Long distance relationships can suck. Not only are you miles and miles from the person that you want to spend time with, but your parents will probably discourage your relationship, and your friends might not believe that it’ll succeed. After all, the extra distance makes everything so much harder, and it’s so easy to get sad and lonely and dejected about it all. There are things that you can do to make it easier, though. Here are the new rules for keeping 21st century LDR on track – without being told that back in my day, we had to wait for a letter to be delivered by pigeon to stay in touch ;)
1. Work towards Something
Make sure you both know what you are working towards. Why are you apart? How long will you be apart for? Where will you be in the future? No couple can be in a long distance relationship forever, so you need a clear goal for the future so that you can both stick to it, and use it to boost you up when you feel down. Do a timeline, and mark down meetups and targets. Make sure you’re on the same page and you’ve got the same goals and ideas. That way, even if you’re not in the same timezone, you’re working towards the same future.
2. Be Really Clear
This isn’t a time to pretend to be a cool girlfriend. Set rules on both sides and know what you’re comfortable with. Are you exclusive? Will you go on dates with other people? It might feel like an awkward conversation, but it’s not half as horrid as seeing photos of him on a date with someone else pop into your newsfeed.
3. Do Things Together
Just because you’re not physically together doesn’t mean that you can’t do things together. Watch TV programs together. Recommend books and albums to each other. Create shared experiences. You could even set up Skype and watch a film together. Make the most of your time apart, but learn to spend some of it forging links and new connections, too.
4. Talk Lots
Don’t skimp on the conversation. Make sure you say good morning and good night every day, and keep your significant other updated on what is happening in your life and what you’re up to. You could even share your calendar with them. To keep it more exciting, try sharing audio clips or videos of your day.
5. Be Honest
It will suck, sometimes. You will be scared, sad, lonely, tired, frustrated, jealous. You might feel nothing, or everything. Don’t hide it from your partner. Trying to swallow it up will make you swell, and then it’ll look like you have something to hide. Resist the urge to deal with it by yourself and use it to draw you closer together.
6. Use the Mail
Okay, so you have instant messengers and Skype and phone calls, so why would you need the post?! Well, sending a surprise handwritten letter or unexpected gift increases the realism, and will bond you and make you feel close. It’s lovely to receive, too. Try sending each other funny presents, or t-shirts, or underwear, or anything.
7. Do You
Don’t isolate yourself because you feel like you should be lonely. Make the most of the extra time that you have to yourself and spend it with friends and family. Get a new hobby, spend time at the gym, go to a pub quiz, join a team. Don’t mope around putting your life on hold. Not only will it keep you going, but it’ll make you more interesting.
Of course, you should cram in as many video calls as you can, and visits are a must – if you start skipping visits then you’re on a road to nowhere. Remember that if it all gets too much, you can bail. Long distance relationships are hard and they don’t work for everyone. There is no harm in saying that they don’t work for you. Would you enter a long distance relationship?