The Survival Guide: 3 Steps To Long-Distance Relationships
Okay! Consider this a personal memoir because there is a solid answer on how to handle long-distance relationships. It is different for everybody, and everybody has different struggles during it. I imagine every couple can agree on whether it be 40 miles away, 40,000, or 400,000 their mutual love for each other carries them past problems.
Some background for me is that my boyfriend, and I have known each other for three years. We met at the University of the West of England where we both studied animation. During my year of studies, we became close friends, realizing common interests. Due to circumstances past my control, I had to leave my studies halfway through and return to Florida. He and I remained in contact and on a spontaneous trip to Florida, it grew into something more.
I’ve been with him for eight months; during this period I’ve been the happiest I have been, but it is long distance. I will leave again after living with him here in the UK for four months in a few weeks and not returning until May. Hence, inspiring me with a heavy (yet optimistic) heart to write a survival guide in case anyone is unsure about a long distance relationship. Tackling the most common problems Long-Distance couples face. I will share with you what we know and what we have learned together.
Step 1: Trust
Like in any relationship where distance isn’t a problem, trust comes first. Regardless of what your situation is if you do not trust your partner nothing will come of it. You should consider it before taking up a long distance relationship with someone. What if they’re not answering their phone like they said they would? Your cellphone will be your main line of communication for the time you are apart. So you need to prepare that even though you may schedule a time to talk, your partner may not answer. Do Not assume that cheating is going on. If that is your mindset before their friends asked them to hang out, they’re busy, or something came up? You are not in the right mind frame to continue or take up a long-distance relationship.
Solutions: Talk to your partner about setting an exact date(s) of when you’ll talk per week that work with both of your schedules. Send texts before going out, letting them know you won’t be available, but you’re thinking of them. Talk about your boundaries and what would make you both feel more secure in the relationship.
Step 2: Physical Touch
The next biggest obstacle to face as a long distance couple is physical touch. It makes sense. You want your partner to be there. Nobody signs up for a long distance relationship thinking it will be the best thing ever. If we could choose? Nobody would have one. A lot of this ties with not having quality time together and not having physical interactions anymore. For some partners this is very daunting, especially valuing romantic encounters (such as dates, presence, and kissing, etc.) over other aspects of having a romantic relationship. This is often the biggest one that makes or breaks a long distance relationship. Don’t worry though. There are always ways around this. If our grandparents could do it when their husbands and wives got sent away, we can too!
Solutions: Send handwritten letters! Yes, you talk every day about something, but you can leave info out to put in a hand-written love letter. Stereotypical cheesy-ness aside, hand-written letters are endearing and show the extra effort to make a card yourself to send that special someone a special message. You could also find a takeout place they enjoy and have their favorite meal delivered to their work or apartment! Who says care packages have to be the only way to make someone feel better? If neither of those are your jam? Plan a Skype call! Watch a movie! Agree to read the same book and talk about it!
Step 3: Family and Friends
If everybody in your immediate friend circle and family is cool and hasn’t said comments like:
You know that won’t work, right?
They are cheating on you while you’re away. Or my favorite:
You really can’t find someone here you like instead? Are they really worth all the trouble? Then you, my friend, are in luck! This section is not for you! However, if these kinds of expressions have made their way into your almost pleasant conversations. This is for you! We love our families and friends, but sometimes, they stink. They will try to give you advice about the relationship they are hoping to make you understand how crazy you are for being in it. Joking aside, they do mean it with a good heart. But if you are close with these people and respect their opinion, it can be hard to ignore those doubts. They want what is best for you, and even liking your boyfriend/girlfriend, they will likely have their suspicions.
Solution: I know easier said then done but don’t listen. You know your relationship with your partner, and if you respect these opinions, you should take them with a grain of salt. Another piece of advice is having open communication with your partner. Tell them, even if it’s often, that the things people are saying may get to you. Your partner will more than likely give you the words of reassurance you need and put any doubts you have to rest. Keeping in mind that like your friends and family, they have taken the time to get to know you too!