Surviving Long Distance Relationships – How to survive?
I am an expert at surviving long distance relationships. When I mention that I am in a long distance relationship I tend to get this pity-like kind of look. People say it is tough and it requires a lot of commitment but, which relationship doesn’t?
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I don’t think long distance relationships (LDR from now on) are more or less complicated. They are different, the same kind of different from living together or not, or getting married or having kids. You have to build your life around a new state.
The main problem is that distance requires a different set of qualities that we are not use to develop when we have a partner next to us or relatively closer. We are used to having someone close, spend time with him or her, do activities together, feel the touch, the kisses, have sex, and a bunch of other things that when you are 8,092.02 km away (this is my current distance), you just can’t.
For some weird conspiracy that life has against me, my three main relationships have ended up being LDR despite starting off living in the same city. That makes a dramatic change in the way that you perceive your relation with your SO, and forces you to develop a core set of skills that have served me well.
Confidence is out of question
You have to trust the other person. For weeks and months, maybe even years, you are not going to see your partner. This doesn’t mean you have to be blinded, but you have to trust each other as if you were in the same house. You are going to have your life and the other person doesn’t have many chances to be there, therefore setting clear boundaries beforehand and respecting them is a key point. Try not to make the other person suspicious for stupid reasons like “I was out with my friends all night and that is why I didn’t reply.” Believe me, it will save you a lot of trouble saying “Hey, I don’t think I will be available because I want to be with my friends.”
Being jealous is natural. Going crazy because you don’t know what the other person is doing is not. An element of surviving long distance relationships is that you have little control over the situation.
Communication is vital
Most of a LDR is based on communication. Keeping updated with the other person about your plans and news is not creepy, it is necessary and useful. It creates a bond and a sense of “being there” even if you can’t. If you have an important event or big news, it is crucial that you share this with them so the other person can give you support, help you or just be happy for you.
Surviving long distance relationships are a great chance to develop communicative skills and be more open. Being able to share your problems, but also your joys are equally important. Texting, Whatsapp, Skype… There are a million ways to stay connected and it will help you to value how important it is to keep a channel open and be clear to talk about everything and anything.
Creativity will come
You will get creative for sure. One of my partners and I kept a journal that we switched each time we saw each other. We used to write, stick things and pictures, and it was a great way to create memories and see what the other was up to. Letters are a great way to bring some magic time to time, and I remember that when I moved to America, I woke up every day with a new song on my e-mail and I sent another back each day before going to sleep. With my current partner we do online puzzles, we watch videos and play videogames on Sundays.
Creativity will help you to keep things moving until the day you see each other again.
Sharing hobbies and make plans together is always incredible and it is something you really look forward to. Going to see a movie together it is something you value way more after months apart. Holding hands, sleep together…
During these years I have had to learn how to do my life without a partner but actually having one. I think that is the cornerstone around which one should build a relationship of any kind. Yes, even if you are not in a LDR.
A relationship is built by two different people that join together to create something unique and special. However, you have your own life, expectations, aspirations and dreams, and your SO should have his or hers too. The problem is that that is not as common as you think.
I see all the time couples that seem one things, and people saying “I don’t know what to do without you.” People who just don’t see life beyond a person. That is not healthy.
I do know what I would do without my fiancé, but the great part that keeps us together is all the things that we can create together while he keeps growing as a unique person and I do too. That is the key to a great relationship.