Part 2 in my LDR series, click here to see part 1.
I try not to be one of those girls that never stops talking about her boyfriend but that’s a lot harder when you’re 1,000+ miles away from each other and Facetime is now your main form of communication, so the alternative is to complain to everyone about how much you miss them. This of course not only goes for your relationship but also your friends and family, await a future post where I talk about the pain of missing your mums cooking, sleepovers with your friends and just generally having a friendly face about.
So you’re miles away from the love of your life and are feeling miserable, you’re going to spend the next year wishing away the days, thinking about how much better everything would be if you were in England, right? WRONG
You are going to make the most of this amazing opportunity, you are going to see so many new places, meet so many new friends and really spend time learning all about yourself. Then when you return you will have wonderful stories to tell, a fab collection of photos and the best bit… your doting boyfriend/girlfriend listening to every word and being so proud of you. Now I’m not saying it won’t be hard but I am saying that it will be worth it, people all over the world live away from their partners (my parents included for 5 days out of the week) and they manage just fine so buck your ideas up and stop moping about.
So here are 5 tips to keep your relationship working while separated:
On of the most important parts of any relationship, not just long distance ones, is communication. Now I don’t just mean spending 3 hours a day on FaceTime just playing on your phones and struggling for conversation- although it is easy to run out of things to talk about if you ring each other every day! I mean being comfortable enough to talk about anything with your partner, even if that involves a difficult topic. It is so important, I can’t stress this enough, to say when you are having doubts, if you feel lonely, if they are doing something that upsets you etc. When you aren’t physically around one another it is almost impossible to pick up other visual clues that let your partner know that something is wrong and if you are keeping things bottled up inside three weeks down the line the problem will seem a lot worse.
Some examples: if you are worried that you haven’t been speaking properly recently then schedule in a time to Skype and then tell them how you feel. You shouldn’t expect to constantly text each other throughout the day, especially if you are both busy, but talk about what level of communication you do expect from each other and try to stick to it.
If you are missing the physical connection of being with your partner (holding hands, cuddling, going out together etc) then let them know and try to replace this with words instead. You can’t be there to give them a hug but you can give them a virtual hug by telling them what they mean to you and how much you love them.
2. Make the most of your time apart
Yes you heard me right: make the most of your time away from your boyfriend/girlfriend. This can be quite difficult at first, especially when you still miss them loads and aren’t used to being away but this can really help the time pass and allows you to enjoy your new-found freedom. Pick up a new hobby, learn a new sport, go travelling around your host country, make new friends, go on nights out, wake up early to go for a jog… all things that you can freely do in the absence of your partner.
You can now live the single life (mostly) and have someone to metaphorically go home to at the end of the day. You should be enjoying this! This is your one big chance to really have some me time and do what you enjoy doing the most without a boyfriend complaining the whole time. “I’m picking the film tonight” is Andy’s catchphrase and now I can watch all the chick-flicks and soppy films I like all while ugly crying into my pillow. It really isn’t as bad as it seems when you accept the distance and just really get on with it.
3. Keep feeling the love
I really miss Andy being physically with me: watching films isn’t the same, sleeping alone is lonely, not being able to go on dates together etc and it definitely takes a lot more effort to make sure that the other person still feels wanted. Instead of giving them a hug at the end of the day you have to settle for speaking to them through a screen, all physical affection is gone apart from blowing kisses while on Skype and holding hands is just a memory. To replace all this it is important to remind your partner how much you love them and to give compliments! When you don’t see someone regularly it can be hard to remember how they feel about you, and sending a text to tell your girlfriend she’s beautiful or your boyfriend how gorgeous he is can really make all the difference.
Of course you should never have long lasting doubts about your partners commitment or feel like you’re not good enough, but everyone has small moments of self doubt and these can easily be reassured by talking it out, reminding each other how you feel and remembering that the distance isn’t permanent (luckily with my YA I have an end date so can impatiently check my countdown every day).
4. Try not to sweat the small things
This is another point that can apply to “normal” relationships as well as long distance ones and is a tip that I learnt from a friend. Nobody is perfect and everyone has flaws, but you need to decide whether something is make-or-break or not. What I’m trying to say is that if your partner leaves his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor every time he gets a shower, is it really worth an argument? Sometimes you have to decide that picking them up and putting them in the wash basket is easier than having a go at him every day and giving the day a bad start.
Now if it is a more serious issue then obviously you need to bring it up, but when it is something small and insignificant (and you probably do something equally as annoying) just let it go. I promise you that it is not worth it and your relationship is more important than the sum of dirty washing that you have to pick up. So before the next time you want to say something about they way they are, just think to yourself: is this worth an argument?
5. Plan for the future
Maybe planning the wedding is a step too far (is it?) but you can plan trips to see each other, your holidays (Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc) and arrange specific things that you want to do when you are reunited. Me and Andy know that we will be spending Christmas together and have already started talking about our summer holiday 2017 and that is definitely exciting and helps the time pass faster.
Here are some ideas for inspiration:
Visit your favourite restaurant, go for cocktails at your favourite bar, watch a new series on Netflix, go on a day trip somewhere, arrange something with your friends, try a new sport together, go to the cinema, go bowling, the list can be endless.
So those are my 5 top tips to keep your relationship going strong throughout your time apart but if things aren’t going to plan and you are struggling with the distance, then your partner should be the first person you tell. Remember: communication is everything.
Hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any success secrets to making an LDR work!