I’ve done it, as have many people. Just because this is so, does not living apart from your love easy. Like many things in life, it takes patience, work, and a bit of nonchalance. This ‘recipe’, if you will, is how the marido (husband) and I made it work for two years.
We were both quite young and we forged our way through it. Sometimes when you know, you know. I’m not saying there weren’t bad times because there definitly was. Not having dates for events, being alone at night, when friends are with their boyfriends and you’re home alone with no plans and a pint of Ben & Jerrys to get you through the night. I would cry to Joan on the phone, (using a calling card) and wail to him about him not being there with me. I wasn’t the easiest girlfriend to long distance with at first, but it got better and I learned what worked.
I learned that if one of us couldn’t be on the phone, even though we planned to be, it was not the end of the world. I learned that while dates were important and time was valuable, we would speak when we could. Truthfully, we spoke about every day by email. Back then we would Skype to call. Long Distance Relationship’s today have Facetime, Whatsapp, Social Media, YouTube; we didn’t have any of that to fall back on. We sent each other actual letters and burned CDs. Can you imagine? So much more time was involved in LDR’s in the early 2000’s. So forgive me, but I do have trouble feeling sorry for someone when their significant other is only a few hours away or away for a short time.
So if you are in a Long Distance Relationship, what can you possibly do to make it easier? I’ll tell you five things we did and hopefully they will work for you too!
When J and I were dating, I had a full class load at university, was involved in many extra-curricular activities, had social obligations and a full-time job. He knew that I wouldn’t always be able to call each day, no matter how much I wanted to. I knew that he had university and work with his father and I didn’t sweat it if we missed a call or two. There is more to a relationshp than calls. Those missed connections are opprotunities to build trust and practice patience and forgiveness, if needed. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, if either of you aren’t bothering to email, text or contact each other in any meaningful way at all for a few days, then ask yourself, why not? It’s not about ‘spamming’ each other and obsessively being lovey-dovey. It will get exhausting if you are trying to overcompensate for distance. It’s an ebb and flow of conversation and interaction.
Make an Effort
On the other hand, relationships aren’t rewarded by laziness. You should really try to be there when you say you will. You should keep your promises and keep them often. I can count on one hand the times J missed a phone call, in the last nine years. He is very reliable and now, if he doesn’t answer, I think he’s been murdered. He’s that good. He made an effort back then and he does now. Remember, that a person is willing to do in a Long Distance Relationship, usually reflects what a person is willing to do when they’re right next door. The key to this would be to set realistic expectations for each other up front, so both parties know what the other has in mind. Sharing schedules is even easier with shared calendars and apps, so you can know when the other is in class or at work and that will help figure out when is best to call and it alleviates tons of stress!
Send Something Sweet
We made CDs for each other and wrote letters that were sent by post. It was a way to have something tangible from the other person. Once, I asked Joan to wear a clean t-shirt to bed and send it to me the next day because I missed his scent. He did and it arrived a week later, with the subtle scent of him. I wore it to bed every night. Even now, if he goes away for business, I always wear the shirt to bed he wore the night before. He would have me spray my perfume on the letters I sent. The point is, be thoughtful, be sweet, be creative. This is true of any relationship, long distance or not.
Visit Each Other
Traveling is expensive and with limited vacation days, family and social obligations and life in general, visiting your significant other can be tricky but it is rarely impossible. This next bit is important, if you really love each other, you will make time. We have time for what we want to make time for. Joan visited me five times in two years and he came all the way from Spain. He made it happen, even if it meant spending more than he should have or missing parties with friends. I was a very poor college student and I really truly couldn’t. I made it up to him by just moving there and living there six years. One long ‘visit’ for the win! The point is, if someone really cares about you, they’ll make sure you know it and you won’t have any doubts.
Find Ways To Do Things Together
Read the same book, watch a TV series, have a movie night-some things you can do to foster those shared experiences and have something besides your day-to-day lives to talk about. Joan and I did this through music. We would share albums and artists and discuss what we liked and loved or didn’t care for. I learned so much from him through this process and we still do the same thing today. Now, with all the ways to communicate and see each other, I really can only imagine how much easier the relationship I had with Joan would be if we had met in 2015 instead of 2006.
These things worked for us and can work for you too. Because each relationship is different, advice can be hard to give. In all honesty, it is up to the two people in the relationship to establish their needs and expectations. If you are in a situation where you are debating whether to continue with a LDR or write someone off because they live too far away, I would reconsider. I would go as far to say that I learned more about my husband, and in a much deeper way, than I would have if we lived in the same city. Email and texting can reveal so much because we are forced to think outside the realm of ‘How was your day’ and ‘What do you want to do tonight’. Though those two years were incredibly difficult at times, what are a few years for a lifetime of happiness?