MANAGING A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP
Nick and I started dating at the very beginning of my junior year of college. Since then, a lot has happened, including me moving back home to Boston.
We knew that we were going to be apart this year (at least). We also know that we’ve overcome a lot as a couple, and that we could handle it. Still, managing a long distance relationship brings a whole new set of challenges.
Here’s what I’ve learned about long distance relationships and making them work:
Communication is the most important thing for distance. It’s important in relationships of any kind, but when you’re not often face to face with your significant other and not always experiencing the same things it’s even more important.
I have found that it works well to set a regular time to talk to your significant other, or to get into a routine. For example, Nick and I talk on the phone on my drive from my office to the pool every weekday. We will call or text each other throughout the day when we can too, but it’s really comforting to know that there’s a time everyday that we have to spend with each other.
This point might seem a little obvious, but there will be times when one person can’t talk at the usual time, and that’s totally ok. It is important to tell the other person that you’ll be busy and what you have going on. Yes, it’s a courtesy, but more importantly, clear communication really is what holds a long distance relationship together.
Related to communication, if you don’t have time to talk to your significant other, it is so important to not presume how they feel about something before you get the chance to talk. Just because you are upset about something, or nervous, or any kind of feeling, that does not mean that they feel the same way, or that they were even aware about how you felt. You cannot assume anything until you actually talk to them.
Assuming things, especially feelings, is the easiest way for one person to create an argument that really isn’t there.
Another way to help make long distance more manageable is by finding ways to show your significant other that you love them from somewhere far away.
This can be something as simple as remembering what they have going on in their life, like a big meeting at work or event of some sort, and asking them about it. It could also mean mailing them a letter or Amazon Priming the toiletries you know they ran out of to their house.
It’s taking the little gestures, like holding the door open or making cups of tea, that you would normally use to show someone you love them, and translating that to something you can do from afar.
Finally, I find it really nice to always have a plan to visit each other. As soon as someone visits the other, try and start planning the next visit as soon as possible-- even if it’s a long time away or very tentative.
Having a plan the next time you’re going to see each other is a great way to have something to look forward to, and makes it feel less like long-distance is forever with no end in sight (which can be pretty depressing).
At the end of the day, long distance is just a challenge that can be overcome. A strong relationship will be just fine with some patience and a little extra effort.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? If you are now, what worked for you?