With the world getting smaller all the time thanks to social networks, smartphones, and people relying on WiFi as much as they rely on oxygen, Long Distance Relationships are becoming more and more common. A lot of people try, and a lot of people fail, and it seems like generally, the perceived outlook for an LDR is kind of grim. BUT, there are also tonnes of people who make LDRs work, and not just in the short term. When the people are right, and the situation is right, there’s no reason why a Long Distance Relationship will stay long distance forever, or why it shouldn’t work at all.
I’ve spent several years of my life in LDRs. Do I like it? Absolutely not. Is it worth it to stay in a relationship with someone I love? Yes. I’m not going to lie, being apart when all you want is to have that person close to you is hard. It sucks. It creates all kinds of problems that a normal relationship wouldn’t face, and can even conjure up feelings of jealousy and insecurity that you never thought you would experience. But let me reiterate: it’s worth it. When the waiting is over, it’s so, so worth it.
My first LDR started when I was 17 and my boyfriend of 6 months went away to University. We were on and off long distance for over 4 years, and for the most part, it was fine. We did break up after I had lived abroad for a year and we hadn’t seen each other in 6 months, and yes, the distance did play a part, but this is an example of an LDR with the wrong people and just not knowing how to handle the situation. Being apart for long periods of time really shows you how hard you are willing to work at a relationship, and sometimes, it just isn’t enough.
My second LDR, I guess you could call a success story. My current boyfriend and I were apart for almost two years, and although we came close to breaking up a couple of times, we now live together, not only in the same country, but in the same house! The distance showed us not only that we really want to be together, but that we love each other even in our worst moments. We also know now that we can face some pretty big challenges, we can communicate with each other, we know how to reassure each other and what not to say to each other!
Anyway, that’s enough story time, let’s get on with the tips!
- Communicate. This is the number one, most important thing on this list. This is the most important thing for any relationship, but is even more essential in an LDR. Make time to talk about how you’re feeling, and listen to what your partner has to say.
- But don’t freak out. It’s so, so easy to assume the worst if your partner doesn’t reply to your message for a couple of hours, or says something a bit weird. Try not to freak out and leave them 100000 messages and missed calls, and don’t take it personally. It doesn’t actually matter if you don’t talk every single day – you’re still a priority.
- Read messages as though they had said it to you in person. That message that really hurt your feelings? Imagine your partner standing next to you. Is it something they would say, seriously, to your face? I experienced this a lot, since my partner and I are pretty much permanently bullying each other – but it’s hard to sense the tone in a text message, and very easy to take everything to heart.
- Give (and take) space. Learn how to use alone time. It’s not healthy to be in contact 24/7. You and your partner both need space – you might have to accept that they want theirs when you want to talk. Once again, you are still a priority, but you are not the only important thing in their life.
- Make Skype dates, and stick to them. You might not videochat every day, but when you are going to, make plenty of time and be available when you say you will be. Talk on the phone or videochat rather than messaging, if you can – messages are fine but hearing their voice is much more personal, and there’s less chance of misreading, misinterpreting and overthinking.
- Have meaningful conversations. You would think a long distance couple would have no problem finding things to talk about, but you might be surprised. Everyday occurrences that you might chat about in person might not be seem as interesting when you have an ocean between you, and ‘comfortable silence’ is much less comfortable without physical presence. Don’t be scared to get deep with your discussions and find unconventional things to talk about.
- Watch series together. A lovely couple thing to do is watch series and movies together, and you can still do that in a LDR. You might not watch at the same time, but following a story together is fun and exciting, and gives you another conversation topic. You could also read books together, if that’s your thing.
- Live your life. This one is related to ‘taking space,’ but if you sit around waiting to talk to your partner or dwell on how much you miss them, you’re going to get bored, lonely and sad very quickly. These feelings are natural and normal, of course, when the person you love is far away, but it’s easy to get sucked in by themand hard to climb back out. Hang out with your friends and family, take day trips, read books, work on and pamper yourself, do things you love, just like you would if your partner was with you. Try to stay positive, and talking to or spending time with your partner will be an even more positive experience.
- Trust. Trust your partner. They want to be with you. Why else would they put in the effort to be in a long distance relationship with you? Trust them when they say they love you and they can’t wait to be together. But, also trust your gut. Sometimes, you have to let things run their course. If you feel like something has changed in you or in your partner and your heart isn’t in it any more, it’s okay to let the relationship go – you will both move on to bigger and better things.