Be it because of work, because of excessive travelling / wanderlust or perhaps educational obligations – at one point in your life you may find yourself engaged into a long distance relationship. “Definitely not, they’re just not for me, I’d never be in one” I hear you cry, but I promise you, they’re not as bad as you think if you attempt to follow some simple(ish) steps…
I have been with my boyfriend for round about 2 years, and for the most recent part of our time together, we have in fact been apart. We met at university and he’s 3 years my senior. So, of course, he graduated and moved to London and I had to stay in Birmingham to continue my studies. Yet, funnily enough, these months have probably been the best of them all. And why? Because we’ve made long distance work for us (even though we have no where near mastered it) but here’s how:
- Ban the words “I miss you”. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you will know how problematic these words are. They put a miserable tone on any conversation that you have with your partner and if you’re in a bad mood already, it will just end up in someone crying or some sort of dramatised argument. Instead, why don’t you say “I’m so excited to see you” ? It’s conveying the same message, that, to varying extents, you can’t wait to be with them and you miss having them around. It’s just a much more positive way of saying it!
- Plan! Instead of spending your time whinging and whining to each other about how much you miss each other and spending hours on the phone crying to each other – plan things to do together! Sort a date when you’re next going to see each other, work out how long you have together and get organising. Work out where you’re going to eat, what parks you’re going to take a walk in, what exhibitions you want to see etc.. You’ll then have a period of time to look forward to, something to work towards, something to countdown towards.
- Avoid excessive and overbearing communication. Long, drawn out conversations really aren’t needed and will make you miss your significant other a lot more than you should be. If you spend every minute Whatsapping each other, you’re just going to end up wishing you were with each other. Put down your phone, go live your life and come back to it at the end of the day, or at varying points within the day, to check in with your boyfriend/girlfriend to see how they’re getting on. Lord knows, when you do check in with each other, you do not need texts which resemble short stories. From what I’ve found, if I hear too much about what my boyfriend has been getting up to, I get very jealous and just wish I was there to experience it all with him.
- Let them live their life and give them space. Similar to the one above, but just let them do what they want, when they want, with who they want. You’re going to have to accept that you’re not physically in their lives anymore and unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to share every experience with them. You’re going to need to get rid of every envious bone in your bone and replace them with “Ok, he has his own life and so do I” bones. Your significant other will be doing other things without you, and that’s okay. Don’t be messaging them every time they go out wishing you were there – maybe just message them after it all and let them tell you what a great time they had.
- Trust them. This is a lot easier typed than done, I know. But, it’s so important. You need to seriously trust the person you’re going long distance with. Scrutinising everything and constantly questioning them only makes things worse and puts a very angry, bitter tone onto the relationship.
- Be brutally honest if you’re not happy with something. So, let me explain this one – I’m not saying send a text to your boyf/girlf every time they go out with a friend like “who is she?!”, “how do you know her?!”, “why are you with her?!”, “I don’t like that you spend time with her!” – that’s honestly just so annoying and not needed. But, if something in the relationship isn’t working for you, have a constructive conversation about it and work out a solution / compromise. For instance, if you want to schedule in a FaceTime / Skype call once every, say, 3 days, speak to them about it. Or, if you feel like you need more communication, perhaps say you want one phone call every 2 days. Or even if its something ridiculous like you don’t feel as though they say “I love you” enough, tell them. Be honest with what you want from the relationship.
- Facebook tagging is real and it helps. Both like cute dogs? Tag them in every picture / video of cute pug dogs swinging in swings, playing in the sand or dressed as humans. It shows you’re thinking about them, without actually saying anything. This one may sound stupid, but honestly, it helps.
- Stay positive. This one is just simple, no long distance relationship is going work if you think it’s doomed from the outset. Stay positive about the future and current state of the relationship and you’ll be fine.