Long distance relationships?
No lies will be told: they’re hard.
Like, really hard.
You’ll cry a lot. Walking through the streets, seeing couples holding hands? Not fun. Talking to friends who have their significant others with them every other day? Sucks even harder. You may even feel like everyone has their partner close to them, but you.
Of course, you know that’s stupid. You don’t really know which of the couples you see at the mall actually get to spend a lot of time together, do you? No.
But that won’t matter.
Not at that moment.
You will just wish you had your person with you too.
Some days, you’ll just curl up in bed and hug something. Your pillow. A stuffed teddy. A lamp. Who knows. That’s okay though. Some may say you should snap out of it, but I don’t agree. Allowing yourself to truely feel your own reactions to your circumstance is actually healthy. Lying to yourself will only repress you and cause a bigger and more explosive build-up of emotions.
And you don’t need that.
Have your moments. Don’t hang out when you don’t feel like it.
But — listen carefully now …
You can’t stay like that.
You WILL need to get up and live your life. Wash your face and hang out with other people. They need you too. Your friends are still there and you should never, ever make them feel like they are always second-class to your relationship, especially if your partner is miles away. Make plans and go through with them.
If you have siblings and cousins, spend time with them too. Enjoy your family while you have the time and freedom to do so. Remember, when your relationship gets even more serious, you’ll have more responsibilities, more obligations, and less time for catching up with everyone.
This is also the time to join groups and learn new skills, hobbies, and whatever else. Staying busy will help you to spend less time thinking about how lonely you feel.
Sometimes, you just won’t feel like doing any of that.
I feel you.
LDR’s require work. Lots of it. There is nothing simple about keeping the fire burning when you’re too far away to see each other every few days, at least. This is where your commitment really gets tested. But first, a question:
Is there an end in sight?
You can make any relationship work if you put your head to it. But, the thing with LDR’s is that they are easier to get through if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If one of you is in the army, you can look forward to your leave. If you’re travelling for school or work, there is usually a graduation or an end to the contract that will have you returning home at some point–or bringing your partner to be with you. Long distance relationships with no plans for either party to move closer to the other can be stressful as you spend too much time not being in each other’s company, and probably taking a very long time to get to know each other on a physical level (and I don’t mean sex) as well.
This physical level is knowing what your person is like in an everyday setting. That’s simply impossible if you almost never see each other in action. You won’t know what it’s like to spend a few days in the house with them, or what their daily routines are before and after work or school. You can cultivate a whole fantasy in your head that falls apart if you two actually DO end up living near or with each other. It’s a risk, but less damaging if you manage to visit as often as you can, and keep the “long distance” phase of the relationship as short as possible.
I’ve had long distance relationships that didn’t work, and one that did. Be prepared for the possibility that you both may not be able to handle it, or that you realize that it’s going to be far too long before you’ll ever both have a chance to be physically together. Maybe you’ll realize that your lives are heading in different directions and that hanging on to the threads in the fraying rope of your relationship makes no sense anymore.
Or, perhaps your goals and activities are moving closer together and your relationship is only growing stronger as your time apart gets shorter and shorter. That’s what is happening in my current LDR as we use this time to build our bond, while making lots of plans for the future. Of course, we know that not all of these plans will pan out, and we will probably have to make many adjustments along the way (or be completely blindsided) but it’s still fun to dream and anticipate the next time we’ll see each other again.
I wish I could give you a set of tips that would guarantee success keeping your LDR alive, but I can’t. Every relationship is different. However, I will say that communication is the best tool you have to make the right choices, and that includes the choice of whether to stay together or not.
If you can talk about everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — you’ll probably be okay. Talk about the good times you had the last time you were together. Talk about how you’re feeling now. Share you days, send little notes, gifts, and postcards, if you’re into that. Or just get silly and send picture of whatever you want (hint hint!) over Whatsapp and Skype. Make it work. Or don’t be afraid to take a break if it doesn’t.