I have been in a long distance relationship for 5 and half years now. The first two years were a shorter amount of distance, and the last three years have been spent with an entire country between us. Although I’ve had my fair share of ‘crying for no reason’, or moments of hatred towards my boyfriend for moving away… we’ve managed to keep our relationship together and strong through the distance. With this experience, I’ve managed to compile a list of 7 hacks to improve, strengthen or simply lighten the load of your long distance relationship. They have seemed to really work for Andy and me, and I’m hoping even just some of them will help you as well.
1. Put in the extra effort.
You live far away from each other, you never see your hot-face significant other—make the extra effort. Life is too short to not do this anyways, but because you’re so far away there is no reason why you shouldn’t be making each other extra happy. This can happen whether you’re together or apart. When you’re together, get up early and make them breakfast. When you’re apart, send them goodies in the mail or have food delivered to their house. Low on cash? Send a quick email letting them know you love them, or record a funny video of yourself and send it over. One time, Andy sent me ‘love you hoe’ from every form of social/online media at once; Facebook, Instagram, email, twitter, snapchat, you name it. It was so simple and easy, but it completely made my day.
2. Leave Easter eggs.
Whenever I go to visit Andy, I will hide something in his room for him to find when I head back home. Sometimes weeks will go by where he hasn’t discovered my surprise so I will wait until he’s had a long or rough day, and then I’ll call him to tell him to check under his bed for chocolate or a nice note. Discovering something hidden by your babe is one of the best feelings and makes it feel like they are there, even if it’s just for a second.
3. The Good Morning / Good Night Method
Life can get really busy, and it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of your own individual lives. When this happens, I recommend the Good Morning/Good Night method. When Andy and I are having really busy weeks, we just make sure to send good morning when we wake up, and good night when we go to bed. It’s not a lot, but it’s just a simple reminder that we’re thinking of each other. When you don’t see each other often, it’s good to keep the daily connection going even if it’s just a one-liner or even a meme!
4. Send mail.
I know it sounds SO archaic, but I’m telling you this hack is GOLDEN. Andy and I have been a country apart for 3 years now, and last week he sent me his first postcard. I can’t explain to you how happy this made me. I genuinely believe there is something to be said about snail mail or love letters. There is a reason why people did it for so long, it works! And it makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Even if you aren’t in long distance, I strongly recommend sending a postcard from your location if you’re not traveling with your babe. There’s just something about a handwritten note that really makes me swoon.
5. Plan weird video dates
This one is simple, FaceTime your significant other and have a date. Whether it’s watching a movie together, or cooking the same meal in different countries. Video chats seem like a given when it comes to long distance, but I strongly recommend taking it to the next level by making it a full-blown date. Sometimes I’ll even FaceTime Andy when I’m shopping at the grocery store, or getting ready for work. Andy would also like me to mention (against my own will) that you can’t have a relationship without Skoobies. Skype boobies people, you get the point.
I think this one is important to mention because fighting can get very complicated in a long distance relationship.
Rule #1: Never fight over text, dm, messenger, nothing. If you are having an argument, I strongly suggest you wait to talk until you can video chat. Physical demeanor, facial expressions, and emotion are all a part of the argumentative process and if those factors are not conveyed properly, or are taken out of context, it will not end well.
Rule #2: Don’t use long distance as an excuse not to fight. Resolving your arguments quickly, or shaking them under the rug might seem like a good plan when an LDR starts, but you will only end up resenting each other. Andy and I used to get into a pattern of saying ‘we are never together, we can’t be wasting our time fighting’, or ‘I’m only here for one week, we need to stop this argument’. This only led to bigger arguments caused by built-up anger or sadness later in time. If you’re having an insignificant argument that you’ll both be over in a day then yes, like any silly argument, stop it in its tracks. But if you guys are having a big disagreement about something, do not pretend it’s not there for the sake of enjoying your time together. Deal with your issues, and then enjoy your time. Long distance is not isolated honeymoon phases, it’s a way of life that you need to learn to adapt to.
7. Appreciate your time alone.
Loneliness is not unhappiness. Just because you are spending more time by yourself does not mean you are unhappy. It’s very easy to confuse ‘missing something’ with sadness or depression. I think it’s important to remind yourself that missing someone is normal, and that doesn’t mean your life is miserable, or you are tumbling into a depression. Although I miss Andy all the time, there are moments that I try to enjoy doing my own thing. Long distance is a great way to become independent and happy on your own. I strongly believe that if you can become entirely happy with yourself, you will only strengthen your relationship. Andy and I have done long distance our entire relationship, and I really think we benefited from being able to do our own thing and grow as individuals so that when we are together we are two wholes who just genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Two halves that make a whole is all romantic and shit, but two halves separated are weak and far too dependent on each other. Your relationship will only become stronger if you are both comfortable and happy with yourselves.