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    Mar 29, 2020

    12 Tips For Anyone In A Long Distance Relationship

    I've basically been mastering the social-distancing-but-make-it-romantic for years now — here's my advice.

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    Greetings fellow at-homers! We've might have met before, but just in case, I'm Elena and I'm here to talk about long-distance relationships — which might not have been your circumstances a few weeks ago but as we all practice social distancing, might have become your new normal (even if your partner is only a few blocks away).

    Elena Garcia/BuzzFeed

    I've been with my husband for 15 years now, the last three of which have been spent splitting our time between New York and San Francisco as our job requirements pulled us to different ends of the country.

    Elena Garcia/BuzzFeed

    Let's be clear, this is solely based on our experience, I am in no way a relationship expert — not in my own relationship and especially not for anyone else. I'm sure a lot of you have questions (or opinions) on how we could possibly make living across the country work or why we would do this to ourselves. If only it was that simple. Nevertheless, we've got a system down now thanks to research, experience, couples therapy, and just straight-up failures.

    Here are some of the things that have helped, lessons we've learned, and recommendations we'd give:

    1. Set some ground rules to manage your expectations.

    ABC

    As you embark on this distance, talk to each other about what you expect from them and listen to what they need from you. For us, it was about respecting time differences, sleeping schedules (we're big on sleeping), not spending any more than three months apart, going on three vacations a year (together), and making sure we checked in/connected on a daily basis. This doesn't mean long, 12-hour conversations (although sometimes that's what it is). Sometimes it just means quick texts wishing a good morning and good night. Whatever is decided, it has to work for both of you.

    2. Acknowledge, understand, and respect the reason why you’re apart — for those out there that are experiencing this distance because of the current state of the pandemic, don't forget that this is an important sacrifice you need to be making.

    Freeform

    This is a big one! One, that I can honestly say, we've struggled with. "Can your job really be important enough to keep us apart?" I think I've asked that question 300 times over the course of the last hour. To myself and to him. Yet, neither of us is willing to sacrifice our work. We're dedicated to our careers and businesses — and at this point in our lives, as we build a foundation for our future, this is okay and important!

    Obviously, for those of you experiencing this new distance because of the current state of the world, know that what you're doing is SO important. You're saving lives and helping in ending this pandemic. And if you're still unsure, just buckle down and read Love in the Time Of Cholera as a reminder that you guys can survive this.

    Whatever is keeping you apart, acknowledge it as an important part of your individual and combined lives. Support each other.

    3. Find the balance of how much you need to stay in contact. For us it was trying to avoid excessive communication.

    Adult Swim

    You want to make sure and communicate regularly and creatively ::wink, wink::. But there is no minimum for how much you need to stay in contact. Don't feel the need to talk nonstop. That's gonna get really old, really fast. What's worked the best for us is to update each other on life and all that we're going through but we don't need to walk each other through our shower routines every day. It's important to connect but sometimes all it needs to be is an emoji text.

    You can also make chatting a little more fun by sending pictures, audio clips, videos — get creative in how you communicate with one another while you're apart. Staring at each other's faces or sitting in silence while you do the dishes, although it can be a necessity on some days, can become burdensome and more of a chore.

    4. FACETIME!! I think this is probably the most obvious but it's an important tool for making so many other aspects of long-distance relationships work.

    Fox

    There are other services to help you create that one-on-one time, Snap Camera is probably one of our current favorites. It allows you to use all the SnapChat filters during your Facetime calls on your computer. It's a lot of fun and can be super silly — which has for sure helped us.

    5. Create moments that'll give you something to look forward to.

    NBC

    Sometimes that's just a call where you tell them all the chisme from work, other times it's a trip where you'll meet halfway. However big or small, creating these moments are an important part of any relationship — whether you're together or apart.

    6. Subscribe to a food delivery program, like Blue Apron, that'll let you cook together.

    ABC

    Making meals together and going out to eat is one of our favorite things to do when we're together, so we've taken it upon ourselves to continue this while we're apart. Our favorite service is Blue Apron, but there are quite a few out there that might be better for you.

    Every week we get a box of matching ingredients and while we sit on Facetime we make dinner. Talking, laughing, burning stuff — it's great! It's been so great for us, we've even started ordering boxes while we're together IRL.

    7. On that note, do things together! Take a class, exercise, watch a movie...there are so many things you can do together even while you're apart thanks to the powers of the internet.

    NBC Productions

    Services like Obe Fitness, Udemy, and Gaze offer opportunities to do activities together online even when you're apart.

    We love watching TV and movies together, it's probably what we do the most when we're together and have started doing more frequently while we're apart.

    8. Find ways to be intimate, even when you're apart — send your scent/flowers/cocktails, talk dirty, write hand-written notes...whatever works for the both of you!

    Paramount

    Intimacy can manifest itself in many ways and that's really to be decided between the two of you. Whatever works, figure it out and do it. I have my husband's hoodie and a bottle of his cologne — and sometimes wearing it or smelling it helps me feel like he's right here with me.

    I try writing him little cards every few weeks, a tiny gesture so he knows I'm thinking of him.

    We're also pretty big on the whole surprise flower arrival or afternoon cocktail. There are so many local and national delivery services you can use. They're small ways to show we're on each other's minds.

    9. Talk to a couples therapist — look, whether you're together or apart, talking to a third party about the struggles you're finding difficult to overcome is incredibly helpful.

    Deedle-Dee Productions

    There are so many services nowadays where you can access therapy and counseling services online. Amwell is a great place to start to find a therapist who works for both of you.

    This can be a huge cost commitment but therapy is becoming more and more affordable. Betterhelp can connect you with a therapist in your price point or that fits in your network.

    10. Play games...no, not those kinds of games.

    Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

    I mean literal games. We order puzzles, play online board games, we've even started to master the art of chess (and by master I mean, get completely confused for hours and hours). But it's all fun...and games, literally.

    The idea is that we're doing the same things we'd do IRL but we're doing them virtually. The same activities that bring us together when we're actually together, help bring some normalcy to our long distance.

    11. Try to never spend more than three months apart — or find what time cutoff works for the two of you and commit to seeing each other, IRL, before then.

    Netflix

    Three months was really the time frame that worked for us — for now. It wasn't always like that. When we first started down this adventure it was every month. The transition of always being together, to not, was a hard one. A really hard one. So we threw some money at it — a luxury we sacrificed other things for and that I'm fully aware isn't a reality for many — and flew to see each other every month.

    Depending on our work schedules these trips varied from a long weekend to a couple of weeks. Once, during a 4th of July visit, we were robbed and they stole every piece of ID I had, which was obviously chaos for a lot of reasons but the silver lining was that we got to stay together a little longer! I was lucky that my work was so flexible and let me work from home longer than expected. But again, this is a luxury I am very aware not everyone has. My husband also suffers from some pretty severe anxiety when it comes to traveling alone, which also means the burden of flying falls on me much of the time. But we've worked on creating a balance with ways that work for us and stop any potential resentment. This includes everything from him paying for some of my flights, to letting me pick the movies or shows we watch together.

    You might want to also consider getting a credit card that gives you airline miles, it can definitely help mitigate some of the expenses that come with a long-distance relationship.

    12. Be 100% honest with one another — if you're really struggling with the distance, talk it out. And if it's your partner who is struggling — be supportive, reassure them, and just take the time to listen.

    NBC

    I'll be honest, I've probably had the majority of the meltdowns in regards to the distance. Besides missing him, sometimes I just need help with the things he'd normally take the lead on (opening a freakin' jar). You'd be surprised how many times I started sobbing at the sight of a happy couple walking to get coffee on a Saturday morning. My point is, it's hard.

    So what that's meant is a lot of conversations where my partner just sits and makes me feel better. Which took time for both of us to learn. At some points, impatience from both of us led to arguments, which didn't help the situation at the moment. It did, however, lead to us figuring out what we needed and didn't need from each other. We would have never gotten there if we weren't honest and upfront about our needs. And to be frank, it was those moments of dishonesty that lead to resentments. Resenting your partner during this kind of distance will prove to be the most reckless thing and the hardest thing to overcome. So do everything you can to nip it in bud, talk it out, and overcome it as quickly, thoroughly, and honestly as possible.

    Well, that's it! Hopefully, these tips can help you find some normalcy in having to be separated from your loved ones. Stay safe guys!

    ABC

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