Guys and gals, this is going to be a long one. So, grab some coffee or tea and snuggle up. Here goes my 10 tips for long distance relationships.
Going into any relationship can be hard, and starting off, you want to spend every waking moment with that person. You want to get to know everything about them: what makes that person tick, what their dreams are, who they really are behind the scenes, and ultimately, if that person is the one for you.
All of these questions slowly get answered, and if you’re lucky, you start to love that person. Although, certain factors can make any relationship challenging. The one factor that I had to deal with for almost 5 years was long distance.
Not super long distance, like another country, but she was about 3 hours away. Given that I was a broke college student, and she did not work, this made things challenging. I worked in a steak house and made decent money, but I only worked a few nights a week. I remember occasionally driving up to see her with just enough money for gas and dinner with a hope she would not want to go shopping at some point.
Through the good and the bad times, the prosperous and the poor, and the happy and the sad times, here are my top 10 Tips For Long Distance Relationships and to show your partner how much you genuinely care.
Start Off Strong
My first tip to those of you who are venturing down the path of long distance love is to start off strong. This might seem simple and intuitive, but there are some tricks to make a somewhat arduous situation go smoothly. With my long distance relationship, by our second date, it was clear there was a clear connection between us. We had only been talking for a few weeks and already sparks were flying. We even had cute nicknames for each other, we were snails.
In the beginning, I made sure to do a few things that helped establish a good basis. The first thing I did was to bring her a gift that meant a lot to me and that would mean a lot to her! This gift happened to be my favorite hoodie, which I actually sprayed with cologne! She actually slept with it every night for months and it helped with the distance in the beginning.
Another thing I did was show her who I truly was. I didn’t hold back! I let her know my goals and expectations for the relationship, and she did the same. This established some clear boundaries and expectations. The more you respect each other’s true desires and expectations, the stronger you will be as a couple.
Compliments Compliments Compliments
A great way to show your significant other you care is to constantly look for ways to build that person up.
Throughout the relationship, I always tried to tell her and show her how beautiful, smart, and talented she was. It’s not enough to do it once and expect that person to remember. You need to actively be searching for ways to inspire that person for greatness. Likewise, it’s equally important for your partner to do so as well.
Remember, you are their world. Slowly, every word you say to that person will help shape who they become and what they reflect. If you mistreat them, or forget to build them up, ultimately you will be doing that to yourself.
Because you are long distance, your relationship depends heavily on trust and understanding. These virtues are best built through vulnerability, through servitude, honesty, and communication.
If you are not willing to be open and vulnerable with your person, and I mean completely, then it will never work. Long distance is a double edge sword. You have to constantly try, instead of just getting used to seeing that person everyday and spacing out over time. In long distance, you have to seek that person’s trust and confidence. You need to confide your fears, your doubts, and your wants to them. If you can do this, and that person can support you properly, and not abuse this vulnerable side of you, then you will have a beautiful connection with lasting love.
Phone Calls and Facetime
This is something a lot of people surprisingly struggle with. You can not be in a successful long distance relationship if you do not call the other person every day!
At one point, I checked how much time I spent on the phone during my long distance relationship. On average we daily spent almost an hour and a half talking! This was usually over Facetime at night. Sometimes, I would be working on my computer, so I would prop the phone up during Facetime to see her while she would do the same and watch Netflix. Honestly, some nights just seeing her every couple of minutes was a great feeling in-and-of itself. You do not always have to talk or entertain each other. Sometimes just the presence is enough.
Other nights we would spend time trying to have a deep conversations, figuring out a problem we were having, or planning a trip. Sometimes we would even just leave Facetime on all night just to feel like that person was close. It might sound silly, but even just hearing that other person’s breath, or even hearing them fall asleep at nigh,t can be all it takes to feel loved and connected through the hard times.
In our years of dating, there were times when things seemed to get a little… heated. Possibly, either someone had said something wrong or there was simply just stress that turned into conflict because … that’s life. These things are normal, and will happen in every relationship.
One of the things I loved to do was surprise her. We had gotten into disagreements, and several times I was right and several times she might have been. Regardless, each of us realized that the fighting was pointless in the grand scheme of things, and one of us would usually bend. In that, one of us would drop everything we had going on, and drive to the other person. Luckily, we never both did it and missed each other!
Usually when we did this, we would take the other person out to dinner, bring a small gift, or treat the other person with the utmost respect. The point was to show love even when the other person might not deserve it, when it means the most. True love is sacrificial. Sacrifice your pride, your fears, and your time, and you will find what true love is. Take that person on a surprise date when they least expect it, even in the heat of the battle.
My friends, do not ever underestimate the power of a hug. I could write a book about this, but there is never, nor will there be ever, anything as great as a hug from the one person you love more than anything in the world itself, especially after being apart for so long.
By far my fondest, and most well recapped memories, are hugs. I mean honestly, I am not joking when I say it is the best thing in the world; to see that person pulling up the driveway after weeks apart, after fights, after struggles, after fear sets in, and run up and hugging that person with your heart on your sleeve and tears in your eyes.
A hug can cure the deepest of wounds. A hug can mend a broken heart.
A hug can mean the world when it comes from the one that is your world.
Set Goals As A Couple
This is something we were especially bad at. We would usually set a goal to read every night or pray every night together. After a week or so, it seems we would get lazy and forget.
Personally, it seemed as though that responsibility would always fall on one person to make this happen. After awhile, that person would basically give up because they did not see the same effort from their counter part. Couple goals only work if both people work towards them. You can’t be half in a long-distance relationship. You can’t just say, “I don’t want to try.” You can not get lazy and expect things to change.
Laziness the the best way to kill a beautiful and flourishing relationship. One person can not hold up two people, no matter how strong they are. Eventually, the walls will come down.
So, make goals and stick to them! Keep each other accountable and push each other. That is what you are for! You are accountability partners as well as lovers.
Become Best Friends
One thing in my long distance relationship we constantly worked towards was becoming each other’s best friend.
Starting off, this was difficult for me since I already had plenty of good friends. I had an extremely strong support system of tight knit groups of people that loved and supported me. Unfortunately, she took that as more of a challenge than a benefit. She saw my friends as competition instead of the blessings that they are.
She might not have had the best approach, but overtime, we grew to become absolute best friends. This is largely the reason we lasted so long, I believe. Once you reach this point, you should wake up and go to sleep thinking about that person.
If something exciting happens in your life, they should be the first person you tell. If something horrible happens, they should be right by your side, no questions asked. I have to say, she was better at this than me,on average. This was partly due to the situations we were in, but there were times I was not and could not be there for her when I should have been. That is why I want you to read this very carefully, and make this second nature: nothing is as important in life as your partner. Don’t repeat my mistakes.
Do Not Bring Other People Into Your Relationship
This should be an obvious one, but you would be surprised.
For any long-distance relationship to survive and thrive, you can’t be constantly seeking attention from other people. Specifically, you can’t be dragging other people into your relationship or using them as an emotional outlet.
For instance, if you are mad at your partner, or sad because they forgot something important, do not call another man or woman to complain to. Now, I understand there is a purpose of friends and keeping social life balanced, but if you are calling someone of the opposite sex for emotional support constantly, you are depriving your relationship of that emotional growth and connection.
Again, never do this. Plus, once your partner figures out you are doing this, you will genuinely hurt them. Sometimes this can cause permanent damage to your relationship and cause trust issues to arise that will develop into more problems down the road. Therefore, keep the personal stuff private. People do not need to know your private business.
In addition to this, if you are constantly going to someone complaining about your significant other, then that person will develop a skewed image of them and start to give you bad advice. Please do not do this. Keep your relationship private, and deal with your problems with that person.
Now, if there is verbal abuse, serious conflict, or physical harm, then obviously seek the help you need. Otherwise, try to resolve all conflicts without a third party intervention to prevent additional problems.
This is probably one of the most important sections, but ironically it is at the end.
I can not stress this fact enough: be patient, be patient, be patient.
When you are in a long-distance relationship, emotions are heightened and you will not know how to feel sometimes, what to say, or how to act. Seriously, there were so many times we would explode in emotions because one of us had to leave to go home in an hour. Its almost as if your body knows that person is about to leave and you have so many unspoken thoughts, feelings, and desires that you just explode!
The first year or two of our long-distance relationship was hard on her. We would finally see each other after weeks of separation and stress from school, or just life, only to be faced with something even more daunting, emotions. Usually, she would get mad and cry the first night from all the things I said wrong the past few weeks or the things I forgot. I would have to stay extremely patient, because after that expression of emotions, she would be fine. It was just too much for her sometimes.
She had a habit of bottling everything up until we were together in person and then letting it all out like fireworks.
I suggest not doing this for those reading this, but ultimately, it worked for her. So, I had to make it work for me. At the end of the day guys and gals, you have to stay patient. You are two humans that are neither perfect, nor are you supposed to be. Love through the imperfections, and be patient.
You will hurt each other, and you will have to forgive.
You will learn more about that person than you ever expected to.
You will cuddle so hard that you want to become one person, especially when that person is about to leave you in 15 minutes after they already stayed 2 hours longer, and they are gonna be late for work and have to explain it to their boss for the 100328432084 time.
You will have days when you just want to drop everything and drive to that person and hug them to death.
You will have days when the earth is falling apart because your mad as hell and you can’t see that person to fix it.
You will have nights when just sitting on the phone with that person will seem like the world stopped.
In the end, remember you are two humans. Two beautiful people capable of amazing things in this world. Treat each other with respect always. Love unconditionally, and always always thank God for each passing day.