So you’re in a long distance relationship. Or maybe you’re not but you’re going to be. Or maybe you’re not at all but you’re thinking that maybe one day in the future you might have to be. Maybe the thought of being in a long distance relationship scares you.
What is a long distance relationship anyway? Long distance means being apart for an extended period of time, which can vary from one week to two years and so on. Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a long distance relationship, which is perfectly fine because I don’t think there is one correct answer.
Since we started dating, Miguel and I have been in a long distance relationship twice, but we have never been apart for longer than three months . I know many couples go several months without seeing one another, so I’m not sure if ours constitutes as long distance compared to others. But, like I said, I don’t think there is one definition. So, I decided to compile a list of my own tips, along with tips from my BFF Candice, who was in a long distance relationship for close to a year, on how to make a long distance relationship work.
1. Discover your hobbies. Spending large amounts of time by yourself can be a shock at first. I recall feeling so lonely when Miguel left for Army training. It didn’t help that most of my friends had gone home for the summer and I was stuck interning in Pittsburgh. I spent many days in the library, at the nearby coffee shop or shopping. At first I was grumpy doing these things by myself, but eventually I enjoyed doing them alone. What was once a sad thing became a “yay I’m so excited to go to the library!” thing (NERD ALERT!)
2. Try out the delayed texting method. When Miguel and I first started dating, he was in DC and I was home in Ohio for the summer and we used to play this game to see who would text who first in the morning (it was an unspoken game of course). Then, we would take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to text each other back. I know this would drive some people crazy, but it was a great way to continue talking throughout the entire day and never run out of things to say, and it added anticipation and excitement to the day. Plus, we were able to give our families and friends our undivided attention without being glued to our phones. Ultimately, try not to let texting consume your life or your relationship, no matter how much you may someone.
3. Plan adventures. When you do get to see each other, plan something exciting. It doesn’t have to be a vacation, but you can always say, “Hey, we haven’t seen each other in awhile; let’s go out for a nice dinner.” This will give you two things to look forward to!
Miguel and I in DC. We walked the entire day in 90° weather–talk about an adventure!
4. Spend time with friends. While it is a natural instinct to spend time alone when you are feeling lonely, friends can help uplift your spirits! Instead of dividing your time like: 1/3 you time, 1/3 boyfriend time, 1/3 friend time, it can now be 1/2 you time, 1/2 friends time–which is great for maintaining friendships 🙂 If they are really great friends, they won’t mind hearing you (occasionally) whine about missing your boo thang.
My friends and I the night of graduation. Quality friend time is key in any relationship.
5. Be affectionate. Since you don’t see one another on a regular basis, there tends to be a lack of affection (other than lovey-dovey phone calls), so why not double up on the affection when you do get to see each other? If you know you’re not going to see one another for awhile, send a nice card to show your affection in words. A card or a small gift can go a long way (even if you’re not in a long distance relationship!)
Miguel was unable to attend my graduation, so he sent this to me in the mail. It truly made my day 🙂
1. Expect your relationship to be different. “It’s easy to comfort ourselves before the person leaves by thinking that nothing will change, but that’s not realistic. Things will be different, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I think if you go into it knowing that it’ll be a change until you’re reunited, you will be more ready for change and will be be so shocked when you find that it’s true.”
Candice and I before the John Mayer concert. Our friendship basically constitutes as a long distance relationship. We are 3 hours apart but continue to maintain our friendship 🙂
2. Be flexible. “Long distance relationships often encounter sudden changes in plans and, for the sake of both parties, it’s best to expect and know to be flexible. It saves a lot of stress when you learn to roll with the punches.”
Distance makes the heart grow stronger. Ultimately, being in a long distance relationship should make you appreciate your significant other even more and make you realize how blessed you are to have them in your life.
Q: Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? Do you have any tips to add? What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Do you have exciting weekend plans?