I, like many other happy (albeit somewhat unlucky) people on this earth, have found myself in a long distance relationship and while it might be difficult, it’s working out just fine for my boyfriend and I. I thought it might be time to get #real about relationships like mine for couples considering, entering into, or living with long distance relationships. So here’s some advice from my long distance relationship to yours:
1. Skype and FaceTime might be the worst things to ever happen to long distance relationships. Only people who spend their days missing another person like we do truly understand how hard it is to see someone so important to you on a screen and only on a screen day-in and day-out. It’s an impossibly painful feeling to know the person you love is on the other side of a monitor and not sitting right next to you where you could hold them or kiss them anytime you’d like. And even more annoying, every time your data is spotty or your wifi cuts out, your connection is lost or you’re left reconnecting for minutes on end. It’s absolutely infuriating. Video conversations can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.
2. Skype and FaceTime might be the best things to ever happen to long distance relationships. Even though video chatting can be such a pain in the neck, we must count our blessings, for without them, almost all connection to one another would be lost. Skyping back and forth can lead to miscommunications, sure, but miscommunications are still better than no communications at all. Sometimes it’s best to take what you can get.
3. You’ll never get used to the time difference, if you have one. Whether it’s an hour or 12, being on another time zone from someone is a unique struggle that is nearly impossible to overcome, no matter how long you try. When you’re waking up, they’re half-finished with their day. They’re headed to bed long before you’re even thinking about clocking out for the night. And forget trying to commit their schedule to memory – it’s hard enough to remember you own, let alone a second completely opposite one. It isn’t the end of the world and it can be managed with a little planning and a lot of practice, but don’t get frustrated with each other when you’re months into it and you’re still asking one another “what time are you free today?”
4. You’ll make a countdown for the day you’re reunited and you’ll check it almost every day – and that’s okay. Waiting for the day to come when you’ll be back in each other’s arms is like waiting for Christmas Morning when you’re a child. It literally can not come fast enough. This is not a “watched pot never boils,” kind of situation. Mark off the days as they pass and celebrate every single week, month, and year that you successfully put behind you. The little accomplishments eventually become the big ones and before you know it, that 6 months will whittle right down to 0 and that’s definitely worth celebrating.
5. Your friends and family won’t get it. Some will be supportive, some won’t. They will undoubtedly ask too many questions about why you’d do that to yourself or if it’s even worth it – especially if you haven’t been together for a long period of time. They’ll occasionally (and sometimes without even realizing it) be ridiculously insensitive about shoving their (what they call) normal relationship in your face and it will get old quick. And even the ones who are supportive will downplay your feelings and struggles or pretend to sympathize for short amounts of time. They have no idea how hard it really is. But the good news is, it isn’t their relationship, so it doesn’t really matter.
6. You’ve never felt #FOMO quite like long distance relationship #FOMO. The fear of missing out sucks; we’ve all felt it from time to time. But the fear of missing out is amplified when you feel like you’re missing out on large chunks of another person’s life. Days go by and you miss the big things and the little things and it can be really saddening. But the best way to combat that is to just keep one another informed as best as you can. Don’t be afraid to make frequent phone calls to update each other on the daily happenings. And keep the photos coming – wether it be picture messages or Snapchats – photos of even the silliest things like what you ate for dinner help manage the feelings of being left out.
7. You’ll pretend your significant other is there with you and it’s not weird. Seriously, it’s not weird. Alright, maybe it’s a little weird, but it’s true. There will be times you will catch yourself pretending they are there with you when you’re giving that speech or watching your favorite show because it just isn’t the same doing those things without them or because you need their support – even if it’s only imaginary at the time. You’ll laugh at inside jokes with them and ask their opinions as if they’re right there living your life next to you. Don’t judge yourself, no one else will. It’s just a coping mechanism for being alone; you are not going crazy, I swear.
8. Skype dates are real and they work. Watch a movie online together while you’re both on Skype or FaceTime, or have a meal together while video chatting. It may not be as good as the real thing, but if you both allow yourselves to get into it and make the most of it, they can be a really good time and they can really help the separation anxiety. Just schedule a time, pick an activity and go for it! You’ll be surprised how enjoyable the little things can be when you’re doing them together.
9. Be patient with your partner, after all, they are in a long distance relationship too. Things get messy in relationships like ours. You’ll both reach your breaking-points multiple times before the separation is over, but try to remember that you aren’t going through this alone. Your partner is struggling along with you. Every emotion you’re feeling, they’re feeling it too. The distance hurts them just as much as it hurts you. They’re just as frustrated as you are. Don’t take your feelings out on each other, just be supportive as best as you can from where you are. It gets easier in the long run, but it gets harder too and there’s no better shoulder to cry on than your special someone – even if they are 3,000 miles away.
10. If you trust one another completely, your relationship can withstand any amount of distance or time. All it takes is the most microscopic speck of distrust and any relationship will crumble at the foundations and that’s especially true for long distance relationships. However, if you believe in your heart of hearts that the person your with loves you as much you love them, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You won’t forget about one another; on the contrary, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Out of sight, (not even close to) out of mind! If you trust one another, you’ll come away from your time apart a stronger couple – simple as that.