Question: My boyfriend and I have just gone long-distance for the first time ever and I’m scared. Everybody says LDRs never work, is that true? What advice do you have for long distance relationships, or do you think there is no point even trying it?
Answer: The transition from being together to being long distance can be an extremely painful, and at times lonely, change. Whilst it is true that for some people long distance is just too difficult to pursue, it really is dependent on your relationship. For me, playing football is too difficult, yet for Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s a breeze. With everything that there is in this world, it will work out for some people, and it will not work out for others. Whilst some claim long-distance is too difficult for them, it does not mean that it will be impossible for you. I myself have been in a long distance relationship for two years now, and I believe it is the most magical part of my life. Here is my advice to try and overcome the hardship of distance.
Communicate: I promise this is the most predictable advice in this column, but it is a classic for a reason. Distance often causes worry within relationships because you don’t know what they are doing unless they tell you. Suddenly, texting and calling becomes the biggest factor of your relationship. I have heard some people say to not message all day, so that you have things to discuss in the evening. Now I’m not going to say that’s not good advice, but it’s not something I follow. Messaging little updates throughout the day about what you’re up to, or what’s on your mind, or even to just send a quick compliment to your partner to boost their mood, is a lovely way to feel connected and to know that they are thinking of you. Scheduling phone calls is wonderful if you’re both busy and can’t always depend on spontaneity. If romance is what you crave, then handwritten love letters are a perfect way to express your love – and it’s perfect because your partner will physically have something of yours to read over whenever they feel lonely. When you’re no longer long distance, it will also be nice to have these exchanged letters to remind you of that stage of your relationship. Whether you want to only talk in the evenings, or throughout the day, just make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Plan: Plan to see each other a realistic amount. If you are internationally long distance then perhaps this will be once or twice a year – if it is, then talk about it, discuss your excitement for that time when you will be reunited. Even if it is very distant in the future, it is always encouraging to hear your partner visualising a future because it reinforces the fact that long distance will work for you. If you are within driving or train distances, then finding a schedule that suits you both as to when you can see each other helps with the adjustment. But also, find a common interest you both share – whether it’s music, travel, food, anything that you bond over, plan around that. For me, my partner and I love travelling together, and when we are long distance we often discuss future destinations we wish to visit. Even if you do not physically book anything, talking about your similar interests and discussing a future date together replaces your loneliness of being apart, to excitement of being together again and being able to do these amazing things together. It’s all about visualising and believing in a future together.
Surprise: Surprise each other in any way that you can. Romance can be difficult to capture when you aren’t physically together, but it doesn’t have to be lost altogether. It can be a monetary surprise, such as a surprise package in the post filled with little presents. Or, a surprise visit if you have the means to do so. Yet, it can even be a surprise message to express your love for your partner. It can really be as big or as small as you’d like, but being able to catch someone off-guard and remind them of your love when they don’t expect it, is one of the most beautiful things you can do for each other.
Change your perspective: My final piece of advice is to change your perspective as to what ‘long distance’ really means. Instead of dwelling on how painful it is to not be together, and how extra lonely it feels when they leave you after a short visit, try to view your long distance relationship as a positive thing. The fact that you love and are loved enough to go through being long distance is a really beautiful thing. If you are only long distance whilst you are at university, just remember that 3-5 years of long distance is nothing compared to the rest of your life living with and being with your partner. Instead of focusing on the pain of the now, focus on the excitement that it is only temporary. Every relationship has stages, and right now you are experiencing the long distance stage of your relationship. This is the stage that will probably test you as a couple the most, yet there is no reason for it to not be successful. Appreciate the independence you are both gaining, support each other’s adventures, and always remind each other of your love.
Featured image: by Oziel Gomez on Unsplash