Love will travel as far as you let it. It has no limits – Dee King.
I think that I am well-versed enough in the long distance game that I can shed the light on what works well, and what really doesn’t help you and your partner. I had a long distance relationship that, as much as we wished it could work at the time, really didn’t work at all. I swore I’d never do long distance after that ended – it was too much hard work, too many tears and not enough good times, for the both of us. But, seven months later I ended up doing the exact thing that I said I wouldn’t do. I took a chance and it was the best thing I could have ever done.
Long distance takes work. If you don’t put the effort in, there is no point. It is all well and good me giving tips on how to make it that little bit easier, but ultimately, if you don’t want it enough, it will never work. Long distance relationships are like any other relationship, except you don’t get to see the guy or girl you want to spend every second with as much as you’d like to. That just means that when you have that solid time together, it is extra special and in this time, you create the best memories imaginable.
Just last weekend, Warren came and met me after work on Saturday evening. I had zero clue. I’d even spoke to him on the phone that day, but didn’t think anything of the white lie he slipped out about getting back from Stratford. Instead, he was on his way to see me. That shock – believe me, it was shock – was insane. I was utterly speechless. I very nearly cried, and I kept on checking that he was standing right next to me. That moment made the two weeks beforehand completely bearable, and the next two weeks (six days now!) so much easier because I can remember every tiny detail about him. He only stayed for 17 hours as I was in work the next day, and that is when you know you have a keeper. Three hours minimum each way for 17 hours? Definitely a keeper.
That example is part of the little things that we do for each other in our long distance relationship. We also FaceTime, or video chat, at least once a week for pretty much two hours. We send each other letters. Old-fashioned letters go a long way in long distance relationships. I get so giddy about receiving a letter and so excited because it not only shows how Warren feels about me, but also the effort he puts in. I must remind myself to send more letters – I get forgetful and then we see each other again, but that is no excuse! Little things play a huge role in making your relationship work. Even messages each morning when you wake up and before you go to bed can make your day, or put a smile on your face as you go to sleep.
Making plans to close the distance. No matter how far into the relationship you are, if you are not committed to closing the distance in some way, is this relationship really worth it? Ask yourself if you’re wasting your time, if you’re happy to plod along in a long distance relationship with no idea of a future planned. Maybe not so much in the very early stages, but as it gets more serious, you should be at least thinking about it. After four months – maybe even less – Warren and I decided that we were going to move in together, and within five or six months, we’d decided a month for our goal. You might think that we’re crazy. Moving in together after being in solely long distance for a year kinda seems insane, but we know it’s right for our relationship.
You know that they’re not only after one thing. If your other half makes the effort to engage in conversation with you day and night about anything and everything, not just dick pics and sex, then you know he/she wants to get to know you and sees an inclination of a future together. Half the problems in relationships is the lack of communication. In long distance, it is all you can physically do, so if you have that side covered, you’re pretty much onto a winning relationship.
The most obvious point is not being able to see each other whenever you want to. Dates and weekends have to be planned in advance; if – like me – you work weekends and your partner works a normal Monday to Friday job, times can overlap which means you need to book time off or plan rotas and ask for specific days etc. I am very lucky with my manager and the way rotas have worked in the past for alternate weekends. Time can be very short together, with far too long in between. A couple of nights here and a few days there, even one night alone, can never be enough and there is always that niggling feeling in the back of your mind on the day you, or they, have to go home.
When you or your partner is upset about anything, all you want to do is hug. That lack of physical comfort is a huge negative in long distance relationships. And it is so much harder to convey that kind of love into words without feeling like you are repeating yourself. Even if you want to jump on the train, or in the car, and go all the way to their house, sometimes it is just not possible and you both have to create this new kind of strength to keep holding on until you see each other again.
Arguments about the tiniest thing become so big that they bulldoze into something else. Arguments over messenger and text are the worst because tones can be misconstrued which adds to the already-bad situation. Then, because you are not in each other’s company, it is far harder to forgive and move on. You can’t laugh over the silly things and you can’t automatically be happy again. Sometimes, the silent treatment is far worse because you have no idea what is going on in their life, or what they are doing. It is sickening to be in that situation and not fair on either party.
Lack of trust. If your partner does not trust you, or vice-versa – what is the point? I lied to myself for so long thinking (hoping) my past relationship would get better and it never did. I ended up apologising for things over and over. I made mistakes at the beginning of my past relationship and I lied. Didn’t cheat, FYI. I got found out and for two years I never got that trust back. I hold my hands up to it, it was my own doing. Trust doesn’t have to refer to solely cheating; it can mean trust the other person to not hurt you, trust them to have your best intentions and trust each other to make each other happy. If you trust your long-distance partner in all of these areas, then you will have a smoother (still a little bumpy) experience in long distance.
If I had to do long distance with anybody else, I would not do it. Ever. Warren makes it easier because he’s amazing. It really does depend on who your partner is and how much you love each other as well as how much you both want to make it work. If you both have the same goals in life – like in any relationship – it helps a huge amount. Warren and I have made so many plans already and we are ticking off the bucket list. It doesn’t matter that we’re so far apart; we still make the effort to spend some semblance of time together, and we’re counting down the days until we don’t have to have the words “long distance” in front of our relationship.
Are you in a long distance relationship? Or, have you had any experience in it before? What works for you?
Love, Faye xo