For anyone that’s bid adieu to their partner, putting many kilometres in between them, will know the familiar heartache. Perhaps not even right away, you may enjoy that new found bed space, relish not having to wrestle the covers from them each night or find sanctuary in a little you time. But at a moment when you least expect it, as you pour your cereal or see a movie commercial, you’ll feel more alone than ever before. Managing emotions across timezones or even interstate is not like other relationship woes. It takes a different skill set to survive the long distance relationship, but if you can tolerate each other during this time it’ll be worth it in the end. Here’s how to make it out the other side, still together.
Set Ground Rules
Distance may make the heart grow fonder but it makes managing expectations particularly challenging. Are you 100% together, on a break? What are we? Having the discussion before departure is essential to ensure neither party is causing the other harm unwittingly. Lay out how often you’ll talk, how frequent you’ll video call and all the other nitty gritty details. It’s not that sexy, but it will save you a world of heartbreak by outlining things while you’re still in the same postcode.
Communication Is Key
Without the physical element that a long distance relationship brings, you’re in danger of feeling disconnected quicker than you realise is possible. Make sure to talk as often as you discussed, but not too much. If you’re video chatting every day but you don’t have the presence of the other person to liven things up, you may grow tired or overexposed. It may sound harsh but it’s all about staying in touch and being honest. Suddenly their menial chatter about work will become the main talking points of your relationship, so it’s important you pay attention.
Do Things Together
But what about that little ol’ barrier that is a million miles? The miracle of the internet is here to take care of you. Set up date nights and stick to them. Whether that’s watching a film together, playing games or even enjoying a meal with a little face time, spice up your talks. It won’t feel as special as regular date night but it will act as a much better placeholder than the alternative of chit chat.
Lock in when you’ll see each other again. Yeah, I know life happens, but it’s important to make sure your partner feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. What’s all this distance induced suffering for, if not for a magical reunion down the track? Lay-by the flights, book your leave and offer it as something to look forward too when the distance gets a little too much. Trust me, it will.
Know Their Routine
If timezones are coming into play, expecting a call during their commute or somewhere in the midst of their sleep cycle is unrealistic. Sure one person could do the 3am wakeup for the whole time you’re apart, but I guarantee they’ll end up resenting you. Give and take, make sure you’re both doing the hard yards and fitting in time wherever you can around your busy schedule. A little planning in advance goes a long way.
Are you going to do the long distance relationship forever? Gosh, I hope not. In between the romantic rendez vous and honeymoon moments, make sure you’re working on a long term game plan. It’s not fair for you or the other person to effectively put the other on hold if you don’t plan on coming together in the future. Whether that means moving abroad or signing off on visa forms, make sure you’re committed.
Write Them A Letter Everyday
Hey, look I get it, we’re not all Ryan Gosling in the Notebook, but putting a little pen to paper every once in a while certainly doesn’t hurt. Even emailing rather than broken english WhatsApp banter and late night Skype calls, just do something a little extra. If you’re feeling especially romantic send a little something personal with the letter, anyway to make them feel somewhat close to home.
Video Call Whenever Possible
Sure, the sound of your voice is great but video calling is crucial. It let’s you see the one you love and remember their smile, or the way they crinkle their face when you something silly. Little shit that a phone call just can’t pick up. Video calling for upbeat conversations will keep you feeling familiar, but it’s also essential for romantic endeavours too. No, I’m not advocating a sex tape to be filmed over the internet nor a private webcam show, but just keep things interesting. A Long distance relationship requires effort and only so much can be communicated via text.
Celebrate Your Independence
As isolating as it may be riding solo while your loved one resides elsewhere, it also comes with perks. You get to be fiercely independent. Go to the movies by yourself, eat a sit down meal without fear of asking for a table of one and spend a weekend evening reading a great book and drowning yourself in wine. When you two lovebirds do eventually reunite, you’ll recall the time you spent with yourself with great fondness. And there’ll never be a better time to work on your confidence. Go on, get out there.
If things change, be upfront. A Long distance relationship isn’t for everyone and it’s only fair to let the other person know that. Letting it fizzle out or stringing the other person along is poor form, work up the courage to do it in person or tell them on your next video chat face to face. Even if it’s not at breaking point quite yet, honesty may help mend things before they end up in complete tatters. Distance can make talking about this stuff even more difficult, but it’s worth the effort to chat it out. For your sanity and your relationship.