Going into my freshman year of college I read countless buzzfeed lists telling me everything that I could ever need to know about college (not). I was told if I wanted to make friends then I had to rush a sorority, that if I wanted to fit in I had to drink, and if I started a long distance relationship with my boyfriend that I would regret it. (Spoiler alert: all were false.)
I didn’t rush and I have made great friends (many of them who are in sororities and love it, but it just wasn’t for me), I don’t drink and no one has cared about that and even if they did then they’re obviously not worth my time, and I am still with my lovely boyfriend and as hard as the long distance relationship has been I don’t regret a single day of it.
Last summer when that awkward, “So…what are we going to do about this whole being 6 hours apart thing…?” conversation came up I had already thought a lot about it. My philosophy on the ordeal was we might as well try the long distance relationship – the worst that happens is that it didn’t work out. But luckily, it has. With that said, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying on either of our parts. After a year of a successful long distance relationship I thought I could offer some advice for those of you debating whether or not it’s something you’d be able to handle.
Do you want to be in a long distance relationship?
So, that probably seems like a very obvious question, but there is more to it than just can you handle not seeing them very often. There are other things to consider – how often will you be in contact? Are you going to be jealous if they go out? Do you trust them to be faithful? How long will you go between visits?
So you decided to try it?
Good for you! I wish you the best, but there is some work that you’re going to have to put into it if you want for your long distance relationship to work. I promise you though if it’s the right person every second of hard work will be worth it.
You absolutely need to make sure that you guys are communicating, and communicating well. When you’re only talking through the phone or computer it’s easy for things to get lost in translation, so make sure you are relaying your emotions clearly so that there is minimal risk of miscommunication. Skype is a great tool for communication when you’re far apart because you’re not only able to hear each other, but you can pick up on visual cues, too.
To go along with communication – you guys should be calling each other instead of just texting. Texting isn’t very personal and you may find that it is far more difficult to spark or maintain a meaningful or deep conversation simply over text. Personally, Chris and I call each night but I have friends in long distance relationships who are happy just calling a few times a week. Find a schedule that works for you guys and stick with it.
Be invested when you guys are talking. When you don’t get to spend real time with each other and aren’t talking as often it’s important that you don’t take the time you do have for granted. When you’re on the phone or skyping try not to be multitasking, your relationship deserves your undivided attention.
The little things.
When you’re together it’s easy to do nice little things for each other, when you’re 400 miles apart you might have to be a little more creative. I gave Christopher a big box of handwritten notes to take to college with him and read when he needed them. I also recently bought some stamps and envelopes to send him letters, and he’s got a fun surprise coming in the mail to help him with the stress of finals.
You can still have romantic date nights from different colleges. Chris and I like to have Jimmy Johns dates, we both order the vito and eat it together on Skype. It’s silly but it’s nice to feel like we are together. For some of our dates I’ve dressed up, and some I keep it casual, but putting in the extra effort like it is a ‘real’ date like we would have when we were together is fun.
As cheesy as it may be, this is one of my favorite tips. Chris and I exchanged some of our best night time snuggle items with each other. I gave him my embroidered blanket I got as a senior gift for Cross Country, and in return I got a huge, incredibly lovable, stuffed dog wearing a t-shirt Christopher wore when he played t-ball as a kid.
Have I told you lately…
Remind them how much they mean to you. When you are so far apart, even if they know you love them with all your heart, it’s still a good idea to remind them, because who doesn’t want to hear that they are loved?
Keep them up to date.
You are going to change while you are apart. Maybe you’ll find a new passion, or pick up a new hobby. Perhaps you’ll get interested in a cause or a movement. Whatever changes go on in your life while you guys are apart – fill them in. Being in a long distance relationship is no excuse for them not to be privy to the new and exciting things in your life.
On the flip side of that.
Understand that they may change, too. Don’t expect them to put their life on pause just because you aren’t together. Naturally, your significant other is going to grow and develop, just like you. Be interested in what they have to say and really get excited for the new things happening in their life, even if you can’t be there to experience it with them.
Sometimes it might take them 30 minutes to text back, or maybe they’ll ask to postpone a phone call. Realize that just like you, they are living in a busy environment and there are a lot of distractions. Maybe they didn’t text back because a friend is telling a story and they don’t want to be rude, or perhaps they can’t call because they are studying for an exam – be ok with that. It’s easy to get wrapped up in yourself and want their undivided attention, but they are living a life outside of you, as well.
Whether the next time you see them will be in 1 month or 1 year – start counting down and getting excited. It feels so great to know that you’ll be seeing them ‘soon’ and it is even better when you can share that excitement.
“Missing someone gets easier every day because even though you get one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will see them…” -unknown
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did you make it work?