Being in a long distance relationship is hard. Like super hard. Especially when you go from being together…to well…not. I used to tell myself that I would NEVER be in a long distance relationship. Even when I lived in the city and my boyfriend lived an hour outside the city…that was too far! When I moved back to Michigan after a disasterous break up I vowed not to date anyone while I was there because I didn’t want to deal with the back and forth between Michigan and Chicago when I did move back. Times have certainly changed since then with smartphones and Skype and Facetime. The internet has provided tools that allow long distance relationships a little more bareable.
I was convinced that long distance relationships didn’t work. I’ve avoided them for as long as I can remember. Never wanting to date someone who wasn’t more than a quick train ride away. Dating someone near by was convenient, comforting and meant that I wasn’t alone all the time. And once I discovered that both my ex boyfriends cheated on me (one while we were living together, and the other when we were practically living together) long distance was out of the question. Once trust is broken, regardless of who it is, its hard thing to get back for yourself. You have to learn to trust again and thats not easy.
Life throws you some amazing curveballs. Even when you don’t expect it, everything can change in an instant. Amazing adventures can come your way and you could be doing things you always wanted but never thought you would.
Despite my aprehension to long distance relationships. I jumped in head first. I even had my doubts and was (and still am) being told that it probably won’t work, that I shouldn’t waste my time and that it all happened too fast. Hearing other people’s horror stories of how their relationships that were long distance didn’t work just cemented the fact that I’m 100% with the right person. Because guess what? Mine is working…way better than even I expected. I honestly thought a few months in we’d go our separate ways, not because we didn’t care about each other but because I couldn’t handle being apart. But instead of us growing more distant…we have grown closer.
Throughout this experience I’ve tried reading as many articles and tips on having a successful LDR (which I need to start bookmarking this shit so I can link back to it) but I found a great article about how long distance relationships can be really good for your relationship and bring you together. But its hard work, you have to make time, the committment and have a plan. Without those things, it will most certainly fail. You can’t just rely on being madly in love.
So here are some of my tips for having a successful LDR:
- Trust is incredibly important. If there’s no trust before the distance, there is a good chance that it won’t work.
- Communication is CRITICAL. You have to be honest, open and talk regularly.
- Make time for each other. Whether it be to Skype, or if you have a conversation before one of you goes to sleep, you have to make an effort. To be honest this was super hard for my boyfriend and I at first because his living situation was not ideal for us to have private conversations. But now that the living situation has changed, things are 100 times better. We speak EVERY DAY.
- HAVE A PLAN. Don’t go into the situation blind or with no end date in mind. It makes the entire situation more stressful. Even if its not a long term plan (ie getting married) at least have a 3-6 month plan. My boyfriend left in December, our plan was for me to come down in the spring and then we make a plan from there. Knowing that we have a good plan makes things much easier both mentally and emotionally on both of us. It also means we have something amazing to look forward to.
- You have to be honest. Like brutally honest. I told my boyfriend right away, if he even had an inkling that he was interested in someone else or that he wasn’t sure, he had to tell me ASAP. I made the same promise.
- Have your own lives while you’re apart. Go out with friends, make plans, do things, keep yourself occupied until you see the other person. Focus on work or school. Having that independence is important because it allows you to develop yourself outside of the relationship while simultaneously working on your relationship. This is actually something EVERYONE should do in their relationships. You should never loose yourself in a relationship. I’ve been there and done that and it often time shuts people out and you very well could end up being alone. (I’ve seen it happen and watch it happen on a daily basis…)
- Don’t listen to nay-sayers. People who speak negatively about your relationship are most likely either jealous or miserable themselves there for want company. Some people can’t be happy for others. You’ll probably spend a lot of time defending your relationship, I know I do.
- A LDR allows you to base your relationship on each other and your connection emotionally, mentally and spiritually as opposed to a sexual relationship. Because your relationship isn’t focused on sex or intimacy you’re able to create a stronger bond. But sex is an important aspect of relationships, get creative. Sexy pictures, skype sex or sexting are ways to get through the time apart. Your relationship should be able to survive without sexual intimacy every day.
Relationships are hard enough as it is, and adding distance to it can make it even more difficult. But it’s not impossible. If it works out, take that as a sign that its meant to be! If it doesn’t work, its an opportunity for you to see some issues that may have been lying under the surface prior to your separation.