Let’s get real here, long distance relationships suck. Big time. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but let’s call that what it is: complete bull-ogna.
I found myself a sweet Englishman who happens to still live in the United Kingdom, so I get it. There’s roughly 4,000 miles between him and I, and a 5 hour time difference. Fun. People often comment on it with the typical, “Omg, is that hard-it seems so hard. How do you do it?” I laugh it off, but yes, basically it can feel like my heart is being carved out with a spoon and replaced with a WhatsApp message or Skype call. So how do you do it? Honestly, I don’t have all the answers, and maybe I’m doing it all wrong, but here’s what two years with a boy across the pond has taught me:
It’s hard…really hard sometimes.
I won’t lie to you and say that it’s a walk in the park and “if you love each other enough it’ll come easily” (<-worst advice I’ve ever gotten). There will be days when you question yourself and your relationship, and ask if this is really what you want. There will be times when you need that physical connection so bad it’s almost painful. Sometimes you’ll be so mad at your person that you are kind of glad there’s an ocean between the two of you. But it won’t always feel like this. That’s what I tell myself every time I have a case of the LDR blues. Does it suck? Yes, undoubtedly. Is it worth it? To quote my British beau, indubitably.
Honesty is the best policy
You’ve heard this a million times from your parents since the age of 3, but in this case, it’s true. Long distance requires an immense amount of trust, so being open and honest about what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, who that random in the picture at the bar is…is so important. Not that you have to tell your partner what you’re up to every second of the day, but be considerate. Telling your boy/girlfriend that you didn’t mention that thing that seemed sketchy, but I swear it isn’t makes it seem sketchier. Lying by omission is still lying, so it’s best to just fess up. If you’re not honest about how you’re feeling, if you’re having doubts or if you simply miss the hell out of them, how are they going to know? Your partner isn’t a mind-reader, so don’t treat them like one.
Organic Communication is Key
Yes, it is important to communicate as often as possible. However,I’ve found the best policy when it comes to actually talking (whether on the phone, video chat, etc) is best when it’s organic. Now I’m not talking about texting, but actually hearing your partner’s voice and/or seeing their face. Let me say this very clearly: it is unrealistic and unfair to the both of you to to expect to speak everyday. Between time differences, jobs, social obligations, and just life in general, it can be hard to step away for a nightly chat. Sometimes you just don’t have anything to talk about. And that’s okay. Trying to force a conversation can lead to resentment or “filler conversations” about nothing…both of which are best to avoid. That being said, if you or your partner decides to opt out of a conversation that night, don’t take it personally. Let it remind you that they are a human being outside of their relationship with you.
A Little Reassurance Goes A Long Way
When there are several towns, state lines, or oceans between you and the person you want to be with the most, your brain can be a nasty little thing. It never hurts to send that extra “I love you” text- it can make all the difference. Feel free to send the extra “I’m proud of you” or “I’m so lucky”…it’s always nice to hear and could be just what the other person needs. Continually reminding each other how you feel about one another, that your partner is important, and that the relationship means something can only make you two stronger.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Some things just aren’t worth fighting about. Seriously, don’t get into it over that weird hypothetical situation that is never actually going to happen, but you’re going to get mad about your partner’s response to it anyway. Now, this goes for all relationships, not LDRs. However, it’s harder to bounce back from an argument when the other person is not physically there to hash it out with. My advice? Try your best not to argue about the petty things. When you’re in the wrong, suck it up and apologize. Yes, you’ll have arguments because nobody is perfect. But when those arguments are about things that don’t matter, you’re just adding stress into an already stressful situation.
Make Sure the Distance is Temporary
This will make all the difference, I promise. Knowing that there is a plan and a countdown to when you will see your person next is so important. It gives you both something to look forward to, and grounds your relationship in the real world. It can be so easy to fall into a mindset of what I call the “cyber-relationship,” where sometimes it doesn’t even feel real. Having a plan about when you’ll physically see them again is a reminder that this is an actual relationship with a real person. My guy likes to make countdowns, whereas I just ask him because I’m lazy and suck at technology, but knowing that there is a specific date to look forward to makes the tough times hard.
Of course there are many other things that go into maintaining a long distance relationship, but for me, these are the most important. I can sum this up in one sentence: have respect for your partner and their feelings. Above all in our relationship, I want my man to know that I respect him and care about the way he feels, and I know he feels the same way. At the end of the day you have to want the relationship to work more than anything.
Yes, our relationship is hard, but he’s the love of my life and I wouldn’t want to do this without him (cheesy & gross, I know). He makes my days brighter, and makes me feel like I’m the most important girl in the world. I’ve gone on the most incredible adventures with him, and seen the most beautiful places. He’s worth all the downsides. As long as we have that…hey 77 days, 19hours, 41 minutes and 32 seconds until I see him isn’t too bad 😉
Are you or have you been in a long distance relationship? Let me know your advice/experience in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. As always, thanks for reading, and stay golden!