One of the most common problems that a couple faces when being in a long distance relationship is how to cope with it, to make it work. So, what to do to stay connected through the distance?
Luckily (or not), our relationship was born as a long distance one. So we did not have that many problems, because our friendship had been through distance for over two years before he confessed to me. However, we have always put a lot of effort to make things work, and it does take effort, but it is also more than worth it.
1. Decide with your partner if you both want to have or continue into an LDR.
I realize this is not a tip on how to cope with your relationship since you are deciding if to get into one or not. I do however believe it is very important for both people to be on the same page with this, if either of you do not feel committed to go through this, you should talk it out.
Even though you love the person you should not jump into this if you are not willing to put an effort.
2. Talk regularly through messages or calls.
Even if you are only sharing your day with your significant other, talk regularly with them, because this way you are including them in your day. If your schedules are rather packed up set up an hour in which to have a video call, and throughout the day spend some minutes writing to them, even if it is just “Good morning my love!” (makes me smile all morning personally).
3. Communicate your feelings.
This is crucial in any relationship regardless of distance or lack of it. When I am down or cranky I know now that it is indeed easier to shut down and not tell Iliyan what really is bothering me, but in the long run it would do both of us good if I simply told him why I am sad, upset or angry, that way avoiding any unnecessary tensions. Nobody is a mind reader.
4. Have “dates”.
It will obviously not be the kind of normal date you usually see, however, planning to do something together even through the internet can be as fun (or even more) as a regular date. Iliyan and I set aside some hours in the evenings, so we can watch a movie or a series and eat dinner together while on a video call. It can be that or any other thing that you might enjoy doing with them: playing a video game, reading a book aloud for both, watching videos on YouTube, cooking at the same time, etc.
5. Plan a trip beforehand to look forward to.
Of course not everybody can afford to see each other too often, but try as much as you can to plan a trip in which you or your beloved comes so you can be together for some days. This gives you hope and strength so you don’t crumble everyday by how much you miss them, since you know that in a month or three you will be able to see them.
6. Little presents and surprises.
Buying or making something on your own to then surprise your significant other is also a great way to stay connected, it makes you and the other person happy.
I remember very fondly one day when I found a letter with my name on it that came from Bulgaria (which of course was from Iliyan), turns out he had written down by hand my favorite bedtime story he invented for me one night, and sent it to me so it would cheer me up after my worst day at university (came one day later but still made me very happy). Iliyan plays many video games and one day he mentioned a game he really wanted, so I went and bought it and gave it to him as a surprise present. To be honest, any little special gesture you do for them will be appreciated.
7. Talk about the future.
Some people may neglect talking about their future plans or dreams with their partner, but as your relationship continues there will be a point in which this will become crucial, because nobody wants to be endlessly in a long distance relationship, and in that point probably you don’t want to be faced with the fact that you want to stay in Spain, and they want to go work in Hong Kong. Share your dreams and goals, if they are very different you can find a solution on how to put them together, and concentrate your energies on that plan. Or, you might discover your plans are too different and maybe decide the best is to part ways. That is why, it is important to talk these things extensively to also be able to find a way to be together physically in the future, and stop being in a distance relationship.
8. When problems arise, a middle ground has to be found.
Everybody is a bit stubborn, some more than others, I am particularly talking about habits, ways of doing things, morals, etc. The problem is that when you are in a relationship this can arise arguments, or if not resolved, fights. Some things you may never agree on, so the best is to let it be instead of building unnecessary tension by arguing over it, or try both to let go of something. Let’s say you want to talk everyday five times a day, but they prefer to talk only twice a day, you may compromise and talk three times a day or twice but longer conversations.
9. Work around the distance.
Most common problem that people have when in a long distance relationship is the physical part of it. Kissing, hugging, intimacy and anything remotely close to you two having to be near each other is impossible. Many times we find ourselves wanting a simple hug from our beloved, but they are miles away so we have to find a solution to it. Iliyan and I have our own ways to deal with these things, it will not be the same thing, but it will help. I will write down some of the things we do that help us in the hope that it will give a starting point to anybody who is a bit lost and misses their significant other’s presence.
- We always kiss many times the microphone when having a call.
- When either of us is very down and wanting a hug we sing to the one feeling sad, it makes us feel calm, protected and as if the voice is cradling us.
- We share messages and photos of sexual connotation whenever we feel horny.
10. Give them your full attention.
When having any type of communication (calls, messages, video calls…) give them all your attention. Sometimes it is okey to not be fully listening to what they are saying, because maybe you are busy at the moment, but there must be times in which you give your partner your whole attention, that makes them feel appreciated and loved.
On a last note, I must say that relationships of any kind are constant work, whether big or small, there are always little bumps along it, the way you handle them makes the difference. This is a work in two, all these tips have to be done by both of you, relationships are built by two and maintained by two. Everyday, Iliyan and I are working to grow as a couple and also as individuals. As long as both of you are trying your best and putting your share of effort, being in a distance relationship will not be such an obstacle as most people think it is.