Hi everyone! I’ve been wanting to write a blog about long distance relationships for months now, and this finally felt like the right time to talk about it. After about nine months of long distance, my boyfriend Brian and I are finally going to be living in the same city again in a couple of weeks and I couldn’t be more excited!
A little background on our relationship for those that are curious: Brian and I went to the same college and were friends for years before we became boyfriend/girlfriend in December, 2014. We had an awesome five months together, and then I graduated in May and decided to move back home. Brian still had another semester of college, so this put us in a long distance relationship for about nine months. Which brings us to today. Brian just got a job in Austin and will be moving here in a few weeks!
Long distance has been very difficult at times, but although I couldn’t be happier that it is ending, I do feel like I learned a lot from the experience. I also think that it made our relationship stronger in a way, because it forced us to learn to have good communication and to never take time together for granted. Because of this, I thought I would share some advice about long distance relationships (LDRs) that will hopefully be interesting or helpful to some of you.
Before even considering an LDR, you and your partner need to really think about whether or not it is worth it. The level of commitment the two of you have for one another is one of the most important indicators as to whether an LDR will work out. You need to make sure you care about this person enough to want to end up in the same place eventually. Brian and I avoided the topic of whether or not we would stay together after I graduated for as long as we could, until we finally went ahead and discussed it. We both agreed that an LDR would only be worth it if we were both equally committed to ending up in the same city as soon as possible. We determined that we were, and from there all we had to do was plan to make the long distance as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Communication really is the key to a happy relationship, and it becomes even more important in LDRs. Because you can’t see each other frequently in person, being able to still feel connected emotionally can be difficult, and becomes even more difficult if the lines of communication are not strong. For my boyfriend and I, different avenues of communication really helped. Although we texted throughout the day like most couples, we also sprinkled in extra modes of communication such as emails, phone calls, Skype calls (almost every night), Facebook messages and even the occasional letter in the mail. This variety adds excitement and creativity to the relationship. Which brings me to my next piece of advice…
Although LDRs are very difficult and may seem impossible at times, there are certain perks. They allow you to utilize different communication styles such as the ones I mentioned above. They also allow you and your partner to use your creativity a bit. Brian came up with lots of fun ideas for how to make our time apart more bearable. On Skype calls we often play a game of Hangman, and make up words and phrases that have to do with our relationship. He also created a crossword puzzle for me, and all of the words had to do with the two of us. Another fun idea he had was to create a Spotify playlist which included all of the songs that have had an impact on his life, from his childhood to present. I loved all of these ideas, and I really think that they allowed us to stay connected in a unique way. When I was missing him I could turn on the playlist, or take a look at the crossword puzzle he made, and it was sure to put a smile on my face!
Lastly, I want to talk about the importance of compassion. Understanding your significant other’s needs and feelings is very important. If they seem extra stressed or irritable one day, it is likely not your fault and may very well be stemming from the fact that they miss you and wish that you could be together in person. Listen intently when your partner talks to you, and make sure you are giving them everything they need emotionally to be able to continue with the relationship. They may need you to communicate better, or open up more about your feelings for them, or even try your hand at being creative. If there is not a good foundation of compassion in the relationship, I don’t think it will stand a chance.
Well, there you go! Those are my top four categories that I think are important to remember in long distance relationships. I’d love to hear your opinions, advice or personal stories about long distance relationships or just relationships in general, so please leave your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂