So you have a significant other, and you find out one of you has to move — for a job, grad school, what have you. Whatever the case, you now must decide whether or not to stay together in the face of an unexpected physical distance coming between you. Well, as one-half of a long distance relationships that’s survived two years of us living hundreds of miles apart, I am here to be your cheerleader. Yes, you can! You can live in separate cities and be in love and it can work! It’s a scary prospect, but if you really love each other, trust each other and are willing to put some work into this, totally worth trying. Here’s a handy starter’s guide to long-distance loving.
When I tell people I’m just getting to know that my significant other (S.O.) lives in another city, about 30 to 40 percent of them react by furrowing their brows and recoiling in badly hidden bafflement. I guess they’re thinking, loser, she can’t find a man where she lives now. Or, why bother with all that unnecessary nonsense when she can find someone here? They can’t possibly understand why I would go through the extra effort it takes to be with someone who lives elsewhere. Well, you know what? Fuck them. Fuck those people. They are HATERS. Maybe they they have S.O.s and wish they had the bed to themselves a few nights a week, like me. Maybe they’re single and don’t know what love is, like me, and that it climbs mountains and rides buses for hours and hours and hours on end (like me, again). Well, what I learned is: FUCK. THOSE PEOPLE. Don’t talk to them. Don’t justify your choice. Just smile smugly and say, “We love each other. I’m so happy.” Let them think what they will, but don’t let that kind of shit cloud your positive thinking because if you’re going to get through this, you will need a lot of it!
This is one of the most important parts of this: if one of you moves somewhere forever and there’s no end in sight to your time apart, it’s probably not going to work because you have nothing to work toward. So decide if there can be an end to the distance in what feels like a reasonable amount of time for both of you (bearing in mind that yes, much of the time apart will feel like eternity anyway).
This is so, so, so important. I know a woman whose boyfriend moved away for school after they’d been dating for under a year and she didn’t know if they were staying together. Years later, they did and are living happily ever after, but oh God I can’t even imagine the torture she went through in his first few weeks away before they had The Talk. So goodness please, have that conversation. As soon as my S.O. started applying for grad school we started talking about it since (jerk — I mean, LOVE YOU, HONEY) his top choices were not in the same city as me. This didn’t prevent me from freaking out entirely about the whole ordeal, but communicating helps.
This is also incredibly crucial to LDR success. Many LDR survivors I talked to suggest trying to talk on the phone every day. Even if it’s just for two minutes so you can each say, “Good night my peaches [or whatever gross things you you call each other], I love you and miss you terribly.” Just make it part of your routine. Once again, TALK ABOUT THIS BEFORE THE MOVE. The more you can plan it all out the better it will all be.
5. HAVE A LIFE.
Paris Hilton… having a life.
Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT sit at home while your S.O. is out getting drunk and partying. (Which is something you have to be okay with — it’s called trust and is so obviously necessary I didn’t even make it its own numbered item.) See this time as an opportunity to do whatever you want before you two are back in the same city or living in the same place together. If you don’t have friends, make friends. Spend a lot of time with them, work on your career, adopt a kitten, take up karate. If things get rocky (which they inevitably will on multiple occasions) you’ll want to remember that your S.O. is NOT your only source of happiness. You can create a rich, fulfilling life for yourself with lots of things that will be there for you in it doesn’t work out.
Video chat. Gchat. Skype. More than one LDR survivor suggesting video chatting without talking. Like, keep your windows of each other doing work (or watching TV or reading a book) open, and you don’t have to talk but it will be like hanging out with each other!
At the beginning of every month, sit down and plan the weekends you will see each other. Every other weekend is a good amount of time together, and if you alternate you won’t have to travel a gross amount, really. But make sure this is a fair schedule and financially feasible for both of you. If one person feels they’re doing an unfair amount of the traveling, they will resent the other person, and if there’s one thing a long distance relationship doesn’t need it’s resentment and its cousin, passive aggressiveness.
An LDR survivor told me she and her boyfriend would always fight the night before they saw each other, every other Thursday, which she took to mean that they really couldn’t last longer than two weeks without seeing each other. And in time she learned that when they ran out of things to talk about, it was time to get off the phone because they would just end up fighting. First, get comfortable with the fact that you can have a healthy relationship while fighting and being mad at each other. That’s normal — if you didn’t ever fight you’d be super creepy people. But it’s draining so if you can avoid it by just hanging up the phone before it happens, do.
You don’t have to end up lying face down on the bathroom floor in a puddle of your own snot, Elizabeth Gilbert-style. Have some self-control, and if you can stop yourself from freaking out about ZOMG HE’S CHEATING I HAVE TO END THIS WTF WAS I THINKING and crying and flailing and being a huge MESS, then do. If it’s a ghost freak out — meaning, stemming from something your brain made up rather than an actual thing that happened — it’s really not worth deepening your frown lines over.
THIS IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LDRS! All those couples who live together and don’t want to have sex with each other and are totally sick of each other’s asses? Not you!
Such as: “I’m so sorry you had a 10-hour layover in that dirty airport” flowers. Or: “I should have never said/done that dumb thing” teddy bear. Also recommended: “This song reminds me of you” MP3/YouTube link (that one’s done via email! So easy!).
When this happens it is the best. Just don’t scare their pants off them when you do it. Make a sign saying “W<3LCOME HOME CUPCAKE!! [or whatever gross things you call each other]” in highlighter and tape it to the door. Or leave a trail of glitter behind you. Do something to hint that a surprise is in store if you’re letting yourself into your S.O.’s place.
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As a former LDR, thank goodness for skype and email! How often you want to communicate is different for everybody. My fiancee and I skyped five days a week before our “end” date.
End dates are important unless your SO is deployed, for which that can’t be helped (and so much power and strength to you). Both persons have to be in it, for an LDR to survive but it is so worth it in the end!
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Maybe #9 happens because Shift (and other ‘feminist’ sources) keep shoving articles down our throats about how our husbands are cheating on us—let alone with or without distance. That said, my husband and I had to do the long distance thing for awhile before I moved in with him. We did pretty much everything on the list and clearly it worked because we’re still together. :-P Nota Bene: a lot of these can be helpful if you have a partner who travels for work. My husband was in another country on his birthday, so I called the hotel and had them put a cupcake in his room and such. On our anniversary, I had a build-a-bear with an anniversary sash sent to his hotel room. All of these can be applicable, especially if they’re away for work for a long period of time.
As something currently doing this, all these things listed are sound advice. Especially #2. It has been immensely helpful in knowing that in x amount of time, we’ll be together
The only thing I’d had is travel as much as financially feasible. My s.o. and I only have seen each other every few months or so, because we’re both still in school. If you or your s.o. is traveling and it’s causing a major dent in the finances, that can be a fight-starter.
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I like this. I met my lady online, not a dating site, and I wasn’t looking for a date. It was coke studios, coke music. (2007) Granted she was 2 years younger than me. And we started out as friends. Great friends. I could type the whole story but I’d get so many TL;DR’s. So to be short and sweet we had our separate lives, but things started to get weird and tense between us. We communicated through msn messenger. I ran out on her late 2007 to late 2008 most of it was my fault. I was a drifter. The rest wasn’t because a drunk driver hit me on my motor cycle and I was in intensive care for months. I never understood why when I decided to sign back on she was so upset with me. But I was upset with her too. I told her I liked her before all that nonsense happened and she shrugged it off. I was 18 at the time (2008). When I came back she just casually revealed in our conversation she had a boyfriend. I got more upset. I was mostly pissed at myself for caring and disappearing for 6 months(2009). I got girls, tons of girls I was a pig. And I cared about this one I never even met. Eventually come new years eve (day before my birthday) I told her I was going to a party so we talked for a while as I was getting ready. She mentioned how she never had someone for a new years kiss early in the conversation. (I was oblivious that this meant she no longer had a boyfriend.) But I was also a guy who never gave up on something he wanted. Before I had to go I told her. If I could, I’d give her a new years kiss. And quickly signed off. 2010 January 2nd I signed on to her offline message saying “you can’t just say something like that and sign off.” I just realised this is still TL;DR so let me sum this up. She broke up with her boyfriend because she was in love with me. I was oblivious to everything until things became really tense between us and I was going through bullshit with a crazy ex that wouldn’t leave me alone. She called me (She was in Canada, I was in America) and told me as nervous as she sounded. The drama that went on that night. I was close to losing my mind because of bullshit. She told me she loved me, and I told her I loved her as well. With all the long distance drama and bullshit we’ve been through since January 30th of 2010. She now lives with me in Toronto. I moved to Canada in 2011 for her and for me. And she moved in just early this year 2012. And in about 2 or 3 years, I plan on proposing to her. So the TRUE TL;DR of this is. If you really love the person you’re in a long distance relationship with. It’s really no different from one that isn’t except. It’s a lot harder and it’s a lot more to fight for. But so long as you have that passion you should be damned if you ever give up, until you’re finally together with the one you love. Everything on this list is true.
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