything your partner feels and does is a reaction to you. Try not to judge the time between texts or the length of the text and automatically assume something is wrong. Confession: this is way easier said than done, I’m awful at it. But, trust the idea that your partner will tell you if there are any issues. Like my boyfriend always says, assume we’re flawless unless I tell you something is wrong.
Its hard to trust, but just try it.
No. 6: Have dates to look forward to
This is a fun one! With long distance relationships, getting through the day to day without seeing your partner is very difficult as you may know. Therefore, having a countdown date is a great way to get through everyday. Plan a weekend, book a concert, a next meet up date; just something that you can push through the tough times for. Those words “four more days until we see each other”, has been a great little kick to brighten up each day. Even have a countdown on your home screen, if you’re into it.
On top of that. people make time for what’s important and setting dates (and committing to them) will keep the relationship happy and healthy.
No. 7: Discuss a clear future goal
Long distance relationships are not a permanent relationship situation, it’s a temporary solution. So how long does this situation last? As I mentioned above, having meeting dates will help you get through the tough days, but having an end goal is (dare I say) mandatory for success. Every relationship is different, which is why it’s extremely important to talk about a future goal. How do you keep going each day if you don’t know how long you have to be apart? When will you be in the same zip code, permanently? What’s the end result? I know there is pressure with talking about the future but not having a similar goal will affect the relationship in the now.
No. 8: Have a safe word for your emotions
This one may not be for you, but it works for me. My boyfriend and I have a word that we can text each other if we are frustrated or feel neglected. Well, this is mostly for me, but with him still being in college, living in a fraternity in that party lifestyle, sometimes there’s a lot going on and I feel forgotten. Yes, maybe it’s in my mind that I make it worse, but instead of calling him a million times, I can send him this word and he knows how I feel. From there, he can take a minute and call me to make me feel better. This stops my brain from running in circles.
No. 9: Call before bed
This one is simple, but calling before bed every night, no matter what, let’s each other know you’re the last person on their mind before bed. Even if it is 4am after a night of partying, the one going out will always call the other person to let them know. It’s our little safety net. Whether we talk on the phone or not, there would be a missed call the morning, which gives peace of mind.
No. 10: Know each other’s schedule
It’s helpful to know when the other person is busy or free so that you can text and call at the right time. If you think about it, you don’t want to disturb your partner when they are in the middle of class, exams, work, etc. If you don’t know their schedule and they can’t get to the phone, you might end up feeling frustrated or worried about some situation you’ve conjured in your head. Also, knowing each others schedule can help you support one another during important events so you can encourage before and support afterwards.
No. 11: Do surprises from miles away
Surprising someone when you live in the same zip code is already a great feeling, so of course its increasingly more meaningful when you’re miles apart. Try sending flowers, a letter instead of a text, a surprise visit, buy an airplane or bus ticket for the other person, just something that says “I love you” and “you’re worth it”. There it is again, that reminder that they are worth it. Don’t under-estimate the power of these words, they do wonders with reassurance.
No. 12: Don’t forget about sexy time
Lastly, don’t forget to include sexy time into your relationship pie chart. Sex is undoubtably one of the most important aspects between couples and keeps both parties from drifting apart. Keeping this alive across miles is obviously more difficult than being a touch away, but don’t count it out. Figure out a way for you and your partner to make this a possibility, in whichever method you’re both most comfortable. I’ll leave that open to you. Comment if you want a post with more information on different ideas for this specifically, but for now, that’s all I’ll say about that.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Please comment below on your thoughts! And, of course, please know that this is all things that are easier written than done. Even with over a year of practice, my boyfriend and I still don’t have it down.
Just remember, have an ending goal, but enjoy this special journey the two of you get to go on.