Long Distance Relationships: the Do's, the Don'ts and all in between.
Long Distance Relationships are very common and pretty much inevitable now a days. with studying and working abroad and different life circumstances it means sometimes your going to be apart for quite a length of time. Especially with online/app dating becoming increasingly popular, more people are entering Long Distance Relationships without even meeting the other party!
This is a topic that sits close to my heart. In our first 2 years together we had spent 10 months in total apart. I moved to Uni (then dropped out) while he was working in Switzerland then the following year he went back to work overseas and then we entered our 3rd year together in our apartment together, overseas and 10 minutes from his work!
Crazy right? But it hasn't always been all sunshine and rainbows. No, there was ups and downs and I definately learned a few things which I am going to share with you.
LDR's have their benefits. Your relationship gets solidified, it's what makes it or breaks it. You have to remember that if you guys can survive this then you can survive anything! But it takes work, a lot of work! But if you guys survive it it's because both of you are 110% committed, in it to win it, WHAT TEAM? WILDCATS! Ha ha a little carried away there!
Your relationship also strengthens because it becomes more than just physical. You know that person is with you for you not just the sex or to look good or for your connections, they genuinely like to listen to the things you have to say. An added bonus? Your relationship is filled with travel, adventure and new people. Something to tell the kids, eh? Oh, you haven't discussed that yet? Sorry!
There are a few things you should know about LDR's. If your about to embark on one or you've been doing it for a while there are a few points you need to consider about your new type of relationship.
1. Your partner will be around others
They will have a life outside your relationship! Work collegues, housemates, friends...And they will be hanging out with these people. You need to just remember that you have nothing to worry about, really! If you start trying to control and dictate their lives you will drive a wedge (and more distance) between you. When I was chatting to my boyfriend he would tell me he didn't have long because he was going to the pub with the work guys and I would be genuinely pleased! First of all, he made the effort to chat to me before going somewhere but he was getting out of the house. If he was staying in and pining over missing home or me then I would be very concerned for his health, let alone our relationship. It's not okay for you to go out and live your life if you intead to control theirs.
2. You can't see feelings so you have to be more verbal
I'll admit, it took me a few heated and teary Skype calls to get the hang of this one! Because you aren't actually there you can't physically tell if someone is in a bad mood or a good mood etc so sometimes your messages may come across as insensitive. This works both ways too. If your not open about your mood and your feeling really down and crap then any message you recieve won't be what your expecting (a link to a cat video instead of "cheer up baby, I love you too much to see you sad!" or whatever). If your having a bad day, tell them! Theres too much distance between you to be playing mind games.
3. Time zones are hella weird, set a schedule
Luckily for me, Chris was only an hour ahead of me so it wasn't too bad but for some there can be up to 12 hours of time change between them! This hour difference ment eating, working and bed times were different. When he took his lunch at 12pm I'd be sure to leave him a message at 11am my time or before he went to bed we'd Skype for a little while to say good night even if I wasn't going to bed until later. Set a schedule and stick to it. One night a week or every 2 weeks when your both free, call and chat for a while! Mostly we would talk on weekends but text during the week but it would change based on each other's plans and schedules.
4. Set an End Goal to look forward to
Wether it's a trip to meet up or to pick them up to finally take them home or a life goal like moving in together it makes the passing time a little easier. To make our time apart we tried to break it into little chuncks by me visiting for a few days. We also agreed and arranged for me to join him, set the date and we had something to work towards! It makes it all the sweeter knowing you have little special goals for the 2 of you to work towards.
There are some things you shouldn't do of course. To keep things running smoothly you shouldn't issolate yourself socially. You may not feel like going out if it's not with your number 1 or that's who your meeting up with. You still need to keep your head clear and lifted by doing things you would normally.
This brings me to my next point. You can't be worrying about when you're going to talk next. staying home or within WiFi reach just incase they call or message isn't healthy. Besides, if your not filling your days with activities then what are you going to talk about when you do catch up later?
Infidelity is something that plays on your mind too. But you need to remember that people who are married and living together cheat. Infidelity is caused by a problem in the realtionship, not the distance. And if distance is a problem then that should have been talked about before it was embarked apon.
But in saying that I'm sure your friends will all have their 2 cents about your situation. Trust me I have heard it all! Really, you should take what they say with a pintch of salt and never too seriously. They aren't in your shoes and they have never been in your relationship so they can't comment on anything. If you have a concern or an issue the best person to talk tois your other half. If they can't talk straight away then this gives you a chance to think your problem through a little more.
Just remember that when it comes to LDRs you need to think rationally and never jump to conclusions, keep optimistic, adress issues and ground rules, aways applaude their contributions and re-learn intimacy through shared day to day tasks or hand-written letters etc.
Tech also helps us come along way such as Skype, Facebook or an app called Couples. It's a private, intimate platform for only you and your partner to text, thumb-kiss or sync calenders(plus so much more).
Have you experienced or are you experiencing a Long Distance Relationship? Please feel free to share any experiences or concerns you have/had. You could come to help someone else! Please always remember it taks two to make a relationship work and as my boyfriend's mum once said "What's for you, won't miss you" so if it's ment to be then everything will work out!
*images are not my own and found from unknown sources. If I have used your image please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due*