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Absence makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Hopefully
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? or is it “Out of Sight Out of Mind”? When it comes to long distance relationships, we all hope it’s the first… but we all know that isn’t always reality. Long distance relationships are hard. Honestly, they suck. But if you are with the right person, and just in a situation that causes you to be apart for a time, they can be well worth the struggle. And you can even make the most of it!
My Experience With Long Distance
I’ve been in a long distance relationship twice. Both times with the same person. One ended in the worst break-up of my life, and the other ended happily ever after in marriage. Let me start out by saying long distance relationships are the WORST. I loathe long distance. My love languages are quality time and physical touch… These love languages aren’t really possible to fulfill if you can’t physically be with the person for weeks or months at a time. Plus, my first failed attempt at long distance kinda gave me PTSD about the whole idea.
During our first long distance relationship, Ryan and I could only communicate through email once a week and through snail mail from Brazil to Atlanta… and when I say snail mail I mean it felt like a snail could have gone to Brazil and back multiple times before the letters would finally arrive. Between our lack of communication and the drama between my family, as well as being a 19 year old trying to figure out what I wanted for my life, our relationship was doomed. It crashed and burned after 6 months apart, never to be recovered again. Or so I thought. While Ryan and I couldn’t survive this extreme form of long distance, we grew more mature, and had better luck at our second attempt.
When Ryan and I first started dating again, I was very apprehensive about doing long distance again. I didn’t believe it could work. Long distance felt like torture to me, and I did not believe it could actually end in anything but heartbreak. But since Ryan and I were still able to make it through with my HATE for long distance, I’m confident that anyone can! As a long distance relationship veteran (hopefully to never return to the battlefield again), here is some insight about how to survive one of the most difficult tests of love.
How to make it work:
Ryan has always told me “communication is key” & well, I’ve gotta admit, he’s right. Make sure you set aside a time- everyday or every couple of days to really talk on the phone, by texting, a letter, whatever you can manage. Talking on the phone or through face time is the best because you get to hear their voice. But if texting or a letter is all you can do, it’s still much better than nothing. Talking to each other is what keeps the relationship alive and allows you to feel close to one another while you are way too many miles apart.
Face Time Dates
While not quite the same as a date in real life, a face time date can help to fill that “quality time” void that exists in a long distance relationship. Set aside an hour or two each week to face time. You can talk, watch a movie together, cook something together, go on a walk together, get creative! You will feel more connected as you are doing the same thing and spending some one-on-one time together. If you are looking for more date ideas, this website has 101! Me and Ryan would often study together over face time, and even though much of the time we were focused on our school work, it still felt like we were hanging out quietly studying together. It might sound weird, but hey it helped.
Keep busy in your own life
“Don’t wish your life away waiting on better days ahead.” –Marjorie Pay Hinckley
When you are in a long distance relationship, it is easy to wish time would pass more quickly. Maybe you’re wishing time would pass so it could be the next time you see them, or get to talk to them, or till this whole long distance thing is just over already! The best way to make time pass, though, is to go out there and live. Stay busy. Work or Go to school. Hang out with your friends on the weekend. Go to the gym so you’ll be looking extra good when you do see that special someone. Take up that hobby you’ve been wanting to start. Don’t put your life on hold! Putting your life on hold is the best way to make time go suuuuper slowly. So get out there; keep doing the things you love and try new things! It’ll make you happier, make the time go by faster, and give you more to talk about with your SO.
Don’t Fight over texting
Inevitably, you are going to get in arguments. Ryan and I got into more arguments while we were long distance. The stressor of being hundreds/thousands of miles apart while seeing and talking to each other less definitely puts some strain onto your relationship. When we got in arguments, though, we tried our best to stop arguing over texting and wait until we could talk about the issue on the phone. Over texting, most of the time you take things the wrong way. You don’t know the tone someone was using when you read a text, so you may misinterpret it. Then, the fight just gets worse, nothing gets solved, and you are just more upset. Talk it out over the phone. Trust me, it’ll save you hours of your time.
Plan (and look forward to) the Future
Whenever you are really missing them, plan out to a T the next time you are going to see them. Look up fun activities to do together, where you are going to eat, etc. Planning out a future time that you get to spend together will give you something to look forward to. It’ll also make it reality that you will see your SO again in the future.
Remember Why you are in this
Hard days are bound to come. When they do, you may question why you are going to all this trouble to begin with. Write down, when you are having a good day, a few reasons why this long distance relationship is worth it. Then, you can read that on a hard day and it will help you to remember. Also, be honest with your SO that you’re struggling. They will more than likely be happy to help!
Little surprises are always a great way to keep romance and excitement in your relationship, and to let your SO know you care. I will always cherish when Ryan used to send me flowers pretty much at least once a month. Send them chocolates, letters, their favorite treats, make them a playlist, surprise deliver food on their doorstep, or surprise them with you on their doorstep! The possibilities are endless, and any gesture to let them know you are thinking about them is sure to make their day.
Look at the Positives
We could be in a long distance relationship 100 years ago, when the only possible form of communication was letters. Think about how lucky you are to begin with to have someone to miss. And someone to miss you. When you think about how lucky you are to have someone worth missing, it makes it easier to endure the distance.
Realize this too shall pass
Even though long distance is hard, it’s not going to last forever. You are going to see each other again, live near each other again, and maybe even live together one day. Keep your head up and know your person is worth the temporary struggle. Some days are hard, some days are easy. But even from miles and miles apart, you are still facing them together. Try to enjoy the journey, & know that every minute that passes is one closer to being together again! (But never ever count down the minutes, that’s just depressing)
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” –Winnie the Pooh
Do you have any tips for surviving long distance? Post them in the comments below!