So Chris and I are almost a month in to our long distance phase, and I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot in that month alone. I used to see long distance as some big scary monster that was going to take over our relationship and make every day miserable. In reality, it’s not so bad. Does it suck not having Chris here? For sure. But I’ve found that if you just shift the way you see things, it makes it easier to accept that you’re apart.
What do I mean by that? Okay. Instead of sitting at home every night thinking about how you wish you could be watching TV together, change your focus. Stop worrying about what’s not there, and get working on building a life for yourself as an independent person. Obviously you should do this whether you’re single, in a relationship, doing long distance, living together, etc., but it’s easy to put your life as an independent person on the back burner in favor of spending time together. When you’re not able to be in the same place for a while, you’ll need to find other ways to fill your time. Do a Meetup group (just did one last night, great success), take a class, get more invested in a hobby, volunteer. Do anything that makes you feel active, positive, and independent. It will beat the hell out of lying in bed alone with Netflix, wishing you had someone there to go get you a drink so you didn’t have to move.
Other strategies I’ve learned include:
- Book the next visit when you’re together: It’s always depressing having to say goodbye, but the departure is so much easier if you have a plan as to when you’re seeing each other next. Even if it’s in a month, it’s so much better to say, “See you on _____!” instead of having to say, “Okay, welp. See you soon, I hope!” When you have a tangible date that you’re looking forward to, it helps you to get excited about the next rendezvous instead of leaving you miserable that your visit is over.
- Cheap airfare sites are your friend: I literally want to give the people over at Kayak.com a smooch every time they find me a ticket price that Chris and I can actually afford. Cheapair.com is another good option. If you’re doing distance that’s a plane ride away, you’ll want to learn how to save on ticket prices.
- Register for loyalty/frequent flyer clubs: Since you’re probably going to be flying a lot more in order to see your boo, put those miles to use. Sign up for an airfare’s loyalty club. You’ll rack up points, and may even get a free flight out of the deal once you’ve taken enough trips. I joined United and Jet Blue’s clubs, and am working my way toward baller status.
- Don’t listen to other people: Other people are going to want to tell you what to do about your relationship. They’re going to want to tell you it’s a dumb idea or that you’re wasting your time. Truthfully, their opinions don’t matter. As long as you’re both happy and are doing what feels right to you, that’s all that matters.
- Don’t sit at home: Long distance sucks. There’s no way around it. You’ll probably have days where you feel great, and days when you just want to be where that other person is. Regardless of what kind of mood you’re in, you have to get out and get active. Though it may feel better to sit alone and pout, you’ll only further your bad feelings if you do this. Instead, go to the gym, hit up a new friend and see if they want to hang out, take a walk, do anything. Any action you take is positive, and will leave you feeling better than just sitting at home Skyping with your significant other. Don’t be the girl who says, ” I can’t go. I have to Skype my boyfriend.” No one likes that girl, and over time you won’t like her either when everyone else is out making memories and you’re moping around.
- Schedule time to Skype: Hopefully you’ll be so busy building your fun, independent life that your days will fill up quickly. While this is awesome, you also don’t want to let the relationship suffer as a result. Make sure to schedule in some time each day to Skype, talk on the phone, or FaceTime. Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes, that catchup period is crucial for keeping you guys connected. Book it in advance so you’ll both be present and ready. This means eating dinner ahead of time, turning the TV off, and focusing solely on the other person. Don’t give up fun in order to Skype, but you should still make it a priority.
- When you’re together, don’t get too comfortable: Since your time together will be more limited now, you want to make the most of it when you have it. It’s tempting to see each other and want to spend all day just hanging out and being lazy. This may be acceptable when you can see each other every day, but it doesn’t fly when your visits are less frequent. Fight the urge to just snuggle, and get out and do something. Explore your new city together, check out his city. Try a restaurant, see a show, visit a museum. Even going to get a drink at a fun bar in the area is enough. You just don’t want to be sitting around staring at each other:
- Realize that sometimes there’s just nothing to say: There’s a lot of pressure on your phone conversations when you’re doing long distance. Instead of just talking about random things that happened in your day, you may feel pressure to make each conversation deep and meaningful and soulful. Cut that out and give yourselves a break. Sure, sometimes you have plenty of details to spill about your day at work. Other days, nothing really happened. Just because you’re apart, doesn’t mean you always have to have tons to say to each other. Sometimes when you’re together you probably have a lull in conversation too. It’s a natural part of talking with other people. And if the phone goes silent here or there, doesn’t mean you no longer have a connection with your significant other. It just means that you’re a human, and sometimes life is more interesting than other times.
- Don’t feel the need to drag the conversation out: For some reason, people in long distance relationships have this idea that you have to talk for hours on end to make up for the time you’re not spending together. Not true. Talk until you feel like the conversation has reached a natural stopping point, then sign off. You don’t need to spend hours on the phone to have a meaningful conversation. And when you put pressure on yourself to keep the conversation going and going, you’ll get stressed out.
Have you done a long distance relationship before? How did you make it work?