Surviving​ ​a​ ​Long​ ​Distance​ ​Relationship​

Surviving​ ​a​ ​Long​ ​Distance​ ​Relationship​

I don't cry because we've been separated by distance, and for a matter of years. Why? Because for as long as we share the same sky and breathe the same air, we're still together.― Donna Lynn Hope

Relationships can be hard. You know what’s even more challenging? The long distance ones. I have been in a long distance relationship for five years, and I am here to tell you that we’ve made it through and we’re happier than ever. My boyfriend and I were on separate continents with 5 hours of difference, and we've only visited each other four times! Not having the person you love by your side is one of the hardest things in a relationship. Sometimes you feel like you can’t have fun without them, you can’t go out without them, you can’t laugh without them, but it doesn’t have to be this way.Long distance can be rewarding for both parties. Your trust for each other strengthens like no other. Just the idea that you survived a long distance makes you believe you can get through anything - it’s empowering. In my situation, I hated the lack of physical touch, but whenever we see each other again, it’s like our love intensifies. I also love having the chance to travel and experience a different culture and lifestyle than the one I am used to. If you’re in a long distance relationship or consider being in one: Here are my tips for surviving it.

Have a Common Calander

You can easily share your calendar via email. Write down important events, doctor appointments, anniversaries, meetings, final exams, lecture hours, work and volunteer schedule, family and friend visits, and don't forget the date you're planning to meet again. Worrying about your partner not getting home safe is a scary thought, so please, remind each other of your whereabouts.

Encourage Positive Behavior

Help your significant other do stuff that they want to do, but are hesitant to start. For example, if they tell you they want to take a course, start going to the gym or start a small business - encourage them and help them push through it.

Make Plans & Stick to Them

Sometimes, it’s financially impossible to travel to see your loved one. However, you have to save up the money to visit them from time to time. Also, keep emergency funds to see them in case they are sick or desperate for help. Surprising them for their birthday or Christmas is a beautiful gesture too.

Go Out & Surround Yourself with People

Long distance can be lonely. Remind yourself it’s okay to have friends, it’s okay to have fun, and it’s okay to go out. Being happy doesn’t mean you are cheating on your significant other, on the contrary, it’s good for both of you. Take pictures, talk about what you did and share them with your boyfriend or girlfriend - don't exclude them from your life.

Do Fun Stuff Together

Play co-op video games, watch movies at the same time, listen to music, watch YouTube videos, read books, watch each other's video game streams, do a vlog-type Skype calls, read/watch the news, watch your favorite sports, go to the gym or grocery shopping at the same time. When you’re out and about, surprise them with a text message, say goodnight and good morning to them daily and never stop reminding them of how much you love them and how you can’t wait to see them. Call them to ask for advice - even when it’s just an excuse to hear their voice.

Make Future Plans

Are you going to live with them in the future, will they move-in to live with you or are you guys moving to an entirely new place? Are you getting together when school ends or when someone gets a job? You have to have a deadline, it doesn’t need to be accurate, but you have to make a decision. If you guys didn’t decide after a year or two of commitment, you're not serious enough about the relationship. If you want to be together, you’ll make it through. When you have doubts, please talk about it, don’t waste each other’s time.

Never Break Trust

My rule for this one, if you don’t want it to be done to you, don’t do it to others. If you don’t trust the person you're with, the relationship will not last. I would say this is the pillar of a successful long distance relationship and breaking this pillar will crush the relationship into pieces. There’s no reason to hide and be dishonest. Talk to your partner before you plan on doing something that might hurt them or something that you’ll regret. You’re in a relationship with them, long distance or not, both of you have to be committed. Long distance is not a side relationship; it’s a serious one. If one or both of you want to see other people talk it out, don’t hurt each other - it’s not worth it.

Buy Gifts for Each Other

Nowadays, you can buy anything online. From gadgets, flowers, clothing to groceries. Send your partner a gift once, and while to show them, they are on your mind. This is nice if you can't make it for their birthday, Christmas, or Valentine's Day. Add their address to your Amazon account and start shopping! Don't go overboard; you need to save up for your trip to visit them.

Seek Therapy

It’s important to talk to a non-objective professional. Talking to friends and relatives is good, but it’s not the answer. Chances are they will ask you to break off your relationship if the distance is too painful, which isn’t fair to the other person who might be hurting too.  A psychologist will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and work around your relationship. They will also offer you advice in different areas of your life. With you, they will come up with solutions to improve your relationship and make sure it’s healthy for you and that you're not neglecting other aspects of your life. If you’ve seen a therapist and weren’t impressed, change to another - don’t give up. You will click with someone else.In conclusion, Don’t blame the distance for the failure of a relationship. Distance is just an obstacle, and it’s up to you to make or break your relationship.

Recommended Material:

  1. Podcast: With Clinical Psychologist Dr. Margery Wang.

  2. Book: Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide: Secrets and Strategies from Successful Couples Who Have Gone the Distance by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell

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