Hey, how ya doin’? Yep, I’m back. Let’s get to it!
With years of experience dealing with long distance relationships, I think I know enough about how to make them work. So, if you’re considering entering one, or are in one and need a little boost, or assistance, I hope these tips will be of some use.
*Disclaimer* I AM NOT A LDR/RELATIONSHIP EXPERT! Nuh badda blame me if things go sour, ha!
1. Make sure you BOTH want to do long distance. If one person is not enthused, jump ship. Abort mission. Say peace out and keep it moving. That person who isn’t on board will, most likely, blame every upcoming problem on the distance, even when there is no correlation.
Don’t worry, you can find someone else. You don’t want to be with someone who isn’t going to put in the time, effort and energy to make it work, anyway.
2. Establish an end date. Do not be one of those people who ends up twiddling their thumbs endlessly for the eventual reunification. It gets exhausting. Having an end date also helps in two ways:
-On a GOOD day, it helps you to plan. So, if you’re doing, say, 5 months of LD, you can try to plan 5 monthly activities to keep things interesting.
-On a BAD day, being able to look on your calendar and knock off time already gone serves as motivation to keep on keeping on. Kinda like when you’re closer to your goal of saving money or so.
3. Discuss the mode and frequency of communication you expect PRIOR TO the beginning of the distance. Are we Skyping? Skyping once a day or once a week? Do you expect to hear from me daily?
You may not have to discuss these things when your relationship has you in the same place. I mean, it tends to come naturally. But with new places, routines, different time zones etc., it’s good to have an idea of each other’s expectations. But be flexible…you’ll see why below.
4. Okay, so now you’ve started the relationship. He is nicely settled in Australia and you’re in New York. Now what? COMMUNICATE! Talk as often as you both need to, but be flexible and accommodating. I’d recommend scheduling talk time. Sched-what?! That’s so boring! …..Perhaps, but it’s better than running the risk of barely ever talking.
Also, remember discussing how frequently you guys were gonna talk? This is the time to see if that works or not. If someone is off at school, the pre-determined talk time for an hour every night may not actually work. If you’re in two different time zones, an email a day may be a better bet than say, a phone call, which may disturb sleeping house-mates. These are all kinks you’ll have to work on when you first start out. What you wanted to do before may change. That’s fine.
5. Remember, life happens. I say this because I know all too well about things getting in the way to mess up communication. If you’re in Jamaica, light may go. Womp womp…that means no Skype for you. Or, a person may oversleep. Your girl may have to work late and that cuts into you’re scheduled talk time. Your husband’s car may break down while you’re sitting at the computer waiting for him to talk to you. Point is, don’t be mad if something throws off your routine. Now if it happens all the time and they never send you a message beforehand, that’s a different matter. But for one-off things, be understanding.
6. Keep your activities varied. Telephone calls only are not enough. Skype alone is not enough. Emails alone, nope…not gonna cut it. Social media…nuh uh. No one form of communication is good enough to make a relationship last. It doesn’t work for no- distance relationships and it certainly won’t work for this. Be creative and thoughtful.
7. Keep yourself occupied! Hello! This opportunity for being in a relationship but not having the person there constantly is a blessing! You know why? It gives you the best of both worlds. The significant other AND the chance to do whatever the hell you want, because now you have a lot more time. Make use of it! Go read the mountain of books you have gathering dust. Go check out that new restaurant. Go out more with your friends. Join a club. Take drive- outs alone. Visit Portland. Write a book. Whatever.
Not only does it distract you from missing the person, but it also gives you new things to bring up when you guys chat. Let me tell you about my day. I went and picked up the girls and then we drove to the beach and saw this really funny thing happen or well, I woke up, ate, went back to sleep. Which sounds better? Yes, the first one.
Also, if you’re the person who has left and gone to a new place, go explore it! Do not be that fool sitting waiting hopelessly by the telephone.
8. Do not seek the validation of those around you. More often than not, people don’t support long distance relationships. I cannot tell you how often I’ve heard that they don’t work, that I’m wasting my time, that there are people around I could be going out with, and other such things. It’s okay for people to have their opinions, but focus on you and your relationship. You know why you decided to take the LD plunge. You know the qualities that are in this person which keep you attached to them in spite of the miles of separation. You know your end goal. Keep focused on that so that when you do hear stuff from the nay-sayers, you can block their negativity. By the way, a little gem to throw back to people who say LDR never work…no-distance relationships also fail left, right, and centre. May what will happen, happen.
There are hard times in every relationship, but with trust, and a little extra work, a long distance relationship can most certainly work out. And if you don’t believe me, check the internet for thousands of success stories!