Wednesday, 14 January 2009

How to Rock a Long Distance Relationship

Image thanks to gemma latimer

Today we have a fabbo guest post from the very talented Sarah Von of Yes and Yes. Please read and enjoy...

Heading to University for first time is great, no? Making heaps of new friends, learning amazing things, getting a bit closer to becoming the person you want to be. But there’s also that cafeteria food. And the room mate. And your partner, hours away. So how’s a girl supposed to make a relationship work, across all that space and distance?

If you’ve ever happened upon my blog, you know I’m a life-long tumbleweed and I’ve had my share of long-distance relationships. May I share the knowledge gathered over the course of an exchange program, a university transfer and graduate school abroad?

Use any means necessary to convince them to visit you.
It can be really intimidating (and incredibly boring) to listen to your partner prattle on about a city you’ve never been to, people you don’t know, and various minutia that means nothing to you. If at all possible, get your love to visit you at your new home, preferably towards the beginning of your stay. Then you can both experience it for the first time together and maybe even meet some of the people who will become major players in your life. This way, when you’re going on about how you and Kaz got Indian takeaway from Tulsi and ate it in front of Te Papa, they won’t just hear the Charlie Brown Wah Wah voice.

Keep in touch. A lot.
With text messaging, skype, online chatting, emails and carrier pigeons you have no excuse for not being in touch on a daily basis. Of course we all get busy, but even a text that says “at the op shop, just saw your favorite t-shirt from eleventh grade” can brighten a person’s day. It’s really important to keep up with the day-to-day bits of each other’s lives – what your crazy prof did, what his annoying colleague is up to, what your friends are doing this weekend – all these little bits add up to our lives. And you want to be involved in each other’s, right?

Establish what this new phase in your relationship means.
Before your relationship goes long-distance, talk with the mister about what this change in your relationship is going to mean. Will you both remain completely monogamous? How do you feel about him spending a lot of time with that hottie co-worker? Is he going to get wound up if you’re going out dancing with your girlfriends at the local meat market? It’s always a good idea to put all your cards on the table in a situation like this. Because it’s a total downer to joyfully report on your night out at Red Square and to be met with stony silence.

(Sidenote: learn from my mistake. Making the mutual decision to see other people while continuing to see each other totally doesn’t work. Not even a little bit.)

Acknowledge that it will be hard at times.
Relationships are hard work, even when you’re both in the same city! And, I find, that long distance relationships are harder. You can’t tickle and goof your way out of an argument when you’re hundreds of miles apart. Sarcasm and teasing don’t always translate well to email and your partner in crime can’t tell exactly how upset you are when your options are all-caps and bold. Talk about the fact that this might be challenging and make a commitment to working through the tough times.

Don’t forget the sexy. And the fun.
With all this heavy talk, it’s easy to get lost in the work of maintaining your relationship. But most of us date people because we enjoy them! And because they bring fun and joy to our lives, right? So don’t let the good stuff fall by the wayside. Long distance love can even present opportunities for fun and games that you wouldn’t otherwise experiment with. Cheeky texts, randy emails and *cough* webcams, have all been known to help more than a few relationships weather the miles. Send funny care packages or post cards to your love. Read the same book or watch the same movie and talk about it.

Long distance love is undoubtedly a challenge, but then, most things worth doing are.

How do you keep things together with your far-off love?

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Helen said...

Luckily my boyfriend only lives around the corner from me, but with him considering doing a phd and me wanting to do a pgcse, who knows where we will end up this time next year! He was actually looking into phd's in Paris!

I'd be scared of taking the plunge into a long distance relationship, but with skye, email, etc, I think after 2 years together we could make it work :)

Rachael said...

My entire "dating" phase of my relationship with my now husband was long distance. He was at the Air Force Academy and I was at college in Florida. Even though we were childhood friends long before we became college sweethearts, it was fun for us to get to know each other all over again. And, as much as it sucked, long distance provided the perfect opportunity for that. We wrote each other love letters, sent funny care packages filled with inside jokes, and followed the same movies and tv shows (a huge shared interest of ours) so that we would have something interesting to talk about. Basically everything Sarah mentioned in her last paragraph we did. A long distance relationship might be the most challenging thing you ever go through but it's worth it if you put in the energy, time, and effort. I am grateful that we were long distance before marriage because I feel like that was preparation for the life of a military wife!

Kitty said...

Unfortunately when it comes to long-distance love, I am a weathered pro. My husband is a USAF pilot and he’s gone…a lot. I miss him like crazy while he’s away as we are usually limited when it comes to all of the great alternative means of communication you mentioned, but we always find lots of little creative ways to stay close. For instance, before he left for his last deployment, he hid about 50 cards all over the house. I would find them all the time and they would always make me smile. I hand-wrote him fun, slightly erotic stories sprayed with perfume and sent them in care packages along with his regular goodies… and these are the moments we now remember. All those hard, lonely days just fade into the background...

Jackie said...

This is really great!

I'm currently in a long distance relationship, and I've been with my boy for about a year an a half now.

Sometimes I like the distance because it allows me to focus on college. I know if he were at college with me, I'd be spending way more time with him than on studying for tests and writing essays.

But, I do always miss him. And I make it a point to talk to him every day. Sometimes he falls asleep before I have the opportunity to call him. So, I usually only have enough time to tell him that I'm sorry for waking him up and I love you--talk to you tomorrow.

When he has free time, which isn't often since he works all the time (no seriously, he hasn't had a day off in ages/he hasn't experienced a weekend in ages) he does visit me at college. And about once a month or once every two months, I come home and spend most of my time with him.

Oh, and sometimes I make him sweet lil' cards or gifts to give him when I do have the opportunity to see him =D

Shelby Lynn S. said...

Last fall, I moved half a country away from my boy friend of 5 years, boyfriend of 2 months. I totally agree that it is challenging (and only going to get hard since I still have 3.5 more years to go), but definitely do-able! We cherish all the time we do get to see each other. Basically the moral of the story is to not let a long distance relationship deter you from following your dreams, and don't let your dreams deter you from a long distance relationship. :)

Young Werther said...

Great post. Should have read this earlier eh?

My LDR, since ended, Boston -> Sydney, can't get any further.

Bella said...

I studied overseas for half a year while my lover stayed behind. I used the world clocks widget on igoogle to keep track of time zones so that I didn't inadvertently wake the poor fellow up in the middle of the night. We chatted mostly using instant messenger but I would make quirky videos of my travels & upload them to youtube - so that I could share my travels & not just talk about them.

Oh, & self portraits! I took lots of self portraits!

Victoria Hart said...

Fab tips...I try to stick to them as my boyfriend and I are at separate universities and rarely see each other...oh how I long for the holidays! xxx

miss morgan potts said...

This is great advice; I'm just embarking on a LDR (it's been near 2 weeks now with a bf of 8 months) and I think we'll find creative ways to make it work. Thanks so much!

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