Long distance has heavily influenced my life and I expect other couples also struggle with the experience. Firstly, I will express the ups and downs I have encountered to hopefully bring a little ease on others to reveal, not everyone is perfect. I would like to think that we have dealt with the 4 year long distance pretty well, however it has involved stress, neediness and many tears. We are passed the dressing up to impress stage because after a busy few weeks we want to relax. This can be seen as a positive, we are comfortable enough to stay snug in our joggers and pyjamas, however it is unfortunate that spark has disappeared. I am sure once long distance is over we will be making a better effort which excites me but at the moment I am just thankful to see my boyfriend, no matter what we look like. Here are a few pieces of advice to try and help people who suffer with long distance.
- Avoid jealousy and be trusting: I chose this one first as it is one of the first attacks in a long distance relationship. I have seen many healthy relationships be poisoned by envy and the drama that goes behinds it, it can be brutal. There is an important saying for this type, “innocent until proven guilty”. Questioning and interrogating your loved one does nothing to help the relationship. This only wastes what little and precious time you have with them. It will lead to irritation and arguments then guilt on your behalf because you’ve realised you are being silly – unless you have the proof, don’t even bother, it will get ugly. Everyone has a social life, they have friends, it doesn’t mean they are having an affair with any of them, you have a social life why can’t they without having an interrogation after a good night out.
- Communicate: Everyone knows that this point is obvious however the amount of communication is vital as it can differ. Sometimes you may find you’re repeating yourself while being on the phone, maybe try a different type of communication such as Skype, texting, or even jumping on the latest technological bandwagon – Snapchat. I have recently stepped into the past and used an outdated method of communication, this included sending my boyfriend a letter in the post. Nowadays, it seems that the only physical documents we receive in the post are bills and junk mail, showing this seemingly overlooked method of expression can still add a special touch when communicating. I later discovered that this letter found him after a very long and hectic day, giving more value to the words written on the paper than if they were portrayed through a text message.
- Keep in Sync: I don’t do this any more as my boyfriend wakes up stupidly early for work, however, having your alarms set at the same time makes your day much more lighter. I found that going to bed at the same time made me pretty giddy as well as if you lives are in parallel even if you’re separated by distance. It helps to keep your interests close maybe watching a film you would normally watch together and talking about it afterwards over the phone, or the newest episode of your favourite TV Programme and sharing opinions on what happened. The smallest things can ease your neediness for instance having the same dinner, or spending your day in a similar way, it takes the pressure off the distance as you’re in sync.
- Stay Honest: Lying is a deceitful trait to have anyway but it can also put a lot of pressure on a relationship, let alone a long distance one. Tripping over your words or getting nervous for no reason can create suspicions, it is best to stay honest about everything, it makes a relationship so easy. After a few phone calls during the week between my boyfriend and I, we start to include every single detail of our day, not because one of us are controlling but because we start to run out of things to mention. Being this honest to each other has become a running joke that it is impossible to lie to the other however I would not change it for the world. It takes the weight off my shoulders knowing I have an honest man.
- Be Busy: Again pretty obvious. Keep your schedule packed, the busier you are the less time you will be sad that your loved one is not around, plus the time will go quicker, double win! On the other hand, do not burn both ends of the candle, remember to pace yourself, otherwise you will be ran down and spend days in bed not being able to keep your mind occupied.
- Keep Them In Mind: As I said earlier, writing a letter was more valuable for both of us as it allowed me to think back at how great my boyfriend is and how happy I am. In fact writing this blog post and talking to my boyfriend about it has given us a few grins by rekindling what we’ve gone through during our long distance. One important thing to keep in mind is that someday it will be all over and the relationship can only get better, stay positive.
- Visit Often: Visiting each other as often as possible. This is a great importance as a phone call based relationship is not healthy, causing you to forget the things you feel in love with: their smell, touch, movements. These are not reachable through a Skype chat, no matter how great technology is for long distance you need to see each other face-to-face. It is important to share out the frequency of visits and sticking to them, otherwise it will cause arguments on who makes more effort, somehow. Also, the promise that there is a visit on the horizon can keeps spirits up, too.
- Alone Time: When you do eventually get time together, make sure you spend it with each other. There is no point them being there if you have your friends and family around all the time. You need to be alone, too. While your loved one is absent, efforts are automatically turned to others such as friends, so it is a bit unfair if your friends get more of your attention instead of your partner after they’ve made time to visit. Having time separate from everyone else such as watching a film, going out to town for a meal or just having a walk are simple ways to appreciate each other’s company.
- Leave Something Behind: Another gesture that keeps me positive is when I find a possession my boyfriend has left behind. A jacket, a note, even if it is some food, just something that I know is his, makes me smile. It can become a habit of accidentally leaving things too however, you can see it as a piece of your partner is still with you, as soppy as that may sound. Next time you see your other half do something small like spray your deodorant on their pillow or stick a post it note on their laptop screen, so when they open it up after you’ve left, you manage to make them smile once more.
- Gestures and Documenting: Following up on the last point. Gestures out of the norm of your relationship can be a nice surprise for instance, a poem, postcard, a personalised song etc. This can allow your loved one to treasure all your gestures and create a ‘happy box’ for when they feel blue. Instead of grabbing that ice-cream or listening to depressing music when this moment occurs, they can look in the box and reminisce all the happy moments.
As well as it all may seem, some long distance relationships just do not work at all. Since being in University I’ve seen both positives and negatives. Many long distance couples in my first year split up by the Christmas term. Reasons being they were either growing feelings for someone else which cannot be good, or they were not looking forward to seeing their partner and a popular one unfortunately had cheating involved. It is important to realise it is unfair for both of you, if you are no longer happy in your relationship. If this has occurred for a long amount of time, this most probably indicates it’s not meant to be, let it go, don’t be stubborn. 4 out of 7 of us in my house are in relationships, including 3 of those being long distance which are all positive (phew!) However in the past there hasn’t always been a happily ever after. Don’t worry it’s not all doom and gloom after a break up. Some close friends of mine who bit the bullet and finished it with their ex’s, made the best decision because they have found a better match and couldn’t be more happier. To conclude with another happy note and a perfect long distance example: one of my house mates are engaged with her RAF partner, after both having the struggle with his visits to Afghanistan and communication restrictions. They are still currently going through long distance as she is like myself in University but also they have made a start on collecting ideas for their wedding and where their future lies ahead.