A Quick Guide to Long-Distance Relationships (LDR)
When you love someone, being apart from them is the worst feeling ever, especially if you only get to come together once a month or once every three to six months. It's obviously harder to catch up with each other and make time for each other, and in my case, having someone living two hours ahead from me adds to that difficulty (might not be a lot of time, but you get the point).
Since people have asked me time and time again how we've managed to be together all these years, and how we're still very much in-love, I've put together a little guide to help people who are new to LDRs or those who will be experiencing an LDR in the future. These are from experiences, and have been proven to work in our situation. Some might work for you, and some might not. Ready?
1. Establish trust before going long-distance.
One of the ultimate causes for failing relationships (LDR or not) is the lack of trust between the couple. Before you go into a long-distance relationship, you two have to be able to trust each other to stay loyal - and that could be incredibly hard. The less we see of a person, the more thoughts we have of him/her being unfaithful or getting bored and looking elsewhere for comfort. When you start getting thoughts like these, STOP.
Here's a tip: when your mind starts playing with you, go back to past memories you had when you were together. Go back to that moment he assured you of his loyalty. Make sure it's as vivid as you can make it, and just breathe. Want an easier solution? TRUST HIM. A fight can be triggered just by a single text or message, without any solid evidence to back it up. Don't let your imagination and lack of faith in him ruin your relationship.
2. Give him/her space.
You might think that with all the miles between the two of you, he'd have all the space he needed, but that's not the case at all. Yes, spatially, you are countries apart (in my case, at least), but in a relationship where one is clingy and one is a little more laid-back, the latter might feel suffocated.
Giving your partner "space" doesn't mean going for weeks with just a single text/message. That's preposterous. I used to think that being thoughtful meant always chatting with him at least twice a day and asking him how his day has been, but the more we matured, the more I realized multiple texts each day might not be the best way to make him feel I'm looking out for him.
Here's a tip: Instead of sending a lot of random texts each day, why not greet your partner in the morning before work and send a message before you go to bed at night? You don't have to be all strict about it of course (we still text random times when we know the other person is stressed, bored, or doing something they need moral support in), but we have to consider the fact that a message intended to make them feel special might have been sent at the worst time.
3. Make time.
Never think for a second that because both of you are busy, you'll no longer have the means to let them know you're thinking about them throughout the day. What's so hard about sending a short message like, "Hey babe, busy atm but wanna let u know you got this" (his actual message to me by the way, haha)? Got your hands full? USE SIRI and make her text for you.
Giving time for each other should matter more because time is all you have going for you when you're in a long-distance relationship. You can't be together physically, but you can spend time together either via Skype, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts - just any way. And you'll need time to make it work.
Ever heard a couple fighting because "you don't have the time for me anymore" or "your priorities have changed"? This can totally be avoided. I've been with my guy for 11 years, and we've never had this fight. We're similar people who need our space, enjoy silent moments alone or with each other, and devote time to regularly talk. Yes we've argued, but never for this reason. In an LDR, time is ten times more valuable.
4. Send random surprises their way.
For those whose love language is more on material things, sending your significant other unexpected gifts you know they'll love will be a great way to let them know you care. If you're in the same country but in different states/towns, this will prove to be quite easier. In our case, we're online shopping buddies, which means most of our shopping is done online.
I know, we're not all rich and can barely afford to pay off student loans or pay monthly bills, but your gifts won't have to be super expensive. Lance has gifted me several expensive jewelry (hello, Tiffany) because he can afford it, but I don't have that kind of bank account. Instead, I send him statement pieces like an elegant tie from a favorite store he likes, or get him a health box subscription 'cause he's a total sucker for those things. Here's a tip: buy from his/her country's store site as there's probably going to be free shipping within the territory.
Also, don't feel bad if you can't match something expensive with an equally wallet-tearing item. It's often the thought that matters (cliché, yes), and when you're in-love with someone, you'll be willing to accept anything they give you.
5. Don't give in to social pressure.
You might be seeing a lot of posts on social media these days about #couplegoals, followed by people in the comment section tagging their partners and saying, "this could be us" or "babe, why don't you do this for me". The thing is, every relationship is different (which is why in the beginning of this article I mentioned some may work and some might not), and with long-distance relationships, you can't afford to give in to society's idea of the perfect relationship.
This generation is waking up to a world full of #goals, and it makes people think that if you're not within that definition of said "goals", you're a loser. This is dangerous thinking, because we tend to overlook what's real and try to apply what society says should be. I often see posts about guys sending flowers a few times a week, or boyfriends taking their girls to trips to the Bahamas or to Paris, and even guys who spend so much on creating the perfect birthday party for their girlfriends (and vice-versa). While these are all great expressions of love, you shouldn't expect a 30-karat ring on your monthsary.
Appreciate and feel happy for couples who are able to do said goals, but don't go forcing your man to do the same thing. Chances are, he wants to give you these experiences, but can't at the moment. Don't be a stuck-up b*tch and prattle on to your friends about your man's "incompetence" and how you need a new sugar daddy. (Also applies to guys, okay?)
Long-distance relationships are always under attack, much like normal relationships are. They sometimes get into crazier fights and go weeks on end without talking to each other. They sometimes get the feeling that the other is cheating on them, and sends a message that infuriates the other. What's incredibly difficult is that you can't talk about an issue face to face, and no matter how great your internet connection is, there's a tone in his or her voice that will make you think twice about what was said.
Lance and I used to see each other once a month, but now that he's taking his Masteral on Neurology, we're seeing each other less often. His last visit was July 2017, and we're looking forward to coming together again either this November or December. It's hard, because there are many times I need him to be physically present, and he's told me he would've loved to share a cocktail or two with me during the weekend many times before. There's not an experience I've had where I wouldn't have wanted him there too.
Having an LDR isn't all bad though, as it did a lot of good things for us as a couple and as individuals. We both don't like to hover around the other, and we both prioritize our families and career first. We're firm believers that we need to both be successful to be able to help more people around us, and we both hate feeling inadequate in any form. Thus, we tend to want to "out-please" the other, and that goes for some very funny stories. (I guess his Australian genes gave him a natural sense of humor?)
Are you in a long-distance relationship right now, or going to be in one in the future (maybe because of studies, etc.)? Don't worry, you'll get through it. I hope you picked up a thing or two from this article. Like I said in the beginning, these are tips and shouldn't be followed religiously. If all points work for you, then hey, congratulations. Just please don't come back after a few months and tell me off 'cause they didn't apply to yours.
Any other LDR-related topics you want to read about? Let me know in the comments, and if I have enough know-how about it, I'll do an article on it. Deal? Deal.