Thought Catalog

How To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work

  • 0
Authors’ note: I wrote mine, he wrote his — we pieced them together, all via email. How else would we get anything done?

Minneapolis: First, you best be certain, but don’t over-think that. I don’t mean a lifetime commitment. I’m not saying you’ve found “the one.” Simply, be certain that — right now, in this moment — the other person, this relationship and all that will be unique to it, are exactly what you want. Among the variables distance brings, there is a constant: This relationship cannot be half-assed. Get into it knowing it’s what you want.

Detroit: Long distance is hard, but you chose it, so there’s no whining. It’s better than the alternative, which is unthinkable. It has to be worth it. You have to be with someone who makes it worth it. You both have to be all-in, or it’s not going to work.

Minneapolis: Our progression went something like this: Long-distance professional colleagues. Long-distance friends. Long-distance best friends. That all took about three years. By the time it became long-distance love, neither my heart nor mind gave me any other choice. Their rare duet had a booming chorus: “This girl is your soul mate. You’re crazy about her. It doesn’t make any sense to fight it.”

Distance plants crazy thoughts like land mines on the plains of sanity.

When it happens, I step around the thoughts, duck and cover from the doubts, and I don’t flinch. That’s what you do when you KNOW.

Detroit: He’s the first person I think about in the morning, and usually the first person I talk to. I’m using talk as a flexible verb, here. It can be a text message, a phone call, an email, a video chat, an instant message. He’s the first person I want to have contact with. There’s an hour time difference, so I’m often awake first. I start with “Good morning, I love you.” I want him to wake up and be in a good mood. 

Minneapolis: You have to talk. A lot. Take all the gestures a so-called normal relationship entails: touching their hand, wiping their tears away, fingers through their hair, throwing crackers at them because you see them standing there and want to throw crackers. All of that is replaced with communication. Talk about the mundane. Talk about the news. Talk about your future. Tell a dirty joke. Run a gamut of emotion in whatever manner you need. 

Detroit: Communication is all we have. We talk about everything. We’ve covered big things, like how we’re learning to let our walls down, and scars we both have from previous (not quite perfect for us) people. We break it up with smaller, fun things, like ‘did you see this video?’ or ‘did you read this article?’ We talk until we run out of topics and then we talk some more. 

I imagine that if we lived in the same city, most of our time would be spent doing something together: Watching movies, reading books, and just being. But for now, we cover the gap with communication. 

Minneapolis: I can pick up her mood by her vocabulary now. Even via text message, I can tell if she’s happy, if she’s angsty, gauge her libido. The sound of her voice pauses my world no matter the time, no matter the situation, no matter my mood. The pop up of a message from her is the difference between getting up to face the world and crashing back into bed for a few hundred lines of instant messaging. Skype is a gift from the heavens that can cut through weeks and miles of separation with one belly laugh.

Detroit: We send sexy text messages. It’s a coping mechanism, and when you’re not getting any for two to three week stretches, your imagination tends to run wild. We think about it so much when we’re apart that when we are together, the sex is out of this world. And that is not hyperbole.

Minneapolis: Oh, and there’s the sexting. I don’t mean cutesy “What are you wearing?” sexting. I mean vivid-as-a-solstice-sunrise “If you were here right now this is where my tongue would be and this is what it would be doing” sexting. Sex drives don’t understand miles. They basically understand, “I really want to grab onto something” and “Holy freaking WOW” and that’s about it. Embrace it. Sext like it’s an Olympic sport and you’ve promised a gold for your country.

Detroit: When we see one another, which is every two or three weeks at the moment, we make it count. I greet him at the airport with a hand-painted sign that says “I love you like there is no tomorrow.” He picks me up, spins me around, and whispers in my ear. I meet up with him in a different city, and he says “We have a stop to make.” We end up at a bakery, for a surprise belated birthday cake. 

Minneapolis: We make time together count. Every time I see her, the first thing I do is pick her up and spin her around, whispering something mushy in her ear. The camera may as well be pulling away and credits rolling with “the boy damn sure did get the girl” music starting up.

Some people wait their whole lives and never have that feeling. But every time I see her, we start with a romantic ending. 

Detroit: We get hotel rooms with big showers and bring candles and music and do crazy romantic cheesy things, because whatever we do has to last until the next time. We try to make sure there is always a next time, something to look forward to even as we are leaving. 

Minneapolis: We fill our time together like every other couple. Bad TV. Starbucks. We just make it count a lot more than those people. I make the touch of her hand last me two weeks. I memorize the rasps in her voice. Oh. And what normal people call “amazing sex,” we might possibly consider calling “pretty ok” depending on whether they even belonged in the same conversation as us in the first place. (They probably don’t.)

Detroit: Every night we are apart, there is a bedtime phone call. Even if I am asleep he calls to wake me up and I mumble something sleepy-cute. Often we’ll be texting or messaging and I will type, “Getting sleepy, call when you’re in bed.” Even if we only talk for a second, I go to bed feeling loved. And at the end of the day, that is always enough.

Minneapolis: And lastly: “It’s late. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’ll say this like I did yesterday and the day before, and tomorrow and the day after. I miss you. I love you. Good night.” TC mark

image – Phaedrus
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More From Thought Catalog

  • cbsbbb

    I do Canada to UK long distance. All of this is pretty accurate. Shits rough.

  • A.

    stop i’m crying this is me :( except it’s not weeks apart it’s months

    • natty

      seriously, same thing. i was really hesitant to read this but this is so accurately written. 

    • natty

      seriously, same thing. i was really hesitant to read this but this is so accurately written.

  • --

    i’m tearing up! and my relationship is local! amazing work. loved the back and forth conversation

  • http://kalliope.simbel.lv Signe

    I was in a Europe-Australia distance for >8 months. Talk about rough. Although we made it and I hope that you guys do, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1232401348 Carolyn Calabrese

      i’m doing nyc – madrid at the moment! it’s hard but i wouldn’t have it any other way. 

  • Guest

    Come back to me when you’ve spent a year apart because one of you is in Afghanistan. Two weeks…please.

  • jae wub

    my long distance gentleman just left this afternoon after a weekend with me… it’ll be a month til the next time we see each other, like it usually is, but this is exactly it. we just know it’s worth it. it’s better to be together when we can. good for you guys. <3

    • Raunaq Salat

      Ditto

  • Guest

    Come back to me when you’ve spent a year apart because one of you is in Afghanistan. Two weeks…please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mickey.thames Mickey Thames II

    Goddamnit, did you need to make me tear up while I wait for Game of Thrones to finish downloading? 

    This is so fucking sweet I’d need to choke a basket of kittens to get back to normal. 

  • Anonymous

    ” The sound of her voice pauses my world no matter the time, no matter the situation, no matter my mood.” That is beautiful and extremely true.

  • Guest

    Freakishly relatable. 

  • Prov.

    New England to LA. It’s much rougher when there is a significant time difference…. I really feel for the people doing transcontinental relationships. Also, it sounds like you guys have plenty of money to make fun little trips to each other too. Jealous.

    • Nishant

      VERY jealous.

  • bee

    “It’s
    late. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’ll say this like I did yesterday and
    the day before, and tomorrow and the day after. I miss you. I love you.
    Good night.”

    this is a really sweet and true article and I just moved overseas and told my boyfriend that I cannot do a LDR and we broke up. I might have not said that if I had read this article then, but I am reading it now and I think I still made the right choice. One day(for me), the lack of physical contact would rip my mind apart. I meet him once every 9 months.
     

  • http://twitter.com/PatrishCee Patricia Capiral

    “The sound of her voice pauses my world no matter the time, no matter the situation, no matter my mood.”

    “It’s late. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’ll say this like I did yesterday and the day before, and tomorrow and the day after. I miss you. I love you. Good night.”

    I’m literally in tears. This is so incredible and accurate and I wish it was this easy, I really do. I wish I had the same trust and faith and courage that you both do. I wish it wasn’t Los Angeles and New York. I wish it wasn’t through four years of college. I wish I wasn’t so messy and broken and undeserving and scared of this. Maybe then, it would’ve worked. Maybe. 
    Regardless–I wish you both the best.

  • Julia Kath

    I’m living in England while my boyfriend is in San Fran. We broke up yesterday, after a 3 year relationship with our last 4 months being LDR. This sucks. I was trying to get distracted from how an LDR didn’t work out… I’m going back to watching old movies and eating cookie dough.

  • guestin'away

    just vomited a little. But get married, seriously. 

  • BFE

    2-3 weeks is nothing.

    Boston to Sydney, for 2.5 years. We met “in the middle” — in Europe — when we were both there for either academics (thank you, grad school research grants) or internships. Grand plan to move to London when we both got that chance. I’m here. He changed his mind. Kinda wish I could go back and tell myself 3 years ago that even though this boy is amazing, you’re never going to live in the same place. 

    • littlemole

      Pennsylvania to Singapore, and then Saudi Arabia, for two years. Similar end to the story. But I wish I could go back and do everything possible to stay in the same place as him. 

  • electricpicnic

    “Some people wait their whole lives and never have that feeling. But every time I see her, we start with a romantic ending. ”

    <3

  • Overflow

    Sheesus, cheesy 

  • MC

    I dropped my boyfriend off at the airport this afternoon after a three month stretch and had this waiting for me on Twitter when I got home. This is beautifully written. I wish we had the money to see each other every two weeks. It’s terrible when you have a wonderful relationship and very little money to contribute to it, while other couples who see each other all the time argue about things that I would consider ridiculous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127422406 Kat Lawson

    ;_________;

  • guest

    i saw this too late. we just broke up, literally, a minute ago. i hate long distance, i hate this.

    • Guest

      so i’m not the only one…

      you know you’ll get away stronger, but it’ll take time. hang in there okay?

  • http://artfeedsmia.blogspot.com/ mia nguyen

    DID I JUST BALL MY EYES? YES I DID.

  • JadedRomantic

    “Distance plants crazy thoughts like land mines on the plains of sanity.
    When it happens, I step around the thoughts, duck and cover from the doubts, and I don’t flinch. That’s what you do when you KNOW.” 

    Beautifully written, I can relate totally to this. After 2 years of amazing memories and what felt like true love, the girl of my dreams ended things after a 3 months LDR. While she was away, marking off days on the calendar (something I used to think only grandparents did) became my daily obsession. The times she chose to reply my text messages and Skype conversations (which bordered on OCD frequency) took the sting out of the crazy longing. When she didn’t, I sidestep my doubts by reliving old memories. All because I knew in my heart she was the one for me, and by God she was worth it.

    If only she had felt the same way. If only she hadn’t fallen for someone she met on that trip. 

    Life is strange sometimes. Out of the 6.8 billion people on Earth you meet someone whom you are sure you want to grow old with, you give it your best, but you still have to endure watching that person walk off into the sunset in another person’s arms.  

  • Stephannie

    Skype is a gift from the heavens… –> couldn’t agree more to that!

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