Long distance relationships are tricky. But then again, so are normal relationships.
When I first met my boyfriend, I wasn’t planning on falling in love. And yet, after just four months of knowing each other (a lot of which I spent drunk and crying in his bed) we agreed to give a long distance relationship a shot.
Nevertheless, when I said goodbye to him on the day I left, I walked away with the knowledge there was a very good chance we’d never see each other again. For us, it was less about being apart physically and more about not wanting to give up before it really started.
So, for 6 months while I was setting up a life in London, he was back in Brisbane finishing university and trying to decide if I was worth following or not. Spoiler alert: I was. He finally made the move over in January, a blind leap of faith for both of us, as he moved straight into my house and my bed.
Too fast? Well, when you know, you know.
But how did we make it work? Being apart is hard, but the general principle of a long distance relationship is basically the same as a normal relationship. I guess then, I’m almost about to share my tips for making any old relationship work?
Trust is the single most important thing in a long distance relationship, and yes, in a day-to-day relationship. I’ve spoken before about trusting your instincts, and this is no different. If you can’t handle your boyfriend going to the club without you, then I have to question why you’re in that relationship at all; let alone, trying to make it work long distance. If someone is going to cheat on you, and you believe they’re capable of that, they’re going to do it whether you’re half an hour away or half a world away.
While we were apart, we spoke every day via text, for the entire time we were both awake. Then we’d have one-sided conversations with each other while the other one slept. We made sure we stayed 100% a part of each other’s lives. There’s not much that happened during those 6 months that we didn’t both know about. We would Skype each other at least once a week and call each other when we could in between that. The important thing to remember is not to put pressure on it; there were so many times we would be on Skype and only talk for 20 minutes and then spend an hour on the internet, just enjoying having each other’s face in the corner of the screen.
Keep your expectations low. By that, I don’t mean let them get away with everything for fear of looking clingy – you have to be clingy in a long distance relationship. I mean, don’t put pressure on it. As in any relationship, either it’ll work out or it won’t. Either way, I promise you it’ll be okay and you’ll be happy again soon.
You need to be honest about how you’re feeling and how you’re doing. Because being apart from the one person who can make you feel better sucks. You have to be honest with those feelings and if you need to cry or lay in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself, then do it. It doesn’t mean you don’t go on living without them, it just means you take the time to acknowledge how much this sucks, so you have the strength to carry on that day. And most importantly: tell your partner how much this sucks, because if anyone understands what you’re going through, it’s them.
People like to throw their two cents in, and it’s inevitably going to happen here too. Every man and their dog has a story about their cousin’s best friend’s daughter who tried long distance and it didn’t work. For some reason people are going to think you want to hear these stories, but you have to let it pass over you like water on a duck’s back. That relationship isn’t yours and for every long distance relationship that didn’t work, there’s another one that did. Unfortunately for us, it was my boyfriend who’d been betrayed in a long distance relationship before. We had confidence in each other though, and yes, it came back to trust. He had to acknowledge how much that hurt him and decide not to let it affect us.
Get past the shyness and the hard-wiring in you (me) that means you like to keep the conversation off of you (me). Now is the time to take a thousand selfies, tell your partner you feel cute today and show them every outfit you’re trying on at the shop. If anyone looked at my camera roll for those six months they’d think I was totally in love with myself. I wasn’t, I just had someone on the other side of the world who was and just wanted to see my face. You can also get yourself an encrypted messaging service to share intimate moments in private (or just because data collection is super creepy). I recommend Telegram: it’s fully encrypted, blocks screenshots and deletes conversations automatically that are silent after a certain period of time. And when it’s deleted, it’s gone, never to return and haunt you years later. WhatsApp is fine too, but it’s owned by Facebook and I just don’t trust those bastards.
(I made myself laugh with this sub-heading. Maybe I’ll add final thoughts to all my posts…)
All in all, as I’ve said already I think there are a huge amount of parallels between making a long distance relationship work and making a close quarters relationship work. At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut. If it’s still working for you and you’re still having more good days than bad, then you ignore the haters and go for it. I’m not saying you won’t have doubts, or really bad days where it seems all too hard. But I am saying you know deep down what you want to do.
Thank goodness my boyfriend is here now though, so I have someone to get in the way of my travel selfies.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What tips do you have for making it work? Tell me in the comments below.
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