Surviving The Distance

Eric: Today I’m feeling pretty good about things. Erika has called this morning and she seems to be getting back to her old self. It’s been a difficult separation this time, due to hundreds of other things that are going on for us right now.

Long distance relationships are rubbish. There is no two ways about it. The one person that can make everything better just isn’t there. But there are ways to make it easier. It really is the little things. A text, a photo and video call… And just letting the other person know that despite the many miles between you, they are still in your thoughts.

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When you are at the start of a relationship, it is a happy time full of novelty, excitement and wonder. You test each other, try new things together and excitedly show the other person all of the things that make you… well… you. A blossoming romance is a beautiful thing and will one day be the foundations of the stories that you tell your grandchildren. However, when you live and work 866 miles apart it adds a new dimension of frustration and challenges. It’s difficult to see the progress that you are making as a couple when you are limited to text messages and video calls. It is a test of everything that brought you together in the first place. 
So is it possible to use these things and add a little something to help to build a strong, confident bond with your long distance partner, and create a better future than a short distance one? I think that by taking some steps and following a few rules can help long distance couple such as us, develop a healthy and stronger relationship, day by day. 

 

Communication is key

Communication is all you have really when you are so far apart. So sort out a plan early on. You can talk regularly thanks to twenty or so different computer programs and apps. And most importantly… for free! We called each other a lot when we had first started out… But the phone bills were CRAZY! £100 and upwards! So this is an “emergency only” option. But do not let that be an excuse not to call. There are so many alternatives that cost nothing (except for your general 4G or wifi costs.)

Talking to each other is the best way to keep in touch with all of those boring mundane things.

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“I’ve just finished my washing… dyed it all red!” and so on, may seem boring, but, it is those little things that keep you a part of each other’s lives. The more that you speak on a regular basis, the more important these things will become. Even a “I’m just brushing my teeth!” from the bathroom via Skype, means a lot and makes the other person feel like they are there with you. It helps to feel part of something when you are kept up to date with all the news and events each time you speak, but an “I had chips again for lunch,” goes a long way too.

However it is important to take some time to organise a plan too. Don’t forget that the other person has to carry on with their life to some degree. We can’t just sit in doors waiting for the other to call. That would have a detrimental effect on everything. Perhaps set in a plan with video calls every other day, phone calls morning and night, and texts during the day? Whatever suits you. It is important that each of you are comfortable with it. At the moment Erika and I Skype at least twice a day, text all day and call whenever we have a spare minute, so it doesn’t have to be an irregular thing. Consider that each of you has hobbies, work commitments and down time, but make time to talk. Things like Skype or Facetime can really bring you together, even if you are not talking because you are busy with other things… It is good, sometimes to just sit together.

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Honesty and Trust

Relationships are always a mine field of trust issues when just starting out, and that can be even more difficult when you are miles away. But be open with your feelings, don’t hide things and pretend that it is all ok. It creates a bad habit from the beginning. The more open that you are, the easier it is to build trust. Sharing things with your partner also allows them to be discussed, sometimes both of you may be feeling the same way about something or may need to be told that they are wrong. We don’t all have the same way of looking at life, and we are not psychic either.

Friends and Family

Some days you will feel great and others you will not. That’s just how it is going to be for a while. Of course share those feelings with your partner, but also talk to friends and family. You are not alone with this. Often people who are not directly involved with your situation may be able to offer tips and advice. Sometimes you need nothing more than to explain why you are feel sad.

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Another idea is to find friends who have been through a similar thing before. The army wives who say goodbye to their husbands for a year at a time, or a wife that works away Monday to Friday. Those people may have fresh ideas on how to improve things, or their own experience may give you survival tips and examples of how they did it.

Negativity Breeds Negativity

“No way man, I wouldn’t be able to do it!”

Well I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe you are missing out on the girl of your dreams because of your own limitations?

Every relationship is different. People will have their views and opinions… But let’s be honest, who doesn’t. It would not be everyone’s choice to be in a long distance relationship… but some people wouldn’t date a policeman either… Or a Racing Car Driver… Take all criticism lightly. There are thousands of reasons NOT to date someone, but you can not help who you fall in love with, and many long distance relationships are far more successful than ones that live on the same street.

Hang Out

Nowadays being together is not necessarily being together. You can still take time out to do things together. Playing a game online or watching a movie at the same time or listening to music via youtube… All of these things can very easily be achieved now. It brings some normality into the situation. Another idea is to set up a regular date night. It’s easy enough now as long as you both have wifi. Cook a meal and sit together by candlelight… on Skype. You can talk with soft music, and stare into each others eyes. Why not? Be creative. Break the habits of the daily routine and dedicate time to each other.

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Remember the Old Fashioned

Flowers, chocolates, gifts and surprises!! Just because you live so far away doesn’t mean that romance is dead. Get online and send flowers or cupcakes. Don’t tell your partner… Just do it! It works when you are together and it works when you are apart.

Planning Planning Planning

Spend time planning your next visit. It makes that progress more obvious. Work out when and where. Then plan what you are going to do. Take her to your parents, take him to a movie. Anything, but enjoy the planning stage. Build it into your relationship. It keeps all eyes fixed firmly forward. Make sure that you visit as often as you can. Whether it be once a year or once a week, when you get that opportunity, then grab it with both hands.

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Look Forward To The Future

This will not be forever. It is just for now.

Look into how you can change things. Look into plans in her city or his. Look forward to those times when every morning you will wake up together. Side by side.

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