“Going the distance every occasion, headed for somewhere out of the way” – Lights.
If you followed me for quite a while, you might have realized that I mention a certain boyfriend every once in a while. Well, in case you were wondering, that guy still exists, and while we are having our ups and downs, we are still surviving this whole long-distance relationship thing. What you might not know however is that we actually spent way less time living in the same city than we did apart while being a couple. There was not always a difference of 8 time zones, but we are rather experienced when it comes to long-distance relationships. And since I fell like in our globalized world more and more couples experience something similar at some point, I quickly wanted to write a few points you might want to consider and keep in mind should you face my current situation.
Trust in your relationship
Can you count how many times you have heard the words “what’s meant to be will be”? I can’t. But when it comes to relationships, I have to agree with the saying. According to my own and friends’ experiences, if your relationship works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, no matter whether you are living together or on different continents. When you and your partner are sure about your relationship, you will be able to maintain a long-distance relationship, so stop worrying. One thing the distance however does is, if there are things that might eventually tear you apart, the distance will lead to a quicker split. For me, distance always makes me realize what is important for me in a relationship, and if your partner and you have similar expectations for your future together. One of my friends, who broke up with her boyfriend after going the distance, told me that she always knew that it wasn’t quite right, but it was nice having someone around. As she spent time on her own she realized what exactly annoyed her about her (ex-)boyfriend, and that this won’t change even if they were going to live in the same place again, so they seperated. Living in a new place on your own always makes you think about what you actually want a little more, and if this is staying with your partner (and they feel the same), it will work. Have faith.
For me, this is one of the most important points. Every couple communicates differently, but make sure you stay in contact. In my opinion it’s no relationship if you don’t share at least most parts of your life, and since you cannot be there to experience different moments together, you have to find other ways to live through them together. My boyfriend and I are basically always messaging each other when we are awake and try to cram in a Skype-call once a week, but I know quite a lot of couples who call each other every day whenever they have time. You could send each other estensive love letters, but I would go crazy having only month-old information. I am an impatient person. Try to find a way to communicate that’s best for both of you, and keep it up as regularly as possible. Also, you will get to know your partner on a completely new level as you will be forced to actually talk a lot, and I know that quite a few couples don’t really do that, especially in the early stages. ;)
Don’t get jealous
I am convinced that being jealous is the worst thing you can do when being in a long-distance relationship. There is no way to control what your partner is doing, so you have to believe in what they are telling you. However, I do believe that trust is extremely important in every relationship, no matter if living together or miles apart. You should openly talk about what is okay to do for each of you, and what might upset each other – I know a couple who went as far as being fine with one-night-stands as long as it really was one night only. Just talk about it – if possible before moving – and make sure to stick to it. And if you cannot trust your partner 100%, your relationship might be in trouble anyways.
Make time for each other
This point again is important whether you live close or apart. However, it does get quite a bit harder when being apart. Different time zones, work/uni schedules and other things you want to do will make it difficult for you to find time to talk. Here it is important to plan a little bit ahead and make time for each other. Whether that requires one of you staying up a little later or getting up a little earlier, some things need a little bit of dedication. However, please don’t stop your life just to be able to talk to them (see the last point).
Always know when you will meet next
Make plans together. For me it’s extremely important to have something to work towards, in life and in relationships, so knowing when you will be able to hold each other again makes everything a lot easier – whether that is in a day, a month or even a year. Also make sure to stick to the plans you make, because nothing is more upsetting than being excited about something for what feels like an eternity, and then one party cancels last-minute. Of course, stuff happens and you might not be able to make it anymore, but in that case try to find a new date to see each other as soon as possible – it really does help to make time go by faster and makes you feel like you work towards a common goal.
Surprise each other every once in a while
In every relationship it is nice to surprise each other every once in a while. When living together, you might see something that reminds you of your partner, and simply get it for them. Don’t stop doing things like that just because you are physically not that close to each other anymore. While it might take a little more effort to surprise each other when living apart, in my opinion, it’s still worth it. In times of Amazon (side note: Dear Australia, could you please be normal and sell something other than books on Amazon? :D ), eBay and other shops it’s really easy to order stuff online and simply send it to each other. You can also send beautifully handwritten letters, or little care-packages with things that remind you of each other. Put in a little effort, and let the other one know that you think about them – it’s a very easy thing to do and will make their day.
Be open about your feelings
This point is very closely linked to the one about communicating. You are not close to each other to sense what the other person is feeling or going through at the moment, so you will have to tell them. When something upsets you, makes you happy or furious, tell your partner. It doesn’t matter if they are the reason for your feelings, but if you hate the world, you will also hate them, and they will not understand what is going on without you telling them. Spare yourself the fight, and let them know. However, please don’t be afraid to fight just because you cannot scream into each other’s faces. Whether you fight via Skype or some kind of messaging, if something bothers you about each other, discuss it, or it will eat you up. And in case your feelings towards each other should ever change – which can happen, we are all just humans after all – make sure to also talk about that too. Don’t make each other suffer because you desperately want to break up in person – that just doesn’t always happen. Just be respectful and don’t just send them a message and then block them (and yes, also that has happened).
You will have a lot more time on hand when you suddenly basically live the life of a single. Do stuff with friends, explore your city and – especially in the beginning or when you have an episode when you miss them terribly – make sure to keep yourself busy. Don’t stop your life because you are not with your partner – you will never get these years back. Plus, living on your own will let you grow and make you a much stronger person, so make the best of it and gather loads of experiences you can later on share with your partner. Please don’t crawl into a hole and be sad 24/7 – that will not make it any easier for anyone of you.
All in all, I don’t think that you have to be afraid of turning your relationship into a long-distance one. Just keep in mind that it will be hard at times, stick to it if you think it’s worth it and end it if you think it’s not. And who knows, maybe some time apart is exactly what you needed in order to know why you started your relationship in the first place.
xx, K (: