Long distance relationships are for the birds. Literally, birds fly all over the place and it’s not a problem for them. For us human folk, long distance relationships can work…but not forever. Not unless you’re fine with only having sex once a month and relish in constant alone time – then by all means stop reading.
Relationships are hard. Period. They take work, compromise, and respect. Relationships are also (supposed to be) fun and fulfilling; providing companionship, shared laughter, a shoulder to cry on, and a unique bond shared between the two of you that no one else can define.
So you take all of that, and then separate yourself by a thousand miles or two. Little moments that “normal” couples take for granted everyday become the heartache for the long distance relationship. Dinners are spent alone and there’s a void in the bed. Movies aren’t seen together and there aren’t any hugs waiting for you at the end of a bad day. There’s the bigger stuff too. Fights happen over the phone – like that makes it a whole lot easier. Schedules are cleared and rearranged just so you can spend a weekend together. Compulsively visiting Travelocity and Expedia becomes a way of life.
If you are in a long distance relationship, here are a few tips to making it work:
#1 You have to talk somehow.
In a world of cell phones, emails, and skype, staying in touch is pretty easy. Schedule your phone or skype time as often as it takes to fill your need. No one is able to recount their entire day, detail by detail, but sharing stories about the work day, jokes, the latest news, are all standard to any relationship near or far.
#2 Be spontaneous.
This doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. A simple text saying “I’m thinking about you” without any prompting helps with the far-away feeling. Another thought is to send a card, or if you are more inclined write a letter. People don’t mail anything anymore and it’s always special to see that extra something among the bills. It’s nice to hold something tangible instead of dragging an email into the archives.
#3 Get creative.
Did you just finish a great book? Mail it to them. Feeling depressed about spending another date night alone? Make a drinking game out of your favorite movie and watch it together via skype. Want to do something special? Send an edible fruit arrangement to their work. Show your partner how thoughtful you can be.
#4 Show your commitment.
Missing out on the physical part of the relationship can be a deal breaker for most, but it’s a fact of life for the long distance people. It’s easy to get lonely, and be weary of stirring up feelings of jealousy. If you are going out with friends, be honest with your partner about who will be there and where you’re going. Withholding information because you don’t want to worry your partner is not a good strategy. You are both going to be engaged in separate activities from miles away and must both exude understanding and trust.
Who is visiting who, next? How are you splitting the holidays? Be honest and be flexible. No one wants to constantly give in, and you can’t always have it your way.
All of the above tips mentioned are applicable to any relationship. It just takes a different twist when considering your long distance partnership. The last tip however…
#6 Know that it’s only temporary.
Maybe you both love being long distance and it works for you. That’s freaking wonderful. For the other 99.8% of long distance couples you have to know it doesn’t work forever. A lot of people want to have families – you can’t have a long distance family. Relationships are about sharing your life with someone, and you can’t share your life over the phone until the end of time.
Chances are, one of you is moving to live with the other. Be understanding of the new changes and be patient with each other. Look forward to the day where arranging your schedule for another trip is no longer a concern and you can fight over where to keep the coffee filters.