You’ve been dating for a while now and suddenly a lifestyle change bites you in the butt just when you finally feel comfortable. One of you will be moving away. You’re filled with mixed emotions of happiness and sorrow, and the only question you ask yourself is, “How will our relationship work?” Long distance relationships have a reputation of being extremely scary, and they are at times, but they are also 100% manageable. These are my tips on how to make it work when you’re miles apart.
1. Don’t Emphasize The Distance
One of the worst things you can do before one of you departs on a new journey is emphasizing how far apart you two will be. Obviously that number will be in the back of your mind, but if you say it during conversation it only makes it sound worse. Don’t mention the exact number of miles or how long your journeys to visit each other will be. You know it’s going to be tough, so don’t keep rubbing it in.
I was in a relationship for 11 months when I found out my boyfriend at the time was moving away, and our distance was a 26 hour car ride. I found it easier to say where he was going for school rather than saying, “He’s going to be so far that it’ll take me over a day to drive there!”
2. Have Conversations With Your Partner About Them/You Leaving
It sounds like a no brainer, but you need to get your feelings off your chest when it comes to something as big as this. It’s normal to have doubts and be afraid to talk about it because you fear their reaction, but you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re saying it for the first time on Skype and they’re not there to hug you.
My ex and I would often talk about our fears and feelings about making a long distance relationship work, but it helped us come up with somewhat of a game plan for when he did leave. I shed a lot of tears the days leading up to our final goodbye, and a lot more after he left. It’s okay to be vulnerable and to be upset. You’re going to miss each other!
3. Have A Game Plan
Try to set a schedule for the both of you where you can coordinate a phone call or Facetime chat whenever works best for you. If one of you is working odd hours or has late classes every day, pick a weekly time that works for both you. Even if it’s for 5 minutes, it’s better than nothing.
In my own long distance situation we were both in school so we didn’t get to talk much during the day. Every night before bed we’d call each other. Some days the conversations were two hours long, others they were only two minutes. We found what worked for other people didn’t always work for us so we had to make our own “rules.”
4. Make Visits When You Can
If you have the accessibility and the time, take the jump and spend a few days together. Try to make your visits not too close together or else it won’t feel nearly as special. The longer you spend apart, the better your time will be when you’re reunited.
Because we were both in school, my boyfriend and I timed it out so that we would see each other every 7 weeks or so. I flew to see him at reading week, then he came home for Christmas break six weeks later. In the second semester I flew to see him eight weeks into the semester, then he came home for his reading week. You have some of your best memories on these mini vacations, and having consistent stretches of time apart makes it easier.
5. Keep Communicating
The second you stop communicating in a relationship you’ll start noticing problems. If you and your significant other already have issues keeping in contact with each other, then distance will be extremely difficult. Sometimes we rely on physical interaction to keep our relationships going, but when you aren’t able to have that, sadly you’re going to have to rely on technology. Luckily it’s easy to keep in contact these days.
6. Trust Them
Trust is a big thing in any relationship, but obviously when you’re not always there your mind can begin to think the worse. If you already have a history of not trusting your partner, than dating through distance might not be the best for you. It’ll take a huge toll on you emotionally and will only cause bigger fights between you two.
I don’t think I could have lasted in my LDR if I didn’t trust him. I knew he wasn’t a real party boy, or one to get too close to women. He had his friends and I had mine, and we were both okay with that. Not once did we ever question each other, or even come close to it.
7. Do What Works Best For You
Moral of the story: what one couple finds helpful, may not work well for another. Every couple is different and has a unique bond that brings them together. Be open to taking suggestions, like these, but don’t be afraid to try experimenting ways to make it work better for you!
There’s no handbook on the perfect way to tackle dating long distance, there will be fights, moments of weakness where you just need to hear their voice, funny stories you have to share the second you speak, and moments where you cry alone in your room just because you miss their physical presence. I went through an entire school year of it, but my relationship lasted just fine! We did break up eventually, but it was not about the distance between us physically, it was due to other reasons, but we beat the odds together.
When both parties are willing to stay committed to each other and remain faithful, there is no reason why your relationship shouldn’t work. If you love the person, you will keep that flame going without a doubt.